Sprint Football Defeats Army in the Allegiance Bowl, 38-20
Sept. 17, 2011
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The Navy sprint football team got off to a good start to the 2011 season on Saturday as it defeated Army, 38-20, in the seventh-annual Adirondack Trust Allegiance Bowl in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Sophomore David Williams rushed for a career-high 142 yards and in his first-career start as quarterback, senior Erik Erlandson threw for 165 yards and two touchdowns to help Navy earn the win.
Navy got out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, forcing the Black Knights to play from behind all afternoon. The early advantage helped Navy subdue the Army ground game as the Black Knights were limited to a total of just 32 rushing yards.
"We had a good game plan coming into today and they weren't able to surprise us," said Navy head coach Maj. Mitch Maury, USMC. "We knew it was going to be a fast tempo, because that's what they hurt us with last year. We were able to shut down the run early and make them pass, and getting on the board first definitely helped."
Despite limiting Army's ground game, Black Knight quarterback Javier Sustaita finished the game 42-of-81 for 405 yards.
"Defensively, we hung in there," said Maury. "We were kind of preaching, `bend, don't break.'"
After the two teams traded turnovers early on, Navy cashed in on blocked punt for the first points of the game.
With Army punter Jeff Caraccio kicking from inside his own 20-yard line, Williams was able to break through and smother the ball before Caraccio could get the punt away. Williams picked up the ball and went into the end zone to give Navy the lead.
Navy's second touchdown was also the result of a botched Army punt. Punting from the Army 39-yard line, a bad snap and heavy pressure from Navy forced Caraccio to rush the ball, where the Mids' defense swarmed and dropped him for a 16-yard loss.
Four plays later, senior Marty Meehan plunged into the end zone from three yards out as Navy boosted its lead to 14-0 with just over 11 minutes to play in the second quarter.
The Black Knights used a six play, 69-yard drive to cut the deficit to 14-7 with 1:19 remaining in the first half, but the Mids responded just 51 seconds later.
A pass interference call against Army and pair of completed throws by Erlandson got the Mids down to the Black Knights' 21-yard line with less than 35 seconds to play in the half.
Following a 20-yard completion from Erlandson to Drew Presnell, Meehan rushed in to the end zone for his second score of the day. Adrian Montecinos' extra point gave the Mids a 21-7 lead heading into the half.
The halftime break did little to slow the Midshipmen as they went 66 yards in just five plays to start the second half to extend their lead to 28-7.
With the ball at the 50-yard line, Erlandson found freshman Jesse Holian down the right sideline, who hauled in the ball, shed a tackle and sprinted into the end zone.
"Erik has been hitting those in practice lately, and it's been impressive," said Maury. "Holian is a big target and he should do some great things for us this year."
Leading 28-14 early in the fourth quarter, Erlandson tossed his second touchdown pass of the game. On a third-and-goal play from the 8-yard line, Erlandson rolled to his right and threw a strike to Presnell just over the goal line to help boost Navy's advantage to 35-14.
Montecinos put up the final Navy points of the day with a 27-yard field goal with 11:24 to play in the game.
Sustaita tossed his third touchdown pass of the game for Army with under four minutes to play. After a failed two-point conversion attempt, Navy recovered the onside kick to seal the 38-20 victory.
Williams was named the game's MVP as he helped Navy to a total of 250 yards on the ground.
"We knew the ground game was going to be our strength this year," said Maury. "David is a gifted athlete and he just runs downhill every single play."
With the win, Navy now leads the all-time series with Army, 39-31-1 (.556), and has won 12 of the last 13 meetings. The two teams will meet again later the season in the Star Game at West Point on Nov. 4.
Navy will return to action next weekend when it travels to Philadelphia, Pa., to meet Penn at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Saturday's game was the first of the 2011-12 season in any sport between Army and Navy.
The Midshipmen are now 3-1 in their four appearances in the Allegiance Bowl, while Army is now 2-2.