Defense, Curry lead Mids over Louisiana Tech

Things didn't start well for Navy, but boy it ended quite nicely. After spotting Lousiana Tech two early touchdowns, the Mids went on to score 32 unanswered points en route to a 32-14 victory in front of 29,102 fans at Navy Marine Corps Stadium. Marcus Curry had 124 yards rushing and Jabari Tuani added a key interception to help Navy even its record at 1-1.

The Bulldogs opened the game with a 10-play, 74 yard drive that featured a steady diet of short and medium range passes from Ross Jenkins in a no-huddle offense. The drive was capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by Daniel Porter.

After a three-and-out by Navy's offense on their first possession, Louisiana Tech speedster Phillip Livas returned Kyle Delahooke's punt 85 yards for a touchdown. It was the first time since 2004 (against Delaware) that the Mids had given up a score on a punt return.

And just like that, with only six minutes into the game, Louisiana Tech was up 14-0 and things looked pretty bleak for Navy. That's when, according to Navy sophomore defensive end Jabaree Tuani the Mids "woke up."

On Navy's next possession, the Mids offense had some success against the Bulldogs stingy defense. The 8-play, 40-yard drive was capped off by Joe Buckley's 43-yard field goal - the first of his career.

With the score 14-3, Louisiana Tech's offense seemed as if it was going to drive straight down the field again. However, on 2nd and 10 from its own 45-yard line, Bulldogs quarterback Ross Jenkins' pass was intercepted by Tuani. From there, the Mids seized the momentum and never relinquished it.

Just three plays after the interception, Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs hit Mario Washington on a 29-yard pass play which gave the Mids a first down at the 16-yard line. On the next snap, Cory Finnerty took a pitch from Dobbs to the end zone for the first touchdown of the day for Navy. For Finnerty, it was his second career score.

On Louisiana Tech's next three possessions before halftime, they ran 11 plays and gained 30 yards. Each drive ended in a punt. Meanwhile, the next time the Mids touched the ball, they found the end zone again. The drive featured to first down runs (10 and 14 yards) by sophomore slot back Marcus Curry and was capped off by a three-yard touchdown run by Dobbs. Instead of kicking an extra point, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo decided to have third-string quarterback Greg Zingler, the holder, pick-up the ball and run a simple option play for a two-point conversion. According to Niumatalolo, his staff noticed while reviewing game film that the Bulldogs had the tendency to overload one side on extra points. Therefore, the second-year head coach decided to make them pay. The plan worked and as a result, the Mids were up by the unusual score of 18-14 early in the second quarter.

Navy had two opportunities to add to the lead before halftime, however a dropped touchdown pass and a missed field goal kept the game close at the intermission.

Neither team scored in the third quarter, however Navy's offense did manage to move the ball more than the Bulldogs. Navy's defense was causing Louisiana Tech fits throughout the frame with Clint Sovie (huge sack) and Tuani (several big plays) leading the way. The Mids offense on the other hand, who were throttled up inside all day managed to have some success on the perimeter with Curry. And it would be the sophomore who got the Mids back in the end zone.

Just under five minutes into the fourth quarter, Curry capped off an impressive 10-play, 58-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run to put the Mids up 25-14.

Navy's defense held the Bulldogs again, which gave the Mids offense an opportunity to put the game away - and that's just what they did. However, it was Dobbs' arm, not the Mids vaunted rushing attack, that put the dagger into the Bulldogs. On a second down from the Bulldogs 48-yard line, Dobbs found Gary Myers for a 38-yard reception. The play deflated the visitors and three plays later Dobbs ran it in for his second touchdown of the game.

Overall, Navy's defense put together a heck of a game, limiting the Bulldogs to only 167 yards of total offense including only 11 yards rushing on 17 carries. On the other side of the ball, the Mids offense held the ball for over 41 minutes and had 393 yards of total offense.


Ross Pospisil jumps to knock down a pass attempt (GM/Alison Althouse).

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