Worth scores winning TD as Navy beats Connecticut 28-24

ANNAPOLIS, MD. (AP) - Will Worth scored two touchdowns in his debut as Navy's starting quarterback, and the Midshipmen survived a hectic finish in a 28-24 victory over Connecticut on Saturday.

After Navy let a 21-0 lead become a 24-21 deficit, Worth bulled in from the 1-yard line with 3:08 remaining following a 26-yard punt return to the UConn 17.

The Huskies then moved 79 yards to the Navy 1 and took their final timeout with 17 seconds left. Ron Johnson was subsequently stuffed on a rush attempt, and the clock ran out before Connecticut could run another play.

"That goal line stand symbolizes who we are," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "Things looked bleak. I didn't see the play. I was closing my eyes praying and I have no idea what happened. Shows you what kind of coach I am. I just looked up and our guys were cheering."

Connecticut coach Bob Diaco was at a loss to explain what transpired on the opposite sideline during the game's final seconds. He talked about the uncertainty of where the ball was placed, whether a pass was a better call than a run, and then the timeout call because the game clock was about to expire.

"I am not complaining or making excuses," he said. "I take full accountability."

The Midshipmen (2-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) scored on their first two possessions and went up 21-0 on a 2-yard fumble return by Alohi Gilman in the second quarter.

Connecticut (1-1, 0-1) recovered to the take the lead before Worth scored the game's final touchdown.

Worth, a 6-foot-1 senior, started in place of Tago Smith, who tore his right ACL in the season opener against Fordham.

In addition to capably directing the triple option, Worth ran for 44 yards, completed his first four passes and finished 6 for 8 for 130 yards.

"I felt pretty good with everything," Worth said. "There were a couple (plays) I definitely would like to have back. For the most part, I felt good to get out there and see it all live."

Bryant Shirreffs completed 23 of 26 passes for the Huskies, who were coming off a 24-21 win over Maine and looking to go 2-0 for just the second time since 2008.

After Navy jumped to a 21-0 lead, the Huskies battled back. Shirreffs threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Noel Thomas with 1:10 left in the first half, Johnson scored on a 3-yard run and Jamar Summers rambled 86 yards with a fumble by fullback Chris High.

Bobby Puyol kicked a 38-yard field goal with 9:08 remaining to give the Huskies their first lead at 24-21.

Thomas finished with 11 catches for 116 yards.

THE TAKEAWAY

UConn: The Huskies showed their mettle in rallying from a 21-0 deficit, which bodes well for a team looking to take the next step after going 6-7 in 2015 following a 2-10 disaster in 2014.

Navy: Worth performed capably in his first start, and will likely improve with experience. Showing poise and confidence, Worth blunted the notion that Navy's triple option would sputter with a newcomer at the helm.

UP NEXT

UConn: The Huskies host Virginia next Saturday. The series is tied 1-1, with UConn prevailing 45-10 in 2008 in the last meeting between the teams.

Navy: The Midshipmen take to the road for the first time, visiting Tulane on Saturday night before a bye week.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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