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“Nationals October 2019

Navy Rested, Ready For Bearcat’s

| September 22, 2017, 11:26 AM

The Navy Midshipmen (2-0, 1-0) return to action after a bye week to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1, 0-0) in Annapolis on Saturday at 3:30.  This game will be only the third time the two programs have competed against each other since 1956, despite being in the same conference for the last few years. Navy won both of the previous two games by a combined score of 27-7.

Navy and Cincinnati may have similar records, but the heads of the two programs are in very different stages of their careers. On the Navy sideline, head coach Ken Niumatalolo is in his 10th year at Navy, making him the longest-tenured coach in school history. On the other side of the field, Cincinnati has a new head coach in Luke Fickell. Fickell had served as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State from 2005-16 (Fickell was the head coach in 2011).

Navy enters the game with a perfect 2-0 record after handling Lane Kiffin and the FAU Owls 42-19 and surviving Tulane 23-21. The outcome was what the Mids were looking for, but the actual performance left plenty to be desired. The majority of the issues come from protecting the football. Tulane grabbed an INT against QB Zach Abey in the red zone and forced two fumbles (Tulane only recovered one).

Under Niumatalolo, Navy is 24-15 (.615) with more than one week to prepare for an opponent. After the rough game against Tulane,  he used the time off so the team could regroup. “It’s just because of the nature of what I felt like we needed. We needed to recover a little bit last week and focus on ourselves. But we have all of our arrows focused on Cincinnati now” said Niumatalolo.

Navy will need to be focused on the Bearcats after the inspiring performance from the Bearcats in last Saturday’s Battle For The Bell against Miami (Ohio).

The Bearcats scored 15 points over the final 2:52 to knock off the Redhawks and win the Victory Bell for the 12th consecutive year over Miami. Hayden Moore threw a 20-yard TD pass to Kahlil Lewis with 2:52 left and then hit Lewis again for the two-point conversion to pull Cincinnati to within 17-14. Cincinnati had just one timeout remaining and was saving it for after the third down play, but on third-and-two from the Miami 13, the Redhawks inexplicably took a delay of game penalty despite having timeouts remaining. On third-and-seven, Miami elected to pass, and Gus Ragland was picked off by Malik Clements, who returned it 14 yards for a touchdown.

After giving up big plays against Tulane late in the second half, Navy will have their hands full in what should be a very exciting matchup.

Side Note

The women’s rowing team will be honored between the first and second quarters. The Mids won the Patriot League Championship this past spring for the third straight year with a five-point win over Boston University. Navy finished 20th at the NCAA Championship, which is the second-best finish in school history.

Make sure to tune in to EyeOnAnnapolis all day Saturday for complete game day coverage. Follow me @KChaneySports for all things Navy Sports.

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Category: Events, LIFE IN THE AREA, Local News, Post To FB, Sports

About the Author - Kevin Chaney, Jr

Kevin Chaney covers sports all at all levels throughout Anne Arundel County. Follow him on twitter @Kchaneysports and his website

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