One very big number stood out from Navy’s 28-21 defeat of Air Force on Saturday: The Falcons’ 507 total yards.
It isn’t particularly easy to win while getting gashed like that, particularly when the score doesn’t reach pinball levels. Of course, Air Force contributed to its demise, committing three turnovers, missing two field goals and handing possession over on downs on two occasions.
As it turns out, it was the ninth time since 1995 that Navy won despite surrendering 500 yards, and just the second time in that span the Mids did so without scoring at least 30 points.
The other instance was a 2009 trip to Notre Dame when the Irish committed three turnovers, missed two field goals, turned it over on downs once and absorbed a safety.
For its part, Navy was turnover-free in both games, though it did miss a field goal in that ‘09 game. Regardless, both games were extreme examples of the sort of path to victory Mids coach Ken Niumatalolo emphasizes is crucial for his team: Play mistake-free, exploit the other team’s miscues and then survive in the end.
MOST YARDS ALLOWED IN A VICTORY, NAVY 1995-2012
635: at North Texas, 2007 (W, 74-62)
610: at Boston College, 1998 (W, 32-31)
572: vs. Colorado State, 2005 (W, 51-30)
567: at East Carolina, 2010 (W, 76-35)
519: Colgate, 1998 (W, 42-35)
516: Central Michigan, 2003 (W, 63-34)
512: at Notre Dame, 2009 (W, 23-21)
507: at Air Force, 2012 (W, 28-21, OT)
506: Duke, 2007 (W, 46-43)
—- Patrick Stevens