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Navy sticking with Miller as starting QB

FootballKen Niumatalolo

Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo has given junior quarterback Trey Miller chances to hold on to his starting job this season.

Miller will apparently get one more — possibly his last — Saturday when the struggling Midshipmen try to turn things around after their worst start in 10 years.

Despite two more turnovers and getting benched in the fourth quarter of last Saturday's 12-0 defeat at home to San Jose State, Miller will start when Navy (1-3) plays at Air Force (2-2) in a nationally-televised game Saturday in Colorado Springs.

"Trey's going to be our quarterback. I have faith in Trey," Niumatalolo said after practice Monday in Annapolis. "I know he needs to be play better, but I know he can get it done."

Miller has committed 10 of Navy's 12 turnovers this season — putting the Midshipmen near the bottom (tied for 103rd out of 120) of the Football Bowl Subdivision in that category. Navy also ranks 99th in total offense after rushing for just 144 yards — its lowest output in 10 years.

"Turnovers are the big thing right now, I might miss a few reads here and there, but it's the turnovers," Miller said.

Miller fumbled around the San Jose State 10-yard line on Navy's first possession after leading the Midshipmen on their best drive of the day. It marked the only time the offense got inside the 30. Miller was replaced by freshman Keenan Reynolds after underthrowing a receiver and getting intercepted.

Niumatalolo might have made a change if he felt he had a better option than Miller. After playing well in relief of Miller in a 34-7 loss at Penn State on Sept. 15, Reynolds looked a bit flustered when he replaced Miller against San Jose State.

A freshman has never started at quarterback since Paul Johnson brought the triple-option to Navy in 2002.

Navy ranks 118th in red zone scoring and 117th in scoring (14.5), figures that would even be lower if not for a 41-3 victory Sept. 22 over Virginia Military Academy, the only Football Championship Subdivision team the Midshipmen play this season.

"I just feel like Trey gives us the best chance to win," Niumatalolo said.

Notes: Senior slotback John Howell will miss the rest of the season after tearing ligaments in his right knee Saturday. Senior rover Tra'ves Bush, who sustained a concussion against San Jose State, is "day to day" according to Niumatalolo. Freshman cornerback Quincy Adam, who left the game with an injury Saturday, returned to practice Monday.

don.markus@baltsun.com

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