Navy looks strong in opener

The opener of the one-year Kriss Proctor Era at Annapolis in the books as a win, Navy moves on to the first of two straight road games with a visit to Western Kentucky Saturday night.

The Midshipmen then move on to nationally ranked South Carolina, making this week's game, against a weaker opponent, more than a bit of a trap game.

Western Kentucky, the newest team in the FBS, gave a game effort in losing to Kentucky, 14-3, in Nashville in Week 1.

It would be easy for the Mids to have their minds on South Carolina. But this is an important game for Navy, its young defense and new starting quarterback to keep building on what happened in the 40-17 win over FCS Delaware.

It all starts with Proctor, who ran for 176 yards and three touchdowns and also threw his first career TD pass in the opening win.

"That was Kriss Proctor," said Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo. "We've seen it for the last 3 1/2 years. The kid is a talented player. We know that.

"I thought he did some great things, but Kriss would be the first to tell you there are some things he can get better at."

He now faces a defense that was stingy in its loss to Kentucky, the WKU defense yielding just 191 yards of total offense, 80 of those coming on a late drive.

On the other side of the ball, the Mids have to deal with running back Bobby Rainey, who had his sixth straight 100-yard rushing game in the opening loss. Navy, with seven first-time starters on defense, gave up 363 yards of total offense to Delaware, but still emerged with a passing grade in the eyes of the coaches.

Navy unveiled seven new starters on defense and the first team yielded just 10 points before the replacements were sent in.

"Hopefully, this win will give us confidence, but now we've got to forget about this game. As a team, we've got to move on," Niumatalolo said.


--Navy was pretty much mistake-free in its opening 40-17 victory over FCS Delaware. The Mids were guilty of one turnover and went the entire game without a penalty, the second time that's happened since 2003.

"You've got to do that for us to have a chance," said coach Ken Niumatalolo. "We can't turn the ball over, we can't beat ourselves. That's always been our M.O. It's hard enough to beat people, much less if you're beating yourselves."

The only turnover was a heave down field that was picked off at the Delaware 10 and in many ways took the place of a punt.

--The Mids apparently threw some new wrinkles into their attack in the opening win, Delaware coach K.C. Keller saying, "Navy did some things that we hadn't seen in any of our video, and we had to make some adjustments on the run and then made some more at halftime. I thought Navy did a really good job in terms of tweaking some of the things they do offensively to really affect how we play."

--Navy is seeking its ninth straight bowl game, which this year would mean a berth in the Military Bowl in Washington D.C.

SERIES HISTORY: Navy leads Western Kentucky, 1-0 (only meeting, 2009, 38-22, Navy).

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Ricky Dobbs is gone but Kriss Proctor showed what most people expected him to show in Game 1: that there's not a huge dropoff and he actually does some things better than Dobbs. He's become a true leader and now goes against a defense that surrendered just 190 yards, 80 of them on a late drive, in its opening 14-3 loss to Kentucky in Nashville. Proctor has 377 yards on the ground in his last two starts.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Mids did allow 363 yards of total offense in the opening victory. But when you consider Navy had seven new starters on defense, and Delaware is a potent FCS team that scored 10 of its points against the No. 1 defense, the number doesn't look so bad. "We didn't know what we had coming in," said Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo. "We had some question marks and we were playing against a really good football team, and I thought our guys responded." Now, the defense will have to deal with Western Kentucky running back Bobby Rainey, who has a string of six straight 100-yard rushing games and is usually a handful, even on a losing team. As far as Delaware, defensive coordinator Buddy Green said, "We knew they were one of the better offenses we'll see all year. They gained some yards and made some plays, but I was proud of the way our guys played."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think the 22 guys on the field might be the most disciplined team in the country, and we proved that today. We're usually [near] the top of the nation in [fewest] penalties, and that speaks volumes of the coaching staff and what they emphasize and the discipline of the guys on the field." -- QB Kriss Proctor after Navy's penalty-free win over Delaware.


THIS WEEK'S GAME: Navy at Western Kentucky, Sept. 10 -- The Midshipmen defeated FCS Delaware last week and now visit one of the poorer teams in the world of FBS, at least on paper. WKU gave Kentucky a battle in Week 1, falling, 14-3, in Nashville. The Midshipmen will come into the game as two-touchdown favorites.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The idea at this time of year is for Navy, which has plenty of youth, to try to keep getting better. They say your biggest jump is between Games 1 and 2 and if that's true for this year's Navy team, the Mids should be that much closer to being able to win at South Carolina in Week 3.


QB Kriss Proctor -- His first game as the full-time replacement for Ricky Dobbs saw Proctor run for 176 yards and three touchdowns and also pass for another score. It also saw him further established as the leader of this offense. "Kriss is a great leader. He has a presence about him in the huddle," said fullback Alexander Teich. "Kriss said let's put 40 on the board today, and that's exactly what we did. His performance today was outstanding." Proctor ran 75 yards for a touchdown on the game's third play and the rout was on.

DE Jabaree Tuani -- As one of two true veterans on the defense, his numbers in the opener weren't all that eye-catching as he was in on five tackles and also broke up a pair of passes. But he was a disruptive force in helping disarm what's supposed to be a potent Delaware offense.

FB Alexander Teich -- It's no secret how important the fullback is in running the option and Teich is as good as it gets. He ran for 65 yards on 14 carries in the opener and look for his workload to increase as the competition gets better.

K Jon Teague -- He went to his coach and told him he could hit from 55 yards and in, Ken Niumatalolo gave him a shot and he hit from a Navy-record 54 yards.


--Senior rover Kwesi Mitchell had an interception and a pair of pass breakups in the opening victory over Delaware.

--Freshman P Pablo Beltran wasn't called on to do much in his first college game, punting just once for 47 yards.

--Beltran was one of five freshmen to play in the game. Linebacker Jordan Drake played on kickoff coverage unit, Joe Cardona was the long snapper for punts while nose guard Ike McElrath and safety Chris Ferguson both got in for the final defensive series.

--NG Jared Marks was suspended for the opener for violation of team rules and will return for Game 2. "Jared would be the first guy to tell you he's disappointed with what he did, said coach Ken Niumatalolo. "He paid his punishment, it's over with and we're going to move forward. He suffered the consequences for his decision. To miss a game as a senior is a huge, huge penalty."

Alex Doolittle started for the Mids.

--DE Jamel Dobbs played well in his first start, making four tackles, one for loss, and creating disruption. "Jamel did get some pressure. He got a hurry, he got some penetration a few times," said coordinator Buddy Green.

--QB Kriss Proctor was named FBS Independent Co-Offensive Player of the Week, while kicker Jon Teague took the new award's first special teams honor. Top Stories