Navy safety George Jamison became an unlikely hero in the Midshipmen’s 24-6 defeat of Middle Tennessee.
The junior wasn’t even on the two-deep roster, but Jamison helped to stop Middle Tennessee on a fourth-down play in the third quarter, and he made his first career interception in the fourth quarter.
“I knew there was always a chance, people get hurt,” said Jamison, who recorded six tackles (four solo) and returned the interception 17 yards. “It’s football, it’s a contact sport.”
Jamison was called to duty after starting safety Wave Ryder was ejected in the second quarter on a targeting penalty, and backup safety Lonnie Richardson left the game just before halftime after a helmet-to-helmet collision with a Middle Tennessee player.
Jamison and nose guard Travis Bridges stopped Blue Raiders fullback Corey Carmichael on fourth-and-2 at the Navy 7.
“That was a big stop, we needed that one,” he said.
On the interception, “I saw it coming. I knew I had to make something happen.”
Jamison tied for the team lead with four solo tackles, and he added two assists. He returned the interception 17 yards.
“As soon as Wave was out I knew I was the next guy in, so I needed to get focused and ready to go,” said Jamison. “So it was truly a blessing to get in and play today.”
No TDs allowed
Twice Navy limited opponents to seven points this season, including a 34-7 rout of Army on Dec. 14, but the two Middle Tennessee field goals was a new high point.
“Defensively as a group we’ve come together, especially at the end of the season,” said senior linebacker Cody Peterson, a team captain who recorded seven tackles. “It’s just a testament to their determination, guys stepping up and making plays when we need it just like George did today. Just a totally selfless group. It’s huge to finish like this.”
Close to home
Navy running back Darius Staten, a junior from Hebron High School, said he had “like 40-something people here at the game.”
He carried the ball six times for 37 yards and caught a 3-yard pass.
“It was magical the way it ended,” he added. “I was happy the way it ended. I’m very happy right now.”
• Navy is the last of the three service academies to compete in the Armed Forces Bowl, and the victory ties it with Army (2010) and Air Force (2009) at a win each. Air Force has also lost three times.
• The two lost fumbles by Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds were the Midshipmen’s first turnovers in six games. Middle Tennessee linebacker T.T. Barber delivered a jarring hit that separated Reynolds from the ball.
• Barber recovered both Navy fumbles, and recorded seven tackles (one for loss) to earn MVP honors for the Blue Raiders.