By the Numbers: The Navy “Rout” of Lehigh
Last Saturday afternoon, the Navy Midshipmen soundly beat the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.
The final score was 51-21.
At one point, Navy scored 41 unanswered points. QB Malcolm Perry ran for 223 yards and 3 TDs. The defense forced five turnovers. Bennett Moehring kicked three field goals for the Mids. It was a rout.
Or was it?
After the game, Navy’s head coach Ken Niumatalolo, offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper and defensive coordinator Dale Pehrson all seemed to argue otherwise.
“We have to play a lot better on offense, a lot better on defense and a lot better on special teams,” Niumatalolo told reporters with a disgusted sigh. “I can’t remember a win like this when I felt like this. I just didn’t think we played very well.”
Ivin Jasper concurred, “We have a standard on offense. It’s about playing clean football and we didn’t do it.” The OC then added, “Points-wise and yards-wise it was Navy football, but as far as being detailed and executing it was not.”
Dale Pehrson didn’t mince words either. “We had a lot of arm tackles, a lot of guys who got run over or run through.” The defensive coordinator then looked ahead, “We’re going to face a bunch of good backs… We’re not going to hold up against some of the offenses we’re going to see this season if we continue to tackle that way. We have to get a lot better.”
So, who is right? The numbers or the coaches? Let’s have a look at the stats and find out.
The Good Numbers
- 629 – The number of total yards the Navy offense slapped on Lehigh. It’s the tenth most yards Navy has scored in school history and the most since 2007’s 74-62 win over North Texas.
- 484 – The number of rushing yards Navy ground out against the Mountain Hawks. It’s the 15th most in Midshipmen history.
- 45, 37 and 29 – The distances of the three field goals Bennett Moehring kicked in Saturday’s game. Added to the six extra points Moehring made, the kicker scored 15 points against Lehigh. It’s the highest mark for an AAC kicker this season and earned Moehring the AAC Special Teams Player of the Week award.
- 104 and 41 – Sophomore SB, C.J. Williams, had three catches for 104 yards and three carries for 41 yards.
- Five – Navy’s defense forced five turnovers. Jake Springer (sophomore, S) made his first career interception. Jarvis Polu (senior, DE) and Walter Little (junior, OL) both forced and recovered fumbles.
The Bad Numbers
- 75 – Lehigh freshman tailback, Rashawn Allen, ran for a 75-yard TD on the opening drive. A missed assignment by Navy’s OL Nizaire Cromartie and CB Micah Farrar opened the lane up for Allen. It is the third straight game that the Midshipmen defense has given up a TD of 75-yards or more.
- Two – Malcolm Perry threw nine passes but only completed two. For the season, the QB is 5-for-15. Perry agreed after the game that this stat had to change. “Teams aren’t stupid. They’re going to see we run the ball a lot. Being able to pass the ball over their heads is a key to being able to run our offense.” Perry added, “That’s something I’ve got to work on, for sure.”
- 29 – After Elan Nash (junior, OLB) intercepted a Lehigh ball on the 29-yard line, Myles Fells (sophomore, SB) got called for a false start. The SB’s error cost Navy ten yards and the Mids ended up turning the ball over on downs.
- Eight – Navy got called for eight penalties for a loss of 63 yards on Saturday. Put simply, Navy football doesn’t work like that.
- 21 – The amount of points Lehigh scored on the Midshipmen. It could be argued that all 21 points could ,and should, have been prevented. They were not. Navy played sloppy. Coach Niumatalolo doesn’t do sloppy.
The Bottom Line
- Navy won. The Midshipmen are heading to SMU this weekend on a two-game winning streak. The Mids will need that momentum rolling into Dallas to face their conference foe.
- Navy won ugly. The coaches were right (aren’t they always?). The Mids played sloppy and their play fell short of their full potential. That is a mistake Navy can not afford against SMU on Saturday.