QB White, Memphis aim to keep momentum rolling vs. Navy
With one flick of his right wrist, quarterback Brady White entered the Memphis record book.
His 48-yard touchdown pass to Tahj Washington in the first quarter of last week’s 56-14 rout of Stephen F. Austin gave White 82 career scoring strikes, one more than Danny Wimprine (2001-04). White needed less than three years to break the mark.
“I appreciate everyone that’s been involved, and I feel very fortunate to have played at a high level and to break that,” White said. “It’s really cool to be on the top of that list.”
White will try to add to his school record Saturday night when the Tigers visit Annapolis, Md., for an American Athletic Conference game with Navy.
Both teams harbor longshot hopes of winning a conference title. Memphis (5-2, 3-2 AAC) must win its last three games while needing Tulsa to lose twice and SMU to lose once, while Navy (3-4, 3-2) needs two wins and the same kind of help from Tulsa and SMU.
This has become one of the AAC’s better matchups over the last five years, largely because of differing styles. The Tigers have boasted one of the nation’s most wide-open offenses, while the Midshipmen have thrived with a triple-option ground game that chews up yardage and clock.
However, this game might not be as close. While Memphis remains potent offensively with White throwing to the likes of Calvin Austin, who has five straight games of more than 100 yards, Navy has experienced uncharacteristic struggles.
A 55-3 season-opening loss to BYU was a stunner because of how non-competitive the Midshipmen were. While they have pulled out tight wins over Tulane, Temple and East Carolina, being outscored by more than 15 points a game over seven games is a better indicator of Navy’s relative weakness.
The biggest problem has been a surprising lack of punch in their ground game. Usually among the nation’s top rushing attacks, the Midshipmen enter this game 47th in FBS at 187 yards per game, abnormally low by their standards. They haven’t figured out a way to replace last year’s star quarterback, Malcolm Perry.
Dalen Morris, Tyger Goslin and plebe Xavier Arline have all drawn starts under center. Morris is a better passer but doesn’t run as well as a quarterback needs to in Navy’s attack, while Goslin does a better job with the triple-option aspect of the offense. Arline might be the best runner of the trio.
Making the choice even more difficult is the fact that Navy hasn’t played since Oct. 31, when it lost 51-37 at SMU. They’ve had two straight weeks off, and then last week’s scheduled trip to South Florida was canceled three days before kickoff when members of the Bulls’ program were diagnosed with COVID-19 or required contact tracing.
“All the familiarities of being in your home surroundings will hopefully help, because we need every advantage we can get,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said.
Navy leads the all-time series 3-2, although the Tigers prevailed last year 35-23 in Memphis on their way to the AAC title.
–Field Level Media