June 17, 2024
Annapolis, US 85 F

Pageantry Doesn’t Win Games. Navy Off to Rocky Start with 23-3 Loss to Rival Air Force at Home

As it is always, the pageantry of a Navy football game was on full display as the US Naval Academy and the U Air Force Academy took to the field on the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.

Unfortunately, pageantry does not win games as Navy was trounced, 23-3.  for the second week in a row in a game that many say should have been one of the easiest to win. After the losing season of 2020, this year was hyed to be a turnaround year; but with two losses under their belt, and a very tough remaining schedule, that seems to be very much in doubt.

It is a tough loss.  I thought we played well enough on defense.  Obviously couldn’t get anything going on offense.  36 yards rushing and we are a rushing team.  In spite of all that, they had a hard time moving the ball.  Had those two kicking deals in a close game and we were still in it.  Those were momentum changers.  We went after it (punt block) because we couldn’t generate anything offensively.  We were down there, took a chance and it came back to hurt us. We said the game would be who could get the fullback going.  Their guy had 100 yards and we had 26.  Hats off to them.  Tough loss.  Always tough losing to a service academy.  Just give Air Force credit.

Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo

The game started out with neither team being able to convert and score until Navy put three on the scoreboard with five minutes left in the first half. But Air Force answered that call with a touchdown and never looked back with a TD in the third, and a safety ad another TF in the fourth.

The game was lopsided. Very lopsided. To put it in perspective, Malcolm Perry, now with the New England Patriots,  in the 2019 Army-Navy game rushed for 304 yards–solo. Against Air Force, the TEAM rushed for 36 yards. And Navy is known to be a rushing team.

And the poor offense came at a cost.  Bill Wagner of The Capital is reporting that Ivin Jasper, the log-time offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach was dismissed after the game.

All Images ©2021 Glenn A. Miller | Glenn A Miller Photography for Eye On Annapolis

Football aside, the gameday experience was, as expected, very moving from the flyover to the Navy Leap Frog parachute team, to the march-on with a cadre of Cadets from the Air Force Academy, to the halftime show featuring the drum & bugle corps and the glee club. It was the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 and the remembrances throughout the game of the 14 Naval Academy and 2 Air Force Academy graduates who lost their lives.

The attendance at the game was 36,997 which is the tenth-largest crowd in stadium history

Up next for the Mids is challenging Houston game in an away game on September 25th. They return home on October 2nd against the University of Central Florida (UCF) for a 3:30 pm game.

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