After Navy starting quarterback Tago Smith suffered a first half knee injury that kept him out the rest of the team's 52-16 victory against Fordham, freshman quarterback Malcolm Perry was pulled out of the brigade of Midshipmen to get dressed as a backup.
Perry, a 5-foot-9 player from Clarksville, Tenn., who did not dress for the game due to an illness, came out of the stands to add depth as an emergency signal caller. In the second half, as the Midshipmen were easily cruising past Fordham, Perry entered the game at quarterback in the fourth with Navy up 49-13 on Fordham. He led the Midshipmen on a 90-yard drive that ended with a field goal.
"It wasn't planned for me to even dress today," said Perry, who ran for 32 yards on seven carries but did not attempt a pass. "I came here with the rest of the brigade. I was just watching the game and Tago went down. The coaches got me out of the stands and got me dressed. It felt good."
Perry was recruited to Navy as a slotback but recently was moved to quarterback. He quarterbacked Navy's JV team in a game Friday.
"I thought he did really well for a guy that wasn't supposed to suit up," Navy coach KenNiumatalolo said. "He was in the brigade so went and got him. He had been sick all week too and didn't take any reps. So, we tried to keep things really simple for him. He's another talented kid. It's not the scenario you want. But we had to do what we had to do."
In just over one quarter of work, Smith rushed for 97 yards on 10 carries with a pair of touchdowns. Senior Will Worth entered and was also effective, scoring on a 7-yard run that gave the Midshipmen a 28-10 lead. He also threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Toneo Gulley.
The Midshipmen were playing their first game without record-setting quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who rushed for 88 touchdowns as a four-year starter. After serving for three years as Reynolds' backup, Smith ran Navy's triple-option offense flawlessly until he was injured on a 22-yard run with 14:17 left in the half.
Contributing: Associated Press
Fr. QB Malcolm Perry was in the stands at start of game. After Smith's injury he got dressed and is now a backup. pic.twitter.com/QFFSYQb36o— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) September 3, 2016