Coming off last week’s 40-7 trouncing from the Air Force Falcons, the Navy Midshipmen bounced back in a grudge-match to overcome the 4-point favorite Temple Owls. The final score was 31-29.
Temple rolled into today’s contest having not played any games in 2020. In any other year, that would seem odd. Obviously, this season is a unique experience in itself.
However, Head Coach Rod Carey’s Owls team ended their 2019 campaign with an 8-5 record. That record and the Midshipmen’s loss last week afforded them a ‘favorites’ designation heading into this week.
Navy would ignore the oddsmakers and methodically unravel the Temple squad on the ground. Most of their work took place in the second quarter; having already seen pay dirt once in the first quarter. Navy would go on to score on their last three possessions leading into the half.
Temple would not be dismayed as they relied on the arm and legs of QB Anthony Russo, who finished his day with 206 total yards, throwing one touchdown and one interception. Remember, this is the first game of the Owls’ season.
The star of the day, much to the chagrin of Owls fans, was Navy’s Nelson Smith. The senior RB would lead Navy’s ground game with 120 yards and two touchdowns. His longest scamper was a 26-yard dash to the end zone in the second quarter. Relying on Smith and the run has been the formula for the Midshipmen all season.
Often forgotten in matchups like these is the value of special teams. Today, special teams play would be the deciding factor.
A 50-yard field goal by freshman Kicker Bijan Nichols sealed the fate of both teams late in the fourth quarter.
With that, Temple had a chance to overcome the deficit and found themselves unable to convert the 2-point conversion following a Re’Mahn Davis 1-yd rushing TD. Today just wasn’t the day for the Owls.
Temple begins their season 0-1 while the Midshipmen move on with a 2-2 record to face East Carolina next week.