UNIVERSITY PARK - Navy got off to a rough start, making several key mistakes in the opening minutes, and never recovered Saturday.
Defensive back Parrish Gaines slipped in coverage on Penn State's first offensive series, and Allen Robinson was wide open for a 45-yard catch down to the 4 that set up a touchdown. Navy then had to burn a timeout before the PAT attempt.
Navy was flagged for a chop block on the second play of its first series, then had a false start penalty two plays later to set up third-and-28. The Nittany Lions got the ball right back and scored quickly, so the mistake-prone Midshipmen were down 14-0 before they knew what hit them.
Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski
Penn State Navy ROTC students salute during the playing of the National Anthem on Saturday.
"It was uncharacteristic of us," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "We didn't play well. I didn't coach well. Like I said, we've got to play mentally perfect to have a chance against a team like Penn State, and we didn't come close."
Navy's chance to get back in the game ended when quarterback Trey Miller threw an interception deep in PSU territory late in the first quarter. The Lions led 14-0, and with defensive end Sean Stanley pressuring him, Miller threw into coverage and had it picked off by linebacker Gerald Hodges.
"It was just a bad decision," Miller said.
"We keep hurting ourselves because we were moving the football. ... We just hurt ourselves in the end," the quarterback added.
Navy finished with 245 yards rushing on 60 carries, averaging 4.1 per attempt, and was led by Gee Gee Greene's 70 yards on eight carries. The Midshipmen couldn't sustain drives deep into scoring territory, however, as their passing game was ineffective (13-of-23 for 126 yards and four sacks).
"We're an option team, and we're having a tough time moving people off the ball, and we're having a hard time holding the pull against them," Niumatalolo said.
Navy, which lost its opener to Notre Dame, 50-10, has now been outscored 84-17 in two games.
"None of these guys are going anywhere," linebacker Keegan Wetzel said. "They're at the school because they're fighters, they're scrappers. That's how they got recruited. And we have great leadership. ... We're going to come back Monday ready to work."