Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo was voted the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year it was announced Wednesday by the league office. The awards are voted on by the 12 head coaches in the conference.
Niumatalolo repeated as American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after his Midshipmen went 7-1 in the AAC for the second consecutive year, clinching the West Division title and home field advantage in Saturday’s conference championship game. Despite returning only one offensive starter from last year’s team, and losing this year’s starting quarterback to a season-ending injury on Opening Day, the Midshipmen have been one of the most prolific offensive teams in the nation in 2016, ranking second in the NCAA in rushing (342.0 ypg) and 11th in scoring (41.7 ppg). Along the way, Navy has committed the fewest penalties (30) and has the second-fewest turnovers (9) of any team in the nation.
Surprisingly, the Mids garnered just one first-team all-conference selection as senior Adam West was selected at guard. West has been a leader up front for the Mids in paving the way for one of the best offenses in school history.
Memphis, a team that Navy beat 42-28, had five first team selections while SMU, a team that Navy beat 75-31, had four players on the first team.
Navy had three players selected to the second team. Senior tackle Blake Copeland, senior center Maurice Morris and junior linebacker Micah Thomas. Copeland and Morris have teamed with West to give the Mids one of the best offensive lines in school history, while Thomas has led Navy in tackles with 82.
In the West Division, only Tulane (three), which finished 1-7 in the conference, had fewer first and second-team players than Navy (four) and even Tulane had more first-team players (two for Tulane, one for Navy).
Junior offensive guard Evan Martin, freshman safety Alohi Gilman and senior return specialist Dishan Romine all earned honorable mention honors.
No. 19 Navy is 9-2 on the year entering Saturday’s AAC Championship Game against Temple (9-3). The Mids are averaging 61 points per game over their last three games and have scored over 60 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 1917. In the month of November, the Navy offense scored on 34 of 38 possessions, with 33 of those possessions resulting in touchdowns. Last week, against SMU, Navy became the first team in FBS history to have two quarterbacks rush for 100 yards in the same game.
Senior quarterback Will Worth, who did not receive any postseason recognition from the league’s coaches, has rushed for 1,181 yards and 25 touchdowns while passing for 1,363 yards and 8 touchdowns. Over the last seven games, Worth has rushed for 1,012 yards and 20 touchdowns, while throwing for 836 yards and seven touchdowns. He is six touchdowns away from tying Keenan Reynolds’ record of 31 for the most touchdowns rushing in FBS history by a quarterback.
Tickets are still available for Saturday’s AAC Championship Game against Temple on Saturday at 12 noon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Tickets can be purchased here: Tickets are on sale now by clicking here: https://goo.gl/76pgVt
Source: Navy Athletics