Midshipmen End Bulls 3 Game Win Streak

By on November 2, 2015

William Jeanlys

All good things must come to an end, but for the South Florida Bulls, this loss will leave a bitter taste in their mouth. The Bulls had chances. They had opportunities. They have no one to blame but themselves.

Not only did the loss to Navy snap the Bulls three game win streak, it also proved that Coach Willie Taggerts’ “young bulls” team still has a long way to go to compete for American Athletic Championships.

Trailing 22-17 in the fourth quarter, the Bulls defense stopped Navy on a third-and-four. Johnny Ward was hit with a 15 yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty forcing the Bulls defense to stay on the field. Seven plays later Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds scored on a 1 yard touchdown run putting the game away 29-17.

Not everything was bad for the Bulls. On the opening kickoff, Bulls WR Rodney Adams returned the kickoff 97 yards giving the Bulls an early 7-0 lead. It was the first time since 2010 that the Bulls had returned a kickoff for a touchdown. The Bulls defense held Navy to a field goal on its opening drive and led 10-3 heading into the second quarter after Emilio Nadelman connected on a 25 yard field goal that was set up by a 15 play 68 yard drive.

Navy was able to tie things up early in the second quarter after a 24 yard run by fullback Chris Swain. The Midshipmen would take their first lead of the game when Austin Grebe kicked a 26 yard field goal with 33 seconds left in the first half.

It didn’t take long for the Bulls to reclaim the lead.

After stopping Navy on their initial drive of the second half, Quinton Flowers found Chris Barr for 34 yards, setting up a first-and-goal from the Navy two yard line. On the very next play, Marlon Mack ran it in from two yards out for his first and only touchdown of the game giving the Bulls the lead 17-13. Navy would pull within one point after Grebe connected on his third field goal of the game making it 17-16.

Things began to go downhill for the Bulls in the fourth quarter.

With 12:45 remaining in the game, Nadelman’s 32-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left. It was his second miss of the game. The missed field goal would give Navy the opportunity it needed to steal momentum back in its favor. The Midshipmen would use a 10 play 80 yard drive to reclaim the lead 22-17. It would be a lead they would not relinquish.

On the ensuing kickoff, Rodney Adams would commit the Bulls lone turnover. Adams fumble on the Bulls 41 yard line, would give the ball back to the Midshipmen. Navy would turn the turnover into seven points, thanks in large part to a drive altering unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty by Bulls defensive back Johnny Ward.

Instead of being fourth-and-four, the penalty gave the Midshipmen a first down and kept the drive alive. Reynolds would score on a 1-yard touchdown run, giving the Midshipmen a 29-17 lead and recording his 77th career rushing touchdown, tying Montee Balls’ NCAA record.

In the end, it was a team loss as the defense could not contain the triple option allowing Navy to rush for 428 yards. Offensively, the Bulls were just as bad rushing for a season low 62 yards as Marlon Mack led the way with a team high 29 yards rushing. Quinton Flowers chipped in with 223 total yards including 208 yards passing.

The Bulls (4-4) are still two games away from bowl qualification and travel to Greenville, NC to take on the East Carolina Pirates on November 7 at 7:30 pm.

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