Video courtesy of Army Athletics
PHILADELPHIA — Jaylon McClinton watched Navy’s guards and tackles pull and made his move toward quarterback Garret Lewis.
Lewis was breaking for the goal line when McClinton, Army’s junior safety, met him with textbook technique. McClinton jarred the football loose at Army’s 6. Senior safety James Gibson recovered the fumble at the 3-yard line, preventing Navy’s first score.
“I just got my helmet on the ball,” said McClinton, who led the Black Knights with nine tackles in the 17-10 victory. “Coach (Jay) Bateman made a great call. Cole Christiansen (Army’s linebacker) made a great puncture. I was able to skate across and make a tackle.”
Army’s defense stymied Navy’s option attack for the third straight season under the direction of Bateman, its coordinator. The Black Knights have allowed just five Navy touchdowns in the three consecutive wins.
This time, the Black Knights forced four Navy turnovers.
McClinton picked off starter Zach Abey on a tipped pass by Mike Reynolds in the first quarter. Reynolds, a senior cornerback, intercepted Abey in the third quarter. Senior Kenneth Brinson sacked Lewis and recovered a fumble with three minutes left.
“Jay Bateman is one of the best in the business,” McClinton said. “Listening to him every day, he put us in great spots. We always talk about doing your 1/11th. You do your job on the field and when that play comes you make that play. We were just able to do that.”
Army entered Saturday ranked 11th nationally in total defense, allowing 301.3 yards per game. The Black Knights held Navy to 208 yards, allowing just five completed passes on 17 attempts by Abey, Lewis and Malcolm Perry.
“He’s the best defensive coordinator in the country,” Monken said of Bateman, who reportedly will become North Carolina's next defensive coordinator. “He’s done an incredible job in leading our defense and building our defense. Not only in this game has he been successful and effective, but against everybody we have played.”