ANNAPOLIS – Shortly after Navy took over possession with 2:08 left in the first half Saturday, kicker Jon Teague approached coach Ken Niumatalolo with some valuable information.
Considering it involved looking for three points instead of six, it wasn’t exactly a priority for Niumatalolo.
“He came to me while we were driving and said ‘Coach, my distance is 55.’ I went ‘OK, get back there,’” Niumatalolo said. “That’s the last thing I want to hear while the drive’s going.”
Sure enough, the Midshipmen stalled at the Delaware 37 with 31 seconds left before the break. Navy led 16-7 at the time, and adding points with the Blue Hens set to receive the second half kickoff.
With plenty of scenarios passing through his mind – undoubtedly what a miss or even a block would do to help Delaware – Niumatalolo opted to trust his senior kicker and send him out for a 54-yard attempt.
Not that it was an easy choice.
“I was nervous about that. I was that close to calling a timeout and saying ‘Screw it, let’s punt it into the end zone and let them take it on the 20,’” Niumatalolo said.
Instead, Teague booted it through the uprights with a little room to spare. It broke Todd Solomon’s school record of 52 yards set in 1984, and was only the fifth 50-yard field goal in Navy history.
Unsurprisingly, it also obliterated Teague’s personal best – a 38-yarder last year at East Carolina.
“It’s almost every kicker’s dream to get a 50-plus yarder in a game,” Teague said. “Going into halftime, I knew it was a big possibility because before halftime they would get the ball back and not have much time. I knew my range, I’d kicked there pregame, I’d hit a few 52s and 53s in pregame. When that wind picked up a little bit, I just assumed it was 55. Luckily, it went even farther than that.”