Navy's Star Quarterback Hopes to Finish Career by Ending Army Winning Streak

Malcolm Perry (Navy Athletics Facebook)
Malcolm Perry (Navy Athletics Facebook)

There's just one thing missing from Navy senior quarterback Malcolm Perry's long list of achievements: a victory over Army.

Perry has been named a semifinalist for the Lombardi Honors award and the Manning Award. He has 25 total touchdowns this year, and will likely set the school's all-time rushing record. And now he's got his sights on a crowning success.

The Mids have lost three straight in the annual rivalry. Saturday's matchup at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia will mark the 120th playing of the Army-Navy Game.

"It'd mean a lot," Perry said in an interview for the Army-Navy Preview Show. "It's the biggest game of the year. Winning this could change the outlook on my entire time here at the academy."

Navy (9-2) seems poised to break that streak, entering the game ranked No. 20 and facing off against an Army team that has lost six of its last eight. The Mids will play Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl on New Year's Eve.

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Navy leads the all-time series against Army 60-52-7, including a 44-40-4 mark in Philadelphia and a 10-2 record at Lincoln Financial Field.

Coach Ken Niumatalolo closed practice to the public and media this week, citing final exams, but said in the preview show that he feels "as good as I've felt in a long time" about how his team stacks up against Army.

"Just from the standpoint of the hard work our seniors have put in, their leadership, what I've seen from them all year," Niumatalolo said. "But [I] also recognize it's Army - I know they're going to come hard and play hard."

Perry is chasing two records. He is already only the second player in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season three times, joining Keenan Reynolds. But he is also just 87 yards away from becoming first on Navy's all-time rushing leaderboard, and less than 70 yards from setting Navy's single-season total offense record.

"It's extremely bittersweet," Perry said of his Navy career coming to a close. "Ending on the right note would be the right way to go out."

Another player to watch for the Mids is emerging sophomore fullback Jamale Carothers, who a year ago was on the junior varsity team. He exploded for five touchdowns and 188 rushing yards in Navy's 56-41 victory over Houston.

Carothers has more than 600 yards on the ground in just seven games this season, and has been earning confidence from the coaching staff.

"The analytics stuff showed he was running some numbers that were at the top of our charts, and we had to find a way to get him on the field," Niumatalolo said.

Carothers gave credit to the offensive line. "I definitely think it's the offensive line, starting the play off very hard, blocking for me, then me getting the ball and trying to find my blocks and hit as hard as I can," he said.

Defensive coordinator Brian Newberry, who said his players didn't show up ready to play against Houston, have been preparing for Army all season.

"Every Monday, we hit on some [Commander-in-Chief's Trophy series] stuff so it's fresh in their minds," Newberry said. "We gotta shift gears entirely. The good thing, it's not foreign to our guys. Defending the option is not something new for us."

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