Worth scores winning TD as Navy beats Connecticut 28-24
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) Will Worth scored two touchdowns in his debut as Navy's starting quarterback and the Midshipmen survived a hectic finish in a 28-24 victory over Connecticut on Saturday.
Worth bulled in from the 1-yard line with 3:08 remaining after a 26-yard punt return gave Navy a first down at the UConn 17.
The Huskies then moved to the Navy 1 and took their final timeout with 17 seconds left. Ron Johnson was subsequently stuffed on a rush attempt, and the clock ran out before Connecticut could run another play.
''That goal line stand symbolizes who we are,'' Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. ''Things looked bleak. I didn't see the play. I was closing my eyes praying and I have no idea what happened. Shows you what kind of coach I am. I just looked up and our guys were cheering.''
The Midshipmen (2-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) scored on their first two possessions and went up 21-0 on a 2-yard fumble return by Alohi Gilman in the second quarter.
Connecticut (1-1, 0-1) answered with 24 straight points before Worth scored the game's final touchdown.
Worth, a 6-foot-1 senior, started in place of Tago Smith, who tore his right ACL in the season opener against Fordham.
In addition to capably directing the triple option, Worth ran for 44 yards, completed his first four passes and finished 6 for 8 for 130 yards.
''I felt pretty good with everything,'' Worth said. ''There were a couple (plays) I definitely would like to have back. For the most part, I felt good to get out there and see it all live.''
Bryant Shirreffs completed 23 of 26 passes for the Huskies, who were coming off a 24-21 win over Maine and looking to go 2-0 for just the second time since 2008.
After Navy jumped to a 21-0 lead, the Huskies battled back. Shirreffs threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Noel Thomas with 1:10 left in the first half, Johnson scored on a 3-yard run and Jamar Summers rambled 86 yards with a fumble by fullback Chris High.
Bobby Puyol kicked a 38-yard field goal with 9:08 remaining to give the Huskies their first lead at 24-21.
Thomas finished with 11 catches for 116 yards.
Worth performed capably in his first start, and will likely improve with experience. Showing poise and confidence, Worth blunted the notion that Navy's triple option would sputter with a newcomer at the helm.
The Midshipmen take to the road for the first time, visiting Tulane on Saturday night before a bye week.