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Perry's record-setting and Nic...
American Football

Perry's record-setting and Nichols' late kick seal 61st Liberty Bowl for Navy

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

15:35 1 Jan 2020

A 23-yard field goal with two seconds on the clock saw Navy to victory in the 61st Autozone Liberty Bowl against Kansas State on Tuesday night. 

Bijan Nichols' winning kick rounded off a season in which Navy became just the fifth Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) program to go from double-digit losses (3-10 in 2018) to double-digit wins (11-2 in 2019) in a single season..

Navy's quarterback Malcolm Perry was named the bowl's MVP and notched a college-record sixth career 200-yard rushing game with 213 yards, setting an FBS single-season rushing record by a quarterback.

The senior closed his Navy career with 2,017 yards in 13 games, blowing past the previous season mark of 1,920 (in 14 games) set by Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois in 2013.

Speaking after the game Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo said his quarterback will "go down in history as one of the best quarterbacks that's ever played for the Naval Academy."

"To beat a team like Kansas State, that beat Oklahoma, I mean, that's a good football team," Niumatalolo said. "I knew early on, on offense, it was going to be a grind. . . . It was a grind. It was tough. But I love the way our defense played, kept us in the game, gave us a chance to win. I mean, to hold those guys under 100 yards, that's phenomenal. They played really, really well."

Niumatalolo had taken the blame for last season's disappointment but things couldn't have ended more different this year as Navy's victory on Tuesday tied a school-record 11th season win set in 2015. Earlier this month, the Midshipmen ended a painful losing streak by winning a first Army-Navy game since 2015.

Navy's next game will be in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic against Notre Dame at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, 29th August.

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