Navy Football: The Best of 2011

Gee Gee Greene (GM/Alison Althouse)

Wins over rival Army and bowl bound SMU are only a few of the positive accomplishments of Navy football in 2011. In this segment we will review some of the best of Mids football in 2011.

Navy beats Army for the tenth straight year.

For the past decade Navy goals have been to win the Commanders in Chief's Trophy, beat Army and qualify for a bowl game. This year they only achieved one out of three goals. Navy did make history when it defeated Army for the tenth straight year in the 112th meeting in football's greatest rivalry. Navy's kicker Jon Teague hit two field goals in the final quarter and the Mids held off Army, 27-21. Navy took a 14-0 lead but Army twice battled back to tie the score. Navy converted three Army turnovers into 17 points. The Mids' 10-game winning streak is the longest in series history by either team. Navy now holds a 56-49-7 series lead. It was a positive end to a frustrating season for the Midshipmen.

 

Stopping SMU 

Navy needed a victory to keep its bowl hopes alive when it met bowl bound SMU. The Mids 24-17 victory over the SMU Mustangs in Dallas, Texas was their most impressive victory this season. Navy rushed for 335 yards and played its best defensive game this year in limiting the high powered Mustang Run and Shoot Passing attack. Quarterback Kriss Proctor led the team with 107 rushing yards as Navy attempted just two passes all day long. After ending a nightmarish six-game losing streak, Navy won its second game in a row beating SMU with a terrific all around effort. This was an impressive road win and a very good performance against the 15th ranked passing team in the nation.

 

Jabaree Tuani

Senior captain Jabaree Tuani battled injuries and a bad back most of this year. The talented defensive end was at the top of his game late in the season. His play on defense almost single-handedly allowed Navy a chance to get into the bowl picture. He ended the season with 52 tackles, 12 for a loss, 5 ½ sacks, 3 fumble recovery, 3 passes batted down and four forced fumbles.  Tuani ended his career with 43 tackles for a loss and 16 sacks. Jabaree was a starter since his freshman year and one of the best defensive line players in Navy history. He accomplished all this production despite playing two-gap defensive end in a 3-4 defense. His departure will leave a huge void.   

Ending the losing streak on senior day.

After enduring a six game losing streak, the Navy Midshipmen easily defeated the Troy Trojans 42-14 in a rout on Senior Day at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The victory was made possible by the return of two injured seniors. Quarterback Kriss Proctor returned from a dislocated left elbow to run for two touchdowns and pass for another. Senior slotback Aaron Santiago's career was thought to be possibly after he broke his forearm earlier in the year against Western Kentucky. He returned against Troy to lead the Mids with 80 rushing yards. Navy raced out to a 35-0 halftime lead as the Mids played their best game of the season.  It was easily the best offensive and defensive performance this year.

 

A close call against South Carolina 

After winning their opening two games, the Navy Midshipmen battled the South Carolina Gamecocks, then the No. 10 ranked team in the nation, in Columbia early in the season. The game was in doubt until South Carolina picked off Navy quarterback Kriss Proctor's final fourth down pass with one minute to go in the game to hold off the Mids, 24-21. South Carolina's super star tailback Marcus Lattimore was the difference in the game as he ran for a career high 246 yards. This was a great effort against an SEC power and one of the best teams in the nation. Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo summed it up best, "Our guys are heartbroken right now. This is a hard pill to swallow. We didn't come here to play South Carolina close. We came here to win. We had our chances and we battled to the end. They just made a little more plays than we did."

 

The Mids routs Delaware in the opener

The Navy Midshipmen defeated the Delaware Blue Hens 40-17 in their opener. It was a surprisingly easy victory in the home opener against one of the FCS's best teams. The Mids piled up 437 yards of offense and consistently made big plays. The Mids defense had one of its better games all year. Delaware had a 2-2 record against Navy over the last decade coming into the game. They had proven that their not the typical opening day FCS scheduling fodder. This was a FCS program with a number of talented former FBS scholarship players on both sides of the ball. Last year Delaware made it to the FCS championship game and on opening day Navy won easily.

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