The Navy Report: Midshipmen 1 Win Away from Bowl Eligibility

This particular post is unique compared to the content regularly produced on the site. For one, it’s a spotlight on Navy who doesn’t formally join the American Athletic Conference in football until 2015. Secondly, it’s not your typical opinionated article, but more of a debriefing, in a sense, of the current and historic status of Navy football to familiarize AAC football fans with the conference’s next great addition in 2015.

The Navy Report includes:

  • Season update
  • Historical spotlight
  • Intriguing stat
  • Player highlight

Today, we focus on Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo.

The Navy Report is posted sporadically during the season, so continue visiting to keep tabs on the next edition.

Season Update

The Midshipmen faltered in its annual rivalry against then-No.6 Notre Dame, but the final score and offensive output displayed by the Middies surprised many who thought the Irish coming off a near-defeat of No.1 Florida State would pummel Navy into dust.

Navy took a 31-28 lead into the fourth quarter before the talent of Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson and the Irish’s superior depth took a toll on the smaller Midshipmen, ending with a 49-39 Notre Dame win.

Photo used courtesy of
Photo used courtesy of

The Middies struggled defensively to slow the Irish down for most of the game — allowing 533 yards of total offense. Despite the defense being plagued by big-play after big-play from the Irish, the unit arguably had its best performance of the season (taking into account quality of opponent) by holding Notre Dame to a scoreless third quarter.

After a bye week, Navy returned to action on Nov. 15 at home against fledgling FBS program and current Sun Belt Conference leader Georgia Southern. On paper, the match-up with the Eagles appeared to be a game that might set Navy closer to missing only its second bowl game since 2003. Once the game left the charts and entered the field, Navy silenced all doubters with a resounding 52-19 demolishing of Georgia Southern.

Now at 5-5, the Middies must win one of their next two games to play in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23 at the San Diego Chargers’ Qualcomm Stadium.

Navy enjoys another bye before squaring off at South Alabama (6-4) the Friday after Thanksgiving. If the Midshipmen fail to lock up bowl eligibility against the Jaguars, they’ll have another opportunity on Dec. 13 against arch-rival Army in Baltimore, Maryland.

Next Game: Saturday, Nov. 28, at South Alabama, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN3

Historical Spotlight: Roger Staubach, Heisman Trophy winner

Heisman Trophy winner, Super Bowl Champion, College and Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Those are just a few out of the plethora of titles you could place after a comma at the end of Roger Staubach’s historic name. Oh, wait, he also had his jersey retired.

Get the picture?

Staubach is, without question, one of the greatest football players — college and pro — to ever play the game. His flawless ability to master the famous triple-option offense that Navy has deployed, in some form, in just about every season since the program started in 1879.

Staubach proved in his time as the Dallas Cowboys starting quarterback from 1969-1979 that he was more than a running back lined up at QB; if his 22, 700 career passing yards and 153 touchdowns didn’t give it away, his two Super Bowl rings and six Pro Bowl selections did.

But this is a historical spotlight on Staubach and his place in Navy football glory. Let’s look at some of the accolades Staubach garnered while playing in Annapolis, Maryland …

  • Led the team to a 41-0 victory over Cornell in his first start
  • Became only the second Heisman Trophy winner for the Naval Academy in 1963
  • He is the last player from a military academy to win the Heisman
  • His 4,253 yards of total offense was a school record at the time he played
  • In 1963, Staubach lead the Midshipmen to a win over Notre Dame and a final No.2 ranking
  • The 1963 team was the last time Navy beat Notre Dame until 2007

Staubach will forever be immortalized in Navy football glory.


Navy claims 23 consensus All-Americans in program history, three more than ECU, the current leader in the American Athletic Conference. Houston follows the Pirates with 18 All-Americans, while SMU is close behind with 16. South Florida, who has only been playing football since 1997, has yet to produce a consensus All-American.

Coach Highlight: Head coach Ken Niumatalolo

When Ken Niumatalolo was promoted to head coach in the latter part of the 2007-2008 season after then-head coach Paul Johnson accepted the head position at Georgia Tech, Navy fans were left wondering if the nine year Midshipmen assistant could keep Navy in the bowl hunt on a consistent basis.

The former triple-option (this seems to be a theme at Navy) quarterback at the University of Hawaii has the Middies rolling along just as they did when Johnson was at the helm.

Niumatalolo’s 49 wins (2007-2013) are the most by a Navy head coach in their first six seasons. The five victories recorded by the Midshipmen this season pull Niumatalolo within one win of matching Navy’s all-time winningiest head coach, George Welsh.

Navy and the other service academies base their season success not on winning the national championship, but on claiming the mighty Commander-in-Chief Trophy that is awarded to the academy with the best winning percentage against the other two academies. Niumatalolo is the only Navy head coach to win the prestigious trophy in his first two seasons.

In 2015, Niumatalolo looks to add another ribbon to his coaching record book: first Navy head coach to lead the Midshipmen in conference competition.


Edited By: Ali Balchunas

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