Report Card: Navy vs. Delaware

Navy defeated Delaware 40-17 on Saturday in Annapolis. analyzes every element of the Mid's performance and assigns a grade to each area.






Kriss Proctor completed 4-of-7 passes for 46 yards. He threw a touchdown pass and an interception. Proctor completed his first attempt of the game on a five yard roll out to Matt Aiken that was short of a first down. Proctor's has a nice target in physical Brandon Turner (2 catches, 29 yards) who caught two passes for first downs. Proctors lack of arm strength was demonstrated on two plays. On a pass attempt to Aaron Santiago, who was covered, Proctor wisely threw the ball away under pressure off his back foot but his pass failed to make it to the sidelines and was nearly intercepted. Proctor was intercepted on a pass attempt to Casey Bolena who made a nice sight adjustment and went deep. Kriss' pass was a duck that was woefully underthrown and intercepted by cornerback Marcus Burley. Proctor last pass of the day was a nicely thrown 12-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Santiago.
If Proctor's passing ability wasn't awe inspiring, his mastery at running the spread option continues to impress. Proctor demonstrated his speed and ability to break tackles as he carried 22 times for 176 yards and scored three touchdowns. His 75-yard touchdown run on the opening drive set the tone for the game. Alexander ran hard for 65 tough yards inside against Delaware stacked defensive formation in the box. Aaron Santiago had a 24-yard burst on a counter option as he ran six times for 56 yards and scored a touchdown. Gee Gee Greene showed his burst rushing four times for 38 yards. Bo Snelson (2 carries, 7 yds.) and Josh Howell (2 carries 13 yards) provided their normal workman like effort blocking and running.
Navy's rebuilt secondary had a very solid first outing. They limited Delaware starting quarterback Trevor Sasek to just 9 of 19 for 82 and no touchdowns. Backup Tim Donnelly replaced Sasek late and completed 7 of 9 passes for 60 yards but was intercepted by Kwesi Mitchell. Mitchell thrived in his new role as rover with six tackles, 2 passes defended and the aforementioned interception. The rover position seems a better fit for Mitchell since he lacks the deep recovery speed of a top notch cornerback. While he was a solid CB playing 15 yards deep off the line of scrimmage and reacting to the play in front of him from the rover spot seems a better fit. New cornerbacks, David Sperry (5 tackles) and David Wright (4 tackles), had solid first starts at cornerbacks. Wright showed himself to be a sure tackler limiting receivers run after the catch yards. He made an excellent play and sure tackle when Delaware used a halfback pass to the quarterback Sasek. Shawn Lynch had two tackles in his first start. Backup plebe safety Chris Ferguson made four tackles. Tra'ves Bush made three tackles and did a great job fighting off a block to blow up a screen pass for a loss. Navy had no sacks but did generate some pressure especially from Jabaree Tuani. Tuani stopped Delaware's first drive of the second half himself. Tuani hit Sasek as he was throwing forcing an incomplete pass then pressured him forcing him to throw the ball away on third down leading to a punt. Tuani was credited with two pass defenses on the day. Alex Doolittle, making his first start replacing Jared Marks, lost his contain rushing the quarterback which gave Sasek an alley on this 21 yard touchdown scramble. Matt Brewer stripped a Delaware' wide receiver after a catch on a crossing route which was recovered by Mason Graham.

Not to throw cold water on the secondary but they did benefit from the Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran imitation the Blue Hens receivers did in the game dropping numerous passes that killed a number of Blue Hen drives especially early in game. The bottom line is 143 net passing yards to the Blue hens is an outstanding effort.
The Mids allowed 220 rushing yards and the Blue Hens averaged 5.9 yards a carry. All-American Andrew Pierce ran for 119 yards but was generally kept in check. The Blue Hens had some success running to their left behind the three All Americans on their offensive line as the used their spread attack to create running lanes. They found it tougher sledding running to their right where Jabaree Tuani (5 tackles) dominated. Tuani showed his speed running down wide receiver Rob Jones on a rocket sweep from behind preventing a potential long gain. Right end Jamal Dobbs made four tackles in his first career start. Dobbs demonstrated his power and quickness when he burst through the line and dumped Pierce for a loss on a play being run away from him in the first quarter. Inside linebacker Matt Brewer (7 tackles, two forced fumbles) was the most productive of the linebackers that as a unit at times struggled getting off blocks against Delaware's talented offensive line. While that was often the case, the linebacker play was fundamentally sound with fewer missed tackles and a much better job by the Mids linebackers of playing their gap responsibility. Outside linebacker Mason Graham (3 tackles, pass defense on a play when he just missed a sack and a fumble recovery) had the hustle play of the game. Graham, after being knocked to the ground on a running play, managed to scramble to his knees and dove making a shoestring tackle on Pierce preventing a huge gain. The Mids linebackers stopped the Delaware running game from breaking any big plays. The Delaware rush totals were padded by 50 rushing yards on last drive against Navy's backups.
Pablo Beltran boomed his only punt 47 yards into the wind that was fair caught by Delaware's punt returner inside the twenty yard line. It was an impressive boot into a stiff wind. In the second quarter Jon Teague hit a 36 yard field goal before later blasting a 54-yard field goal that would have been good from sixty yards. Teague averaged 65.2 yards on his kickoffs and had two touchbacks. Gary Myers fielded a fair catch cleanly and returned one punt for 16 yards. Marcus Thomas returned two kickoffs for 33 yards. The kicking team line had a break down on an extra point. Sophomore Drew Kinsella missed a block allowing the Blue Hens upback to block an extra point attempt. The missed extra point keeps the special teams grade from being an A.
Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper did a tremendous job in matching up against the Delaware defense. The Blue Hens have had success in the past stacking the box against Navy's running attack. Last season Delaware allowed only 12.1 points per game. When Delaware stacked the middle of the defense Jasper ran counter option and misdirection creating big plays on the perimeter in the run game. Give credit to Jasper for limiting Proctors throws to the passes he can complete with his limited arm strength. Buddy Green's rebuilt secondary looked good and played well. His bend but don't break style of defense forced Delaware to try to drive the field and they made some costly turnovers. Ken Niumatalolo had his team ready to play and it showed in all facets of the game.
Delaware had a 2-2 record against Navy over the last decade coming into the game. They had proven their not the typical opening day FCS scheduling fodder. This is a FCS program with a number of talented former FBS scholarship players on both sides of the ball. Last year Delaware made it to the FCS championship game and on opening day Navy won easily. It was an impressive win.

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