Navy shows positive signs but loses to Houston 28-20
After struggling in the first two game the Navy offense showed signs of life in the first half. Quarterback Xavier Arline capped off the opening drive with a 40 yard touchdown run to get them going. After winning the coin toss coach Ken Niumatalolo decided to receive the kickoff. Normally he defers to the second half to set up a double score possibility. The Arline run gave Navy a spark as they lead 17-7 at halftime.
The first half ended with Houston quarterback Clayton Tune running out of time at the Navy 21. Combine that with a missed field goal by the Cougars to start the second half and Navy had all the momentum. A three and out by the Navy offense followed and a short punt gave Houston good field position. The Cougars scored and momentum was changing. Following another three and out by Navy the Cougars took the lead for good with a 47 yard touchdown pass to Marcus Jones. He also had a 73 yard punt return TD in the first half. A bad snap on the first play of Navy’s next drive led to another short field for Houston. The Navy defense held them to a field goal and a 28-17 lead.
A field goal by Bijon Nichols made it a one score game. After getting a stop Navy got the ball with 3:08 left down 28-20. Slotback Chance Warren dropped a potential big play pass from Maasai Maynor who came in for the last drive. After a sack and a completion short of the marker Houston got the stop and the win.
The Midshipmen also got production from their full backs. Isaac Ruoss and James Harris combined for 102 yards. Arline finished with 64 yards on 19 carries. Mychal Cooper had three catches for 83 yards for Navy. On defense Diego Fagot and John Marshall had 9 tackles each. An area of concern is the secondary where injuries have taken a toll. Mitch West is out for the year with an injury from the Air Force game. Kevin Brennan tried to play with his injury but late in the first half he left the game and Eavan Gibbons left the game with an apparent head injury.
It gets no easier for the 0-3 Midshipmen as UCF who was picked second in the AAC behind Cincinnati comes to Annapolis next Saturday for a 3:30 kickoff.