Report Card: Navy vs. Air Force

After falling behind 21-3 and being badly outplayed in the first half, the Navy Midshipmen battled back from an 18 point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime. The Mids comeback fell short as quarterback Kriss Proctor drew an unsportsmanlike like penalty that forced a long extra point attempt which was block.

Air Force responded with quarterback Tim Jefferson one yard touchdown run on their first possession in overtime. Kicker Parker Herrington added the conversion to give Air Force the win and the first leg of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. Navy's record drops to 2-2.




Air Force


I never thought I would see a day when Kriss Proctor would attempt 24 passes in a game. Ricky Dobbs, a far more accomplished passer, attempted more passes than Proctor did against Air Force just once in his career (vs Duke in 2010). Navy didn't have a lot of choices as Air Force limited their running attack.

Proctor completed 14 of his 24 attempts for 132 yards throwing one touchdown and one interception. While a number of Proctor's passes either fluttered or sailed, he was fairly effective. Gee Gee Greene (5 catches, 32 yards, 1TD) demonstrated tremendous concentration and great hands as he made a terrific touchdown catch while falling down in the end zone with 19 seconds left in the game. Brandon Turner (2 catches for 37 yards) had a 26-yard reception that helped set up Navy's first touchdown to start the rally. Casey Bolena (2 catches, 24 yards) had the best game of his career making a nice diving catch 17-yard catch on a low throw. Matt Aiken (1 catch, 15 yards) almost made a leaping touchdown catch in the first quarter that was knocked away on a great play by AF linebacker Jordan Waiwaiole. Proctor was sacked once and was often under pressure when attempting to pass. Kriss‘ interception occurred when threw late over the middle towards Greene when trying to set up a field goal with 1:29 left in the first half.
Once again, Air Force was able to take away the Mids slotbacks and force the game between the tackles. Navy slotbacks carried only two times for 20 yards. For the game the Mids churned out a hard fought 334 yards, averaged 4.2 yards a carry and scored three touchdowns. Navy's best running play seemed to be quarterback Kriss Proctor dropping back attempting to pass then scrambling for yardage. Proctor ran 37 times for 134 yards and scored three touchdowns. Proctor struggled at times with his reads and the Falcons used the mesh charge and pitched to shut down the Mids most of the first half. Proctor made a tremendous 27-yard scramble to set up Navy's final touchdown in regulation.

Alexander Teich ran 35 times and grinded out a tough 149 yards. His longest run was just 15 yards. Despite missing a number of defensive starters the Falcons controlled the perimeter and were more physical at the point of attack. The Falcons were able to shed Navy's blocks very effectively.
After holding up well so far this year the Mid secondary had it worse pass defense game this season against an option team. Falcons quarterback Tim Jefferson completed 9 of his 10 throws for 136 yards and a touchdown. Kwesi Mitchell (4 tackles) badly missed a tackle on the fourth play of the game allowing Ty MacArthur to score a 52-yard touchdown. Cornerbacks David Wright (4 tackles) and David Sperry (4 tackles) who had both played well this year struggled balancing their pass coverage responsibilities with run support against an option team. David Wright's coverage was way too soft on the Falcons first pass play in overtime. Jefferson completed an 18-yard pass to Kauth down to the six-yard-line. The next play Wright committed pass interference which put the ball at the 2-yard-line and set up Jefferson's touchdown run that provided the victory.
The Mids allowed Air Force to run 41 times for 223 yards, averaging 5.4 yards a carry and scored four touchdowns. The Falcons dominated the Mids at the point of attack in the first half and always seemed to be running downfield. Brye French matched the Falcons intensity as he posted six tackles including one for a loss. Matt Warrick and Matt Brewer both recorded five tackles but were guilty of over running plays and missing tackles. Jabaree Tuani made four tackles and had a key fumble recovery.
There were some good plays but in the end there were far too many mistakes. Jon Teague hit from 25 and 37 yards but his chip shot miss from 26 yards after a 74-yard drive late in the first half was a killer. Teague was able to generate a terrific bounce on his onside kick. Navy does a tremendous job covering onside kicks. After Kriss Proctor unsportsmanlike like conduct penalty turned Teague's overtime extra point attempt in a 35 yard attempt, his low kick never had a chance and was blocked by Air Force at the line of scrimmage. Punter Pablo Beltran had an excellent game averaging 37 yards per punt and placing two punts inside the 20 yard line. Beltran had one touchback on a perfect punt the Mids failed to down inside the 5-yard-line. Punt returner Gary Myers cost the Mids when he didn't drop deep enough and Air Force punter David Baska 65-yard punt sailed over his head costing the Mids valuable field position. Myers redeemed himself later with a 32-yard punt return that set up a touchdown. Marcus Thomas only returned three kickoffs 51 yards.
Ken Niumatalolo and his staff were out coached in the first half. The Mids seemed back on their heels as Air Force dominated early. The staff rebounded in the second half with some adjustments. Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper tightened up the formation and moved the wide receivers tight to the offensive line. It was similar to the adjustment Navy made against Notre Dame in 2007. It worked well and the offense was able to grind their way back into the game. Buddy Greene's defense had great difficulty stopping the Falcon's running game and was unable to cover their receivers. Ken Niumatalolo managed the clock well at the end of the game. He kicked the field goal before attempting the onside kick. I'm always surprised how many coaches try to score the touchdown first as if the sequence matters when their team trails by 10 or 11 points.
This was a very bitter loss after a great comeback. The Mids get an ‘A' for desire and competitiveness battling back from 21-3 but they were outhit, outplayed and out coached. With Air Force missing so many defensive starters I expected a much better effort from the offense.

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