Navy defeats Fordham 52-16 despite injury to Smith
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) Navy pulled a quarterback out of the stands on Saturday, finding an unlikely replacement for injured starter Tago Smith in a 52-16 victory over Fordham in the season opener.
Freshman Malcom Perry was told to suit up and take over after Smith was lost to a knee injury early in the second quarter. Perry, who started the junior varsity game on Friday, put together a 90-yard-drive in the fourth quarter that led to a 23-yard field goal.
The Midshipmen were playing their first game without record-setting quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who rushed for 88 touchdowns as a four-year starter. After serving for three years as Reynolds' backup, Smith ran Navy's triple-option offense flawlessly until he was injured on a 22-yard run with 14:17 left in the half.
In just over one quarter of work, Smith rushed for 97 yards on 10 carries with a pair of touchdowns. Senior Will Worth entered and was also effective, scoring on a 7-yard run that gave the Midshipmen a 28-10 lead. He also threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Toneo Gulley.
Junior fullback Chris High had 176 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns, including a 70-yard scamper, in his first career start for Navy. It was the most rushing yards by a Navy fullback since 2010.
Kevin Anderson completed 26 of 45 passes for 302 yards with a touchdown for the Rams.
Chase Edmonds, the 2015 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, finished with 70 yards on 18 carries for Fordham, ranked No. 20 in the NCAA FCS Coaches poll.
FORDHAM: The Rams fell short of earning their third win in four years over an NCAA FBS opponent. Still, Fordham showed some burst on offense with Edmonds in the backfield and Anderson behind center. This type of game should help battle-test them for conference play and a potential run in the FCS playoffs.
NAVY: The Midshipmen's triple-option attack did not miss a beat with Smith under center, but his status is uncertain after suffering the knee injury. Worth was a solid replacement, but Perry could also get more opportunities.
FORDHAM: The Rams open at home next Saturday against Elizabeth City State in a non-conference matchup.
NAVY: The Midshipmen host Connecticut in their American Athletic Conference opener next Saturday.