Zach Abey had five rushing touchdowns and Malcolm Perry added two more rushing scores as the Navy Midshipmen routed the Virginia Cavaliers, 49-7, in the 2017 Military Bowl.
Navy set a Military Bowl-record with 452 yards rushing and the 42-point win is the largest margin of victory for Navy in a bowl game. Abey also broke the program record for rushing touchdowns in a bowl game and tied Reggie Campbell’s mark for most touchdowns in a bowl game.
Bronco Mendenhall couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game as Joe Reed took the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to give the Cavaliers a 7-0 lead.
Mendenhall has to be asking himself what the heck happened afterwards cause it was all Navy the rest of the way.
Perry led Navy with 114 yards on 16 carries, Chris High added 101 yards on 19 attempts and Abey chipped in with another 88 yards in a dominating effort on both sides of the ball.
Perry got the start for the Mids and his explosiveness was evident on large gains of 33, 22 and 19 yards, the latter two going for scores. Unfortunately for Navy, he was forced to exit the game early in the third quarter with a foot injury.
That did little to slow down Navy’s rushing attack as Abey kept the offense rolling for five more touchdown drives.
The numbers were staggering. Navy racked up 452 yards on the ground, compared to 175 yards of offense for the Cavaliers. Navy’s defense absolutely shut down Virginia’s ground game as they had just 30 yards rushing. UVA also had three turnovers, while Navy played mistake-free football.
Garrett Lewis finished the contest for Navy once they jumped out to the 49-7 lead. He had 36 yards on six carries.
Kurt Benkert was 16-of-36 for 145 yards, with an interception in his final game for the Cavaliers. His top target all season - Olamide Zaccheaus - hauled in five receptions for 62 yards in the loss.
Navy’s 49-point output is particularly impressive considering they scored only 44 points combined in the last three games against Notre Dame, Houston and Army. The win also snapped Virginia’s five-game winning streak against Navy and kept Navy from having a losing record for the first time since 2011.