Nova passes for 2 TDs and Rutgers beats Navy 21-20
The kicking game has been killing Navy in recent weeks, and it
cost them again against Rutgers.
Jon Teague had a go-ahead 34-yard field goal attempt blocked by
Brandon Jones with 4:43 to play and Navy dropped its fourth
straight game with a 21-20 setback to streaking Rutgers (5-1) on
The losing streak is the longest for the Mids (2-4) since
dropping 10 in a row in 2002, and it sent Rutgers to its fourth
It also marked the third straight game that Teague has had a
kick blocked. He had a long extra point in overtime blocked by Air
Force two games ago in a 35-34 loss and a short field goal attempt
on the opening drive that got Southern Miss returned for a TD in
rolling in a 63-35 win last week.
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo doesn’t know if the kicking woes are
being caused by the blocking or bad kicks, although both might be
”We have been jimmy-rigging our protection and changing things,
trying to do different things,” Niumatalolo said. ”We have to go
back to work. We have to get it fixed. Those were two games that
were critical. In last week’s game, who knows what happens if they
don’t block it and score to start the game. Obviously, that’s a
huge concern. We have to go back to work and try to get better at
Teague, who minutes earlier kicked a 41-yard field goal to get
Navy within a point, vowed to fix the problem.
”It’s just hard when it comes down to the last one these last
few times,” he said. ”We’ve got to keep fighting and keep
Jones, who thwarted an early Navy drive with an interception and
helped start the Rutgers’ comeback from a 10-point deficit by
keeping an eventual interception alive while on the ground, said he
nearly blocked Teague’s field goal minutes earlier.
”I told coach I was going to get the next one,” Jones said.
”I just gave it everything I had and just tried to get the block
and it worked out.”
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano felt his team had a chance to get a
block this week.
”I thought Brandon Jones did it exactly as he was coached,
extended his body – sacrificed his body,” Schiano said. ”That was
a heck of an effort.”
Rutgers freshman Gary Nova threw two touchdown passes and Jawan
Jamison rushed for 101 yards for the Scarlet Knights, who are off
to their best start since winning their first nine in 2006.
”I am really proud of our football team,” Schiano said. ”That
was a buzz saw we ran into today. Their back was against the wall
and those are our nation’s elite as far as fight and mission. I
knew what we were going to get today – there was no doubt in my
mind what we were walking into.”
Nova threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Quron Pratt late in the
third quarter and a go-ahead 20-yarder to Tim Wright early in the
fourth quarter in rallying the Scarlet Knights from a 17-7
Navy’s Chris Ferguson scored on a 16-yard interception return
and quarterback Kriss Proctor scampered almost untouched on a
54-yard touchdown run in the first half. Teague kicked a 41-yard
field goal to get the Mids within a point with 7:52 to play, and an
interception and return to the Scarlet Knights 23 by linebacker
Caleb King had Navy in position to take the lead. But Jones came
untouched off the right end to block the kick.
Navy got the ball back at its 23-yard line with 24 seconds to
play after Rutgers botched a field goal attempt, but the Mids never
Nova finished 23 of 31 for a career-best 271 yards. He also
played like a freshman at times, throwing the pick-six and then
making another bad toss to give Navy a chance to win the game
Rutgers’ defense, which came into the game tied nationally for
getting the most turnovers, picked off two more passes – Jones got
one – to push its total to 24. The unit also limited the Mids to
162 yards rushing, well off their 366-yard average, which led the
Proctor was 5 of 12 passing for 106 yards for Navy on a windy
day which limited passing on one end of the field. Alexander Teich
led Navy with 69 yards on 18 carries.
”We’ve got to fight,” Teich said. ”We’ve got to show up on
Monday and that’s what we’ll do, show up on Monday ready to work.
I’ve got a lot of faith in everybody in that locker room. (There
are) a lot of seniors on this team. We’ve been a part of a lot of
winning seasons and we’re not about to let that ship turn upside