A lot of people will tell you that this was a game of halves: Navy was great in the first half and UH dominated the 2nd half. Roughly, those people are correct. The Coogs made some adjustments at half and came out with a new sense of purpose.
But there are arguments to be made that the “turn around” could have happened due to numerous events. We’ve already discussed one:
UH Took Over When They Started Winning 1st Down.
Here are two other possibilities:
1. When slotback Malcolm Perry went down
Malcolm Perry diced the Coogs early in the game. Navy used him all over the field – running, passing, receiving. Perry caused a lot of problems for UH to the perimeter. He had 97 yards rushing (10 carries, 1 TD), 43 yards passing, and 9 yards receiving in an active first half.
But Perry went out with a leg injury before halftime and after coming back for the first play in the 3rd quarter, never returned.
“It definitely hurt us because (Malcolm) is one of our best players. It was typical Malcolm doing good things and he rushed for almost 100 yards,” Niumatalolo said.
Losing their best weapon certainly hurt Navy and could have helped propel the Coogs to the win.
2. When The Coogs Started To Trust Themselves
The first half was a lot of stop and starting for UH: a punt, missed field goal, a fumble, and a botched end of the half combined with 3 TD strikes. And with less than 8 minutes TOP for the Coogs, it’s easy to think the game was starting to slip away.
In that first half, Keith Corbin had 4 catches and 3 drops but the fumble at the 33 could easily be considered a drop. Either way, he had a bad half. You could see online that many UH fans were displeased with Corbin and wanted him benched.
But Kendal Briles stuck with him, giving him the confidence to have a big second half: Corbin only caught 2 balls but one went for the last offensive TD that sealed the win for the Coogs. Corbin had finally started to trust in himself.
When the game ended, it was easy to see that UH just kept doing our thing: The Cougars scored in 2:01 or less 5 times (the other drives were just over 3 minutes). All 6 of UH’s touchdown drives (plus the pix sick) combined for 15:02 of game time.
In comparison, Navy’s first 3 drives of the game took almost 17.5 minutes but resulted in just 17 points.
Any of the three of these could have been the deciding factor in the game but in reality, a combination of the three helped the Cougars get to 6-1 on the season and 3-0 in the conference.
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