UConn kept it close early on Saturday night against Navy, but was ultimately flattened, 56-10 at Rentschler Field.
The Midshipmen rushed for 401 yards and all seven of their touchdowns on the day. Star quarterback Malcolm Perry rushed for 108 of them on nearly ten yards per carry, crushing performance on the ground. Navy rushers easily glided through UConn’s arm tackles for most of the game, and it seemed like they were passing the ball just for fun.
In the first quarter, UConn looked as if they could keep it close, outgaining the Midshipmen 156 to 114. They didn’t miss their option assignments often early on, but when they did blow them, it directly led to the first two touchdowns of the game. Perry showed off his impressive speed with a 58-yard option keeper for a touchdown to lead off the scoring, and his preternatural body control to set up their second touchdown drive of the day, bouncing it outside on a fourth and short to reach paydirt.
Back at Rentchler Field after a successful week away, it looked like Jack Zergiotis was about to return to his inaccurate ways on deep balls: he had Art Thompkins wide-open on a wheel route n the first drive, but the pass flew over his head. Zergiotis then tried his hardest to miss a second one in the Huskies’ next drive: Cameron Hairston, without a defender in sight, had to wait for a few seconds to catch a pass fluttered across the middle, then took it 58 yards to set up UConn’s only touchdown of the day. Clayton Harris added on a 40-yard field goal later, and it was 14-10 early in the second quarter.
And then Navy woke up.
Zergiotis’ mistake-filled day wouldn’t have been complete without a baffling interception, this time midway through the first, as he threw across his body towards a double-covered while rolling to the right.
Navy scored six times uninterrupted after the first quarter, and also suddenly remembered that they had a top-30 defense in the nation. UConn was held to 157 yards after the opening frame. Their one long drive to get back in the game, down 18 in the second quarter, struck disaster when Zergiotis fumbled on the two yard line late in the second quarter.
Out of Navy’s four second half touchdowns, half of them were scored by running back Jamale Carrothers, who had 8.1 yards per carry on the night, one was set up by a 58-yard fullback dive by Navy’s 5’9”, 218 lbs. Nelson Smith, and one occurred with the backups on the field.
It won’t get any easier for the Huskies, as they take on the AAC East-leading Cincinnati Bearcats next week in Nippert Stadium.