|Navy Report Card: Florida Atlantic|
Navy beat Florida Atlantic 24-17 on Saturday to notch its sixth victory of the season. GoMids.com's D.T. Yates grades the Mids in several key team areas.
Passing Offense: B
True freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds was 8 for 15 for 147 yards passing with two touchdowns. Brandon Turner caught both scores from Reynolds and doubled his touchdown reception total this season. The senior receiver now leads the Mids with three touchdown receptions with Gee Gee Greene following with two scores.
After Florida Atlantic jumped out to a 10-0 lead, Reynolds found sophomore slotback Ryan Williams-Jenkins for a 22-yard completion. After two Navy penalties, on third-and-13, Reynolds hit Turner for a 14-yard touchdown pass. Junior receiver Shawn Lynch had a pair of receptions for 32 yards receiving. Sophomore fullback Noah Copeland caught a 25-yard pass to convert a third-and-10 on the Mids second scoring drive. Junior receiver Matt Aiken had a 15-yard reception that helped get the Mids into field goal range to take a 24-10 lead.
Rushing Offense: B-
The Mids racked up 246 yards rushing led by a 159 yard rushing performance by Reynolds. The freshman signal caller found room on a 48-yard run from the Navy 19 to move the Mids into Owl territory. Noah Copeland added 10 carries for 38 yards rushing with a long run of 10 yards. The Midshipmen rushed for 4.8 yards per carry with slotback Gee Gee Greene having a mostly quiet day with 4 carries for 18 yards. During Navy's third scoring drive, slotback Bo Snelson blazed through defenders for an 18-yard rush to move the Mids into FAU territory. Reynolds added a 21-yard rush that moved the Mids into the red zone but would be forced to kick a field goal after consecutive rush attempts fell short at the three-yard line.
Passing Defense: C-
Navy had a hard time stopping Graham Wilbert who completed 25 for 35 pass attempts for 205 yards. On the Owls first scoring drive, Wilbert connected on 6 of 6 pass attempts for 45 yards. FAU tried to get junior running back Jonathan Wallace--who added seven receptions for 34 yards--involved as much as possible with the Owl passing attack that couldn't convert when it was most important. In four trips into the red zone, FAU converted two touchdowns and turned the ball over on downs the other two trips. Sophomore receiver William Dukes led FAU with five receptions for 75 yards receiving. Florida Atlantic tight end Nexon Dorvilus added four catches for 40 yards, including a 13-yard reception on third-and-2 that led to the Owls final score of the game. Cornerback Parrish Gaines and safety Tra'ves Bush shared a four-way tie for first in tackles on the team, with 7 tackles and a pass break up each; Gaines led the team with six solo tackles.
Rushing Defense: C
Navy had to stop running back Jonathan Wallace, who rushed for 111 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns. The junior converted first downs for the Owls on eight of his 28 touches. The Midshipmen run defense limited Wallace to a long carry of nine yards near the end of the first quarter. Senior defensive end Wes Henderson led the defensive line with 2 tackles, including a tackle for loss that resulted in a forced fumble that was recovered by freshman safety Kwazel Bertrand. Navy would use the turnover to kick a field goal and take a 24-10 lead. Senior Brye French led the linebacking corps with 7 tackles, including 5 solo stops. Junior linebacker Cody Peterson added six tackles, including four solo stops.
Special Teams: C-
Freshman kicker Nick Sloan made one of his three field goal attempts from 20 yards; he missed a field goal attempt from 45 yards in the first quarter and another from 51 late in the fourth. Pablo Beltran boomed a 61-yard punt that pinned the Owls on their own 2-yard line. The sophomore punter had a less impressive punt that went 18 yards out of bounds, and led to a 53-yard field goal by Mitch Anderson.
Ryan Williams returned a kickoff 28 yards to the 33-yard line to start a drive that led to a Midshipmen touchdown. Sophomore slotback Geoffrey Whiteside had a kickoff return for 29 yards that started the Mids out at the 38-yard line. Navy would not be able to capitalize as Sloan's last field goal attempt from 51 yards sailed wide left.
The Mids overcame hiccups on offense early in their first three drives to score on their four possessions and take control of the game. Navy was 1-for-1 in fourth-down conversion attempts with the lone attempt coming on the Mids' opening drive of the second half. On fourth-and-8 from the FAU 31-yard line, Reynolds hit Turner for a 31-yard touchdown that put the Mids up 21-10. There was a sense that the mental focus for a team that dominated East Carolina, and scratched and clawed its way to a win against the Hoosiers, wasn't up to the level of those past two games.
Navy fell behind 10-0 in the second quarter before rallying back to score on four consecutive drives to take a 24-10 lead. The Mids were called for three penalties for 25 yards, converted 7 of 13 third-down conversion attempts, and were 1 for 1 on fourth downs.
Next up Navy takes a trip to Troy, Ala., to face another Sun Belt opponent with a 4-5 overall record and 3-3 conference record. The Troy Trojans have the 15th ranked passing offense in the country, and nearly beat Tennessee last week in a thrilling shootout that ended with the Vols ahead 55-48.
Navy officials announced after the victory that the Mids have accepted a bid to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 29 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. The Midshipmen will play an opponent from the Pac-12 at 4:00 p.m. EST. With Army defeating Air Force this weekend, the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy will come down to the Army-Navy game in December.