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Navy mounts late comeback in home opener, beats Memphis, 22-21

Sep 08, 2018 09:50PM ● By Jake Russell
By Jake Russell

The Navy Midshipmen opened their 2018 season with a dud last weekend, allowing 522 yards in a brutal 59-41 road loss to the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors.

Heading into the fourth quarter of Saturday's rainy home opener against Memphis, it appeared positive momentum still hadn't developed for the blue and gold. In the cool, slick conditions, Navy's offense was uncharacteristically uninspiring, mustering only nine points through the first three quarters.

The Midshipmen run defense didn't do itself many favors, ether, allowing Memphis running back Darrell Henderson to become a one-man wrecking crew. Henderson ran for 212 yards on only 13 carries for three touchdowns, including two in the third quarter that gave the Tigers a 21-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The defense redeemed itself in the final period, recovering a fumble in Memphis territory early in the quarter. Navy's offense scored two plays later. Then the defense forced a Tigers three-and-out, allowing the Midshipmen to march meticulously to the beat of a 13-play drive. That drive took almost seven minutes off the clock and was capped off by Zach Abey's game-winning touchdown run.

Despite a failed two-point conversion attempt, the Midshipmen led, 22-21, with less than three minutes remaining.

With the Tigers in prime position to win the game, the Midshipmen defense stepped up once again, ultimately thwarting the Memphis drive with a turnover on downs in six plays.

Navy improved to 27-3 in its last 30 regular season games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The Midshipmen return home Saturday, September 15 at 3:30 p.m. against Lehigh. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.