(Annapolis, MD) USF ran into a juggernaut Saturday afternoon as Navy sailed to a 35-3 win in Annapolis. The Midshipmen (5-1, 3-1 in AAC) rushed 59 times for 434 yards in its third straight win. Navy Quarterback Malcolm Perry had a game-high 188 rushing yards and two touchdowns while Navy’s only completed pass was a 23-yard touchdown on a trick play.
Despite turning the ball over twice in the first half, the Midshipmen used 220 rushing yards to build a 21-3 halftime lead in the first meeting between the programs since a 52-45 Bulls home victory in 2016.
Perry’s 67-yard touchdown run started the scoring with 3:56 to go in the first quarter. Jamale Carothers’ 58-yard run and OJ Davis’ 23-yard touchdown catch on an option pass helped extend the Navy advantage to 21-0 in the second quarter before a takeaway led to points for USF.
Sails hauled in his second interception of the season, but had a pick-6 taken off the board due to a penalty called on a block on the return. Four plays later, freshman Spencer Shrader made his second field goal of the season from 33 yards out with 2:43 remaining in the half.
USF got the ball back less than two minutes later when Roberts intercepted a pass at the Bulls’ 33. The Bulls got to the Navy 48 but the drive ended with an interception of redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud at the 22. Battling through injuries sustained in previous games. McCloud completed 11 of 23 passes for 50 yards and rushed for 26 yards in his fifth straight start.
After USF’s defense kept Navy scoreless in the third quarter, Perry found the end zone again on a 21-yard run with 13:03 to play. Perry entered the weekend tied for third nationally in TD runs and now has 14 this season.
USF trailed, 35-3, with 6:50 remaining when sophomore quarterback Kirk Rygol replaced McCloud. Rygol finished 4-for-7 for 64 yards while USF registered 150 of its 264 total yards on the ground. Cronkrite led the way with 17 carries for 76 yards, falling short in his attempt at a third straight 100-yard rushing performance.
“If you look at the first half, we gave up three big plays”, said Bulls Head Coach Charlie Strong. “The quarterback, we allowed him to just run up and down the field on us. Then, we couldn’t move the ball on offense. When that happens to you, this is the result that you get.”
USF wraps up a two-game road trip at East Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 26. Kickoff is set for 3:45 p.m. and the conference clash will be televised on ESPNU.
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