Oct 20, 2018; Annapolis, MD, USA; Houston Cougars defensive back Deontay Anderson (2), cornerback Alexander Myres (18) and defensive back Gleson Sprewell (21) celebrate after stopping Navy Midshipmen on fourth down during the fourth quarter at Navy-Marine

© Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

King’s dominance turns close game into blowout as Houston tops Navy 49-36

King racks up 469 combined yards to lead Cougars to come-from-behind win.

October 20, 2018 - 8:49 pm

By: Jacob McDonnell

ANNAPOLIS -- On Saturday, in front of an announced crowd of 39,924 at the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the Houston Cougars defeated the Midshipmen 49-36. It marked the fourth straight loss for Navy, who dropped to 2-4 on the season while the Cougars advanced to 6-1. Houston leads the American Athletic Conference (AAC) Western division.

Houston quarterback D’Eriq King exploded on the afternoon, tossing for 413 yards and three touchdowns while simultaneously leading the Cougars in rushing with 56 yards and another touchdown. Four of Houston’s six touchdown drives occurred in 2:01 or less. The two others finished in under 3:20.

“We were lined up, we were in position, we just couldn’t tackle them,” Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said after the game. “A couple of plays we had guys there and we couldn’t get them to the ground. You just have to tip your hat sometimes.”

Navy struck first with a 43-yard field goal from Bennett Moehring with 8:45 remaining in the first quarter. Moehring’s score tied the school’s record for most points by a kicker, which was set by Steve Fehr from 1979-81 when Fehr accumulated 192 career points. The 43-yarder tied that mark. When Malcolm Perry took a 32-yard carry to the endzone for Navy’s first touchdown of the day with 1:50 to go in the first quarter, Moehring’s extra point gave him his 193rd career point and the record. After two additional extra points on Saturday, he now has 195 points (129 PATs, 22 FGs).

Carrying a 10-7 lead into the second quarter, the Midshipmen began their first series of the quarter at their own 24-yard line. Quarterback Garret Lewis and company manufactured a 12-play, 76-yard drive highlighted by a 14-yard dart from Lewis to Keoni Makekau to set up the Midshipmen at the goal-line. Zach Abey finished the drive, scoring on a one-yard touchdown and extending Navy’s lead to 17-7.

As they did all afternoon, the Cougars answered quickly with an eight-play, 75-yard drive of their own that resulted in King’s lone rushing score of the day, a 17-yard scramble. That drive lasted 2:01, but the next two drives only ate up 1:12 combined and both teams scored a touchdown in that timeframe. For the Midshipmen, Malcolm Perry connected with Taylor Jackson for a gain of 43, and then Tazh Malloy scored his first collegiate touchdown on a run of 32 yards.

After Houston scored the Midshipmen held a 24-21 lead, which they took with them into the locker room at halftime.

After the intermission, both the Navy offense and defense had no answer for Houston. The Cougars scored 28 unanswered points off two touchdown passes by King - a 14-yard pass to Romello Brooker and a two-yard pass to Keith Corbin), a one-yard run by Marquez Stevenson, and a 50-yard Nick Watkins pick-six. When Watkins crossed the goal-line and the turnover stood, the Cougars held a commanding 49-24 lead with 6:01 to play in the fourth quarter.

“Looking at the film, we knew coming in they were a very talented group,” safety Sean Williams said after the game. “Knowing if we did things differently we could have had a different outcome, the little mistakes we made in pivotal areas we can’t have [happen].”

The Midshipmen added 12 additional points in the final 1:58 on a 14-yard run by Myles Fells and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Lewis to Taylor Jackson, but they had run out of time to complete a full comeback.

“It all comes down to execution,” Lewis said after the game. “I don’t know what is going on, but for some reason we are not executing in the second half like we need to. We have to get that corrected.”

Perry led the Midshipmen on the ground with 97 rushing yards on 10 carries. He sat out much of the second half with an injury. Through the air, Lewis put up 135 yards and a touchdown on nine completions. Jackson was his leading receiver with 120 yards and a touchdown on five receptions with a long of 50 yards. On defense, Williams led the team with seven tackles, four solo. Additionally, he forced a fumble and had an interception 21-yard return. Michael McMorris recovered Williams’ fumble.

Up next, the Midshipmen play Notre Dame next Saturday, October 27, at 8:00 pm. Navy is the home team, but the game will be played at a neutral site from SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, California. Notre Dame had the weekend off, most recently defeating Pittsburgh 19-14 last Saturday.

Follow Jacob on Twitter @JMcDonnell95