Crusaders fall at Navy in season opener
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Navy’s Nelson Smith rushed 15 times for 96 yards and three touchdowns, as the Midshipmen posted a 45-7 victory over the Holy Cross football team at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Crusaders open the year at 0-1, while Navy starts the season 1-0.
Navy totaled 528 yards of total offense on the afternoon to just 231 yards for the Crusaders. The Midshipmen rushed the ball 67 times for 428 yards, while holding a 36:05-23:55 advantage in time of possession.
The Midshipmen opened the game by jumping out to an early 17-0 lead. Navy scored on four-yard run by Smith and a 44-yard field goal by Bijan Nichols in the first quarter, before adding a 16-yard touchdown run by C.J. Williams midway through the second quarter. Holy Cross responded with a 16-yard scoring run by senior tailback Miles Alexander, before Navy’s Malcolm Perry scored on a one-yard run with 10 seconds left in the half to make the score 24-7 heading into the locker room.
Smith added two more touchdowns for the Midshipmen in the second half, as Navy scored 21 unanswered points after the intermission to conclude the scoring.
Junior quarterback Connor Degenhardt hit on 16 of 29 passes for 167 yards, in addition to rushing for 17 yards on 10 carries. Alexander carried the ball 12 times for 40 yards, while junior wide out Tenio Ayeni had a team-best six receptions for 46 yards. Freshman linebacker Jacob Dobbs led the Crusader defense with 13 total tackles.
Holy Cross returns to action next Saturday, Sept. 7, when it plays host to New Hampshire at 1:00 p.m.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE:
• The Crusaders now stand 71-44-9 all-time in season openers.
• Freshman wide out Ayir Asante, sophomore wide receiver Jack Jewell and freshman wide out Dominik Thomas all recorded their first career reception.
• This marked the third straight season Holy Cross faced an FBS opponent (including Connecticut in 2017 and Boston College in 2018), after previously not facing an FBS team since 2002.
• Dobbs' 13 tackles were the most by a Crusader in his collegiate debut since Phil Tyburczy made 18 tackles against Bucknell in 1993.