Navy's Perry stars in loss to Army
Making only his second start this year at quarterback, Perry rushed for 250 yards and scored on a 68-yard run.
Malcolm Perry was making only his second start at quarterback and neither the inexperience nor the slippery field did much to hold the Navy sophomore down.
But after Navy's 14-13 loss to Army at Lincoln Financial Field, when the Midshipmen barely missed a 48-yard field goal as time expired, there were no mixed emotions for Perry.
He had rushed for 250 yards on 30 carries and scored on a scintillating 68-yard second-quarter touchdown run when Perry was gliding and everybody else was slipping and sliding in the snow. Yet there was no consolation.
"My performance isn't satisfying unless we win," said Perry, who has four rushing touchdowns this season of 65 or more yards. "We put ourselves in a position to possibly win the game and we didn't. We made too many mistakes."
Most notable were two false-start penalties on the final drive.
Perry has been Navy's starting slot back for most of the season. After starting quarterback Zach Abey got banged up in a 34-26 loss at Temple on Nov. 2, Perry started the next week and set an American Athletic Conference single-game rushing mark with 282 yards, to go along with four touchdowns in a 43-40 win over SMU.
He got injured in that game, missed the next one against Notre Dame, then returned as a slot back for the regular-season finale against Houston.
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo never announced who his starting quarterback would be for the Army game, but he said afterward he knew two weeks ago it would be Perry. And it looks as if Perry will stay as the starter for the Midshipmen when they face Virginia in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Md., on Dec. 28.
When asked, Niumatalolo said, that the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Perry is probably the starting quarterback going forward.
What made his performance so impressive against Army is that Perry didn't seem bothered by the snow, a claim most of the other players couldn't make.
"It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be; it was snow," Perry said. "It doesn't really affect the game."
That's debatable, but what isn't was the impact he had.
"He is a great player, very elusive and very slippery," said Army linebacker Alex Aukerman, who had 10 tackles. "It is just hard to have one person making the tackle [on Perry]."
Added Niumatalolo: "The kid is amazing. He has done everything we asked him to do."
Keep in mind, Niumatalolo chose Perry to start at quarterback over Abey, who entered the game with 1,322 rushing yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. Abey was in on just a few plays against Army, where he gained three yards on two carries.
Perry almost broke another long touchdown run, but was tripped up on a 46-yard gain to the Army 11. He was also wide open on an option pass, but receiver Craig Scott overthrew him.
On every play of Navy's triple option attack, Army had to account for Perry.
"He gave us a chance at the end," Niumatalolo said. "…Malcolm got us in a position to win the game."
And over the bowl game and in the next two seasons, Perry will likely put Navy in that position again.