Three Game Keys In Review: Navy

The Falcons were unable to stop their slide in Saturday's loss to Navy, a result that puts Air Force's back firmly against the ropes as the squad goes into the second half of the season hoping to engineer a turnaround.

1) The first key for Air Force was to win or at least play the quarterback matchup close. It was a lot to ask going in, given that this was only Karson Roberts' second start, but the moment eventually proved to be too much for him. Keenan Reynolds was sharp for Navy, going for 126 yards on the ground and scoring three times. With questions regarding his effectiveness after absorbing a big hit last week - one that knocked him out of the game against Western Kentucky – Reynolds delivered a gem. Roberts struggled to carry over his play from a week ago against Nevada. He couldn't do much on the ground when called upon.

2) The second key was to convert third downs and control the clock. We talked before about the matchup's history in recent years and how close these games tend to be. In reality, Air Force did fairly well with this key. The Falcons converted 10 of 18 third down attempts and held the ball for 31 minutes, a slight edge. Air Force nearly matched Navy in yards as well. What derailed the team? Turnovers, specifically a negative three in the category. The way the Falcons were moving the ball, one has to wonder what might have been if not for those giveaways.

3) The final key was to show a sense of urgency. At 1-4, there wasn't much room for error, and Air Force came out playing that way, taking it to Navy for the first 30 minutes. However, Navy responded with strength in the second half and forced Air Force into mistakes while leaning on Reynolds to direct an offense that sputtered in the first half. The thought coming in was that Navy was the better team. After 60 minutes, all Air Force may be able to do is tip its cap. This wasn't a terrible game from the Falcons by any stretch; Navy just turned up to dial, reaching a level Air Force couldn't match.

Air Force gets San Diego State at home this Thursday in a matchup of disappointing Mountain West teams that are looking for ways to kick-start their seasons.

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