TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Navy coach Ken Niumatololo couldn’t be too upset with his team after a wild 45-44 double overtime loss at Toledo on Saturday.
Not after the Midshipmen came back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. And not after calling last week’s error-filled loss at Duke “one of the worst days that Navy football’s had in a long, long time.”
Still, there were plenty of mistakes that cost Navy against the Rockets.
Quarterback Keenan Reynolds’ fumble in the second quarter was returned for a 68-yard touchdown and then Nick Sloan missed an extra point in the second overtime that gave Toledo the opening they needed.
Two plays later, Terrance Owens tossed a 20-yard touchdown to Bernard Reedy — his first TD pass of the day — and Jeremiah Detmer kicked the extra point, allowing Toledo to survive.
Navy (3-3) had just come back in the fourth quarter with a pair of impressive drives.
The Midshipmen put together a 96-yard drive that was capped off by Reynolds’ 3-yard touchdown run, pulling Navy within 31-28 with just under five minutes left. Navy got the ball quickly after forcing to Toledo to punt and drove 43-yards to set up Sloan’s tying 40-yard field goal that sent the game into overtime.
“We could have folded the tent in the fourth quarter when we were down by 10,” Niumatololo said. “That’s a true testament to the type of kids we have.”
The Midshipmen had no trouble running, piling up 419 yards on the ground.
But they struggled finishing off drives, especially in the first half.
The Midshipmen twice drove inside Toledo’s 30-yard-line without getting any points. They were stopped on downs the second time they had the ball and Nick Sloan later missed a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter.
“It was almost like last week all over again,” Niumatololo said. “We were stopping ourselves offensively.”
Niumatololo refused to blame the loss on the missed extra point.
“You can’t say it was all Sloan’s fault,” he said. “They scored 45 points. It’s a whole team effort. To put that loss on Nick Sloan is wrong. Offensively we made our share of mistakes and defensively we made our share of mistakes.”
Sloan said after the game that he pulled his head, causing the miss.
“That’s kicking. That’s just how it is,” Sloan said. “You make one, one second then you miss one the next second.”
Toledo (4-3) ran for 316 yards against the Midshipmen. David Fluellen controlled things on the ground early on and finished with 154 rushing yards on 19 carries before being taken into the locker room at the beginning of the fourth with an injured back.
Freshman Kareem Hunt took over for the Rockets in the fourth quarter. His 19-yard touchdown, coming five plays after Fluellen was hurt, put Toledo up 31-21 with 12:10 to play. Hunt ended up with 128 yards rushing on 15 carries. He also scored on a 52-yard run in the third quarter.
Toledo’s winning score came after Navy’s Geoffery Whiteside scored on a 9-yard touchdown to give Navy a 44-38 lead. But then Sloan missed the extra point.
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds had scored on 1-yard keeper to send the game into a second overtime. It was his third rushing touchdown for the day.
“We didn’t quit,” Reynolds said. “Down 10 late in the fourth, we could have given up, but instead we kept fighting. I’m so proud of my teammates for fighting to the end.”
“Losing is losing, whether it’s off an extra point or something else,” he said “It doesn’t matter how we lost. Either way it hurts for me.”
Noah Copeland led Navy on the ground with 153 yards rushing.
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