ANNAPOLIS, Md. - A furious, late drive by the UConn football team ended on the half-yard line as time expired on Saturday afternoon as Navy survived a second-half comeback attempt by the Huskies and posted a 28-24 win before a crowd of 31,501 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The loss drops UConn to 1-1 on the season and 0-1 in American Athletic Conference play while the Midshipmen are 2-0 and 1-0.
Navy went out to a 21-0 lead in the game with 5:36 to go in the second quarter and did not score again until quarterback Will Worth ran on a one-yard TD run capped a four-play, 17-yard drive with 3:08 left to play to give the Mids a 28-24 lead.
UConn went right to business in attempts for a game-winning score. Redshirt junior quarterback Bryant Shirreffs (Jefferson, Ga.) completed six passes for 59 yards and rushed for 20 more on the drive. On first-and-goal from the Navy 10, he struck sophomore Hergy Mayala (Montreal, Que.) with a nine-yard pass to put the ball at the Navy one. UConn failed to move the ball on the next play, a rush, and time expired on the game.
Shirreffs was 23 of 26 in the air for 239 yards and a TD, while he carried the ball 13 times for 33 yards. Down 21-0 late in the second quarter, Shirreffs got UConn on the board when he hit redshirt senior Noel Thomas (Norwalk, Conn.) with a 34-yard TD pass to make it 21-7.
The UConn defense forced Navy three and out to start the second half and then cut the lead to 21-14 as junior Ron Johnson (Naples, Fla.) scored on a three-yard run that finished off a 10-play, 60-yard drive. Shirreffs had a third-down 17-yard completion to Thomas on the drive and redshirt freshman Tyler Davis (Bellmore, N.Y.), playing out of the tight end spot, connected with junior tight end Alec Bloom (Ligonier) for 23 yards and a fourth-and-four to highlight the drive.
Junior cornerback Jamar Summers (Orange, N.J.) tied the game at 21-21 with 2:39 left to play in the third quarter on an 86-yard fumble recovery. The fumble recovery for a TD was the first for the Huskies since Andrew Adams returned one in 2014 vs. SMU. It was the second-longest fumble return for a TD in school history as Paul Carney had a 100-yarder vs. Massachusetts in 1930.
UConn took its only lead of the game, 24-21, on a 38-yard field goal by redshirt senior Bobby Puyol (North Palm Beach, Fla.) with 9:08 to play.
Redshirt senior linebacker Matt Walsh (Madison, Conn.) led the Huskies in tackles with 12 while redshirt senior safety Obi Melifonwu (South Grafton, Mass.) had 10.
Worth had 130 yards of passing for Navy to go with 44 rushing yards and two TDs. Dishan Romine had 76 rushing yards.
The Huskies return to action next Saturday at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field when they play host to Virginia of the Atlantic Coast Conference at 1:30 p.m. The game will be televised on SNY and heard on the UConn IMG Sports Radio Network.