Navy tops South Alabama 42-14, qualifies for bowl

TODD KARPOVICH
The Associated Press
Navy tops South Alabama 42-14, qualifies for bowl
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South Alabama quarterback Ross Metheny (2) tries to break loose from Navy safety Wave Ryder (8) as he is tackled in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Annapolis, Md., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Darius Staten had a career-high 127 yards on seven carries with a touchdown to lead Navy to a 42-14 victory over South Alabama on Saturday night.

With the win, the Midshipmen qualified for a bowl game for the 10th time in the past 11 years. Navy (6-4) will accept a bid to the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 30 against a team from the Mountain West Conference.

The Midshipmen, who scored 22 consecutive points in the second half, also finished undefeated at home for the first time since 2004.

South Alabama's Ross Metheny completed 18 of 27 passes for 160 yards with two touchdowns. Both touchdown passes were to Shavarez Smith, who had five receptions for 65 yards for the Bengals (3-6).

Brandon Bridge replaced Metheny at quarterback for the Bengals and put together a 20-play, 89-yard drive that was stalled at the Navy 4 when Kendall Houston was stuffed on fourth-and-2 with 11:12 left in the game. Navy then put the game away on the next possession on a 45-yard touchdown pass from Reynolds to Matt Aiken.

Navy backup quarterback Tago Smith added another 24-yard scoring run with 2:17 left for the 42-14 lead. The Mids racked up 519 total yards, with 351 coming from the rushing attack.

After Navy opened an early 3-0 lead on its first possession with a 37-yard field goal by Nick Sloan. The Jaguars then responded with a 14-play, 78-yard scoring drive, capped by a 4-yard pass from Metheny to Smith.

Staten then gave Navy a 10-7 lead with 13:24 left in the half with a 17-yard touchdown run. After being helped by a roughing the pass penalty on Navy's Chris Johnson, South Alabama went ahead again when Metheny and Smith teamed up a 22-yard touchdown.

The shootout continued on the next possession as Navy scored again on a 7-yard run by Shawn White, who carried three defenders into the end zone. The Mids increased the lead to 20-14 with 34 seconds remaining in the half on another 21-yard field goal by Sloan.