Carothers glows in Navy’s huge vic­tory

For­mer JV team RB scores 2 TDs, rushes for 75 yards vs. Army

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - ARMY-NAVY FOOTBALL - By Kather­ine Fominykh

PHILADEL­PHIA — The pass that ig­nited Navy’s come­back over archri­val Army sailed into the hands of a man who didn’t be­gin this sea­son even on var­sity.

Another bad de­ci­sion, coach Ken Ni­u­mat­alolo said.

“Ja­male didn’t even go to the Mem­phis game. The guy was on the JV team,” Ni­u­mat­alolo said. “For­tu­nately, we found him.”

Carothers played the Baby Yoda to quar­ter­back Mal­colm Perry’s Man­dalo­rian; on Perry’s mul­ti­ple-record-break­ing day, Carothers backed him up, drag­ging down and haul­ing in two of the Mid­ship­men’s four touch­downs, in­clud­ing the first that de­liv­ered Navy its per­ma­nent lead.

This was Perry’s day — no one could hold a can­dle to the quar­ter­back’s 304-yard rush­ing game — but Carothers held his own, good for sec­ond as he ac­cu­mu­lated 75 yards on 22 car­ries.

In a game won by ground, Carothers also led the Mids with one re­ceiv­ing yard, for that touch­down.

“Ja­male’s been awe­some be­cause it gives us the one-two punch,” Ni­u­mat­alolo said. “Peo­ple can’t al­ways tee off on Mal­colm, but gives us a break­away threat in the mid­dle. He’s been un­be­liev­able. Ja­male’s been a huge, huge weapon this year.”

Carothers will for­ever live in Navy foot­ball lore, the cen­ter­piece of what Ni­u­mat­alolo chris­tened “the Navy Spe­cial.”

Navy of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Ivin Jasper had cooked up the plan specif­i­cally for Army-Navy, a trib­ute to the Philly Spe­cial that seized Su­per Bowl LII for the Philadel­phia Ea­gles in 2018. The of­fense toiled away all week, prac­tic­ing the play over and over.

“I kind of sus­pected it once we got down there,” Perry said. “It was a big point of the game where we could go score, go back into half and get the ball back.”

At the call, the of­fense doled out the “Navy Spe­cial,” just as in­tended.

Perry flipped the ball to sopho­more wide re­ceiver Chance War­ren. War­ren crossed be­hind him and flung a pass that seemed to hang in the air like it was made of pure mo­lasses, so slow, and yet, Ni­u­mat­alolo wasn’t even sure Carothers had made the catch at first.

Carothers knew what he had to do.

“I just wanted to make sure I was in bounds to try and make a play on the ball,” Carothers said. “I knew, ei­ther way, we would get points on that pos­ses­sion. I just tried to give my­self the best chance pos­si­ble.”

In­spired by his quar­ter­back’s La­mar Jack­son-es­que cuts and dodges, Carothers swirled past his Black Knight marks to pick up a 14-yard gain to within five yards of the red zone, his long­est yet of the day, and then hauled in another touch­down dead down the mid­dle.

As soon as Carothers stepped on the var­sity field, his rise was me­te­oric. Af­ter mak­ing his first ca­reer start against Tulsa, in which the sopho­more posted 52 rush­ing yards with one score, it took mere weeks, against Notre Dame, for Carothers to jump to the top of the full­backs on the depth chart.

Carothers then stacked up another 660 yards for a to­tal of 712, mak­ing him Navy’s sec­ond most valu­able run­ner, be­hind Perry.

None of it came by the uni­verse’s hand alone. Carothers la­bored dili­gently with his coaches to re­fine his craft. His high­est rush­ing per­for­mance came most re­cently, against Hous­ton (18 for 188).

“It’s a bless­ing. It’s been a great ex­pe­ri­ence this whole sea­son,” Carothers said. “It’s a trib­ute to what my team­mates and I have done this sea­son, how much work we’ve put in. I’m just happy to be in this mo­ment right now.


Navy’s Ja­male Carothers rushed for 75 yards and a touch­down and added a re­ceiv­ing TD to help the Mid­ship­men get past Army on Satur­day in Philadel­phia.

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