Navy holds on for narrow win over Temple for Niumatalolo's 100th win originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
A dominant start for Navy turned into a nailbiter on Saturday, but the Midshipmen managed to hold on for a 31-29 win over Temple. With the win, Navy improves to 2-2 on the season.
Senior Nelson Smith was the workhorse for the Midshipmen, getting 20 carries which he took for 120 yards and two touchdowns. The team managed 251 rushing yards on the day, which is the team's best game of the season on the ground thus far. That's important since, when it comes to an option offense, rushing the ball is kind of your bread and butter.
The win was also the 100th career victory for head coach Ken Niumatalolo.
Navy just could not put away Temple. Three times, the Midshipmen took an 11-point lead in the game going up 14-3, 21-10 and 28-17 in the third quarter and each time, the Owls came roaring back.
A game that Navy looked to be in complete control of actually turned into a close one as Temple scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull within two points. A 50-yard field goal by Bijan Nichols in the fourth quarter turned out to be the game-winning score for the Mids.
Part of the reason Navy couldn't put this one away? Defense. For the third time in just four games, Navy's defense was gashed for over 400 yards as Temple managed 407 total yards against them. Defense has been a clear weakness for the Midshipmen this season and it almost cost them what looked like a comfortable win on Saturday.
Despite Navy's struggles on defense, it stood tall on a two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game late in the fourth quarter. Temple scored a touchdown with 1:02 remaining in the game to pull within two. On the two-point try, linebacker Terrell Adams came up with the big play as he read the pass beautifully and was there to bat it away to deny the Owls the chance to tie it up.
That's how close Temple came to tying things up.