Mids recover from a long trip
Wyatt Middleton seemed alert and upbeat after practice on Tuesday afternoon, but the junior safety was actually battling jet lag after flying back from Hawaii a day earlier.
"It hit me last night. I couldn't really fall asleep," Middleton said. "I went to sleep from 10 [p.m.] to 2 o'clock in the morning and then I was awake for the rest of the day. I've been up since then. But we're used to long days here."
The Midshipmen's trip to Hawaii didn't go exactly as they had hoped. They lost for only the second time in two months; the final score was 24-17. For the first time this season, Navy's offense didn't score a single point in the second half; Navy (8-4) had only three possessions in the final two quarters. The defense gave up 428 yards of total offense to the Warriors (6-6) — the third-highest total by an opponent this season — and 366 of those yards came through the air — the second-highest total by an opponent.
"I feel that we played badly as a defense," Middleton said. "I know from the secondary standpoint, we didn't do as well as we should have."
Said Coach Ken Niumatalolo, "We didn't play very well. To go that far, to travel, there's a little bit of the blues of losing. We've got to get over it quickly."
But there were some positives from the trip. Junior quarterback Ricky Dobbs tied the NCAA record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback when he scored on a 53-yard run in the first quarter; it was his 23rd touchdown of the season, and the longest run of his career. He finished with 127 yards on the ground, his third straight 100-yard rushing game.
The four days they spent in Hawaii gave the players some time to bond together as a group.
"It was like our little family thing," Middleton said. "We went to an unfamiliar area with our brothers. We spent a holiday that the majority of people spend with their families with our team and our coaches. That experience alone is a growing experience, a maturing experience."
"They're together here, but to be isolated like that and be together for that long, hopefully they'll draw closer," Niumatalolo said. "We're already a close team. But hopefully that can be some benefit."
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