ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Quarterback Zach Abey ran for 128 of Navy’s 569 rushing yards in a 42-32 victory over Cincinnati in an American Athletic Conference game Saturday.
Navy (3-0, 2-0) amassed the second most rushing yards in program history, just three yards shy of the record of 572 set in 2007 against North Texas.
Bearcats quarterback Hayden Moore had a 3-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Cogswell on 4th down that pulled them to within 10 points with 6:06 left in the game. Cincinnati (2-2, 0-1) advanced to the Midshipmen’s 11-yard line with just over two minutes remaining, but Tyris Wooten stripped the ball while sacking Moore and D.J. Palmore recovered it to seal the win.
Abey ran for a pair of scores in the second half that helped keep Navy in control. He also had a 19-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Carmona in the first quarter.
Navy sophomore Malcolm Perry had 100 yards on 10 carries and scored the game’s first touchdown on a 23-yard run. Fellow slotback and senior Josh Brown also got his first career touchdown in the opening quarter with a 24-yard run, which was also his first carry of the season. Brown’s second touchdown on the opening drive of the second half gave Navy a 28-17 lead.
Moore was effective attacking Navy’s secondary and went 28 for 46 for 381 yards with three touchdowns. His favorite target was Devin Gray, who caught six passes for 112 yards with a touchdown.
It was the first game between the two schools since Oct. 20, 1956, when Navy beat Cincinnati, 13-7, in Annapolis.
TOP RUNNERS OUT
The Midshipmen were playing without versatile starting slotback Darryl Bonner, who injured his ankle in the previous game against Tulane. His backup, Tre Walker, also suffered a leg injury in the second quarter and did not return. Cincinnati’s starting running back Mike Boone also was out with an ankle injury.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats went 1-7 in the East division of the AAC last season. They will need to play better defensively to improve this year, especially in a league with so many high-powered attacks. Navy, however, did have two weeks to prepare and was able to wear down Cincinnati in the second half.
Navy: The Midshipmen are traditionally among the best teams nationally with protecting the football. However, they’ve struggled this season. Through three games, the Midshipmen have committed five turnovers and created only three. Navy’s running game has more than compensated for those mistakes so far.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats host Marshall in another non-conference game Saturday. Cincinnati won the past three meetings from 2004-08.
Navy: The Midshipmen travel to Tulsa for their third consecutive AAC game Saturday. Navy leads the all-time series 3-1, including a 42-40 victory last year in Annapolis.