Report Card: Navy vs. Southern Miss

The Southern Miss Golden Eagles routed the Navy Midshipmen 63-35 on Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. The Mids fell behind 35-7 in the first half as the Golden Eagles' physical defense stifled a number of drives. Navy rallied for 28-second half points but lost its third consecutive game for the first time under head coach Ken Niumatalolo.

The Navy defense was dominated by a Golden Eagles offense that ran up 584 yards of total offense. It was the most points allowed by Navy since a 65-19 home loss to Phillip Rivers' North Carolina State team in 2002. With the loss Navy's record drops to 2-3.




Southern Miss


Kriss Proctor completed 5 of his 10 pass attempts for 102 yards throwing two touchdowns and no interceptions. WR Brandon Turner had a 43-yard touchdown reception to open the second half on a nice well timed throw by Proctor. Gee Gee Greene was uncovered when he caught a 27-yard touchdown pass. Matt Aiken made a 20-yard catch. Backup quarterback Trey Miller completed both of his pass attempts including a 37-yard completion to Mike Stukel.
Navy put up 421 rushing yards, averaged 6.9 yards a carry and scored 3 touchdowns against one of the best rushing defenses in the country. The stats look better than they were. In the first half Navy was stoned three times at the goal line and stopped on a few key series in the second quarter as the Golden Eagles pulled away. Quarterback Kriss Proctor ran 17 times for 123 yards but was kept out of the end zone. Proctor played well but missed a few reads especially early in the game. Delvin Diggs did a solid job filling in for suspended Alexander Teich at B-back. Diggs ran 17 times for 96 yards and scored two touchdowns. John Howell (7 rushes, 66 yards 1 TD) continues to show a nice burst of speed hitting the holes. Mike Stukel (56 yards) had the longest run (41yards) of his Navy career. Greene (20 yards) had a rather quiet game running the ball. Matt Aiken had a 35-yard run on a reverse and was sent flying on the tackle. The Mids did move the ball. The problem was the first two series they drove the length of the field and not only came away with no points but had a field goal attempt blocked and returned for a touchdown putting them in the hole.
The Midshipmen secondary was a disaster for the second week in a row. The Golden Eagles quarterback Austin Davis completed 21 of 23 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns. The last two weeks Navy has allowed 91% of the passes thrown against them to be completed. On their first offensive series Southern Miss was in a third-and-7 situation from their own 4-yard-line. Davis hit Ryan Balentine for a 77-yard pass. Free safety Shaun Lynch (1 tackle) was responsible for the deep middle and let Balentine run right by him. That should never happen in Buddy Green's bend but don't break scheme. Tra'ves Bush (10 tackles) failed to cover tight end Ryan Hanks, who he lined up over, on a five yard touchdown pass. Plebe Chris Ferguson (3 tackles, 1 pass def.) replaced Lynch at free safety. Chris made a nice diving pass deflection on the opening series of the third quarter to force a punt. Cornerback David Wright (1 tackle) left the game with an ankle injury. CB David Sperry (10 tackles) never turned to look at the ball while covering Jarbo on an option touchdown pass from Pierce.
The Mids allowed Southern Miss to run 50 times for 283 yards, averaging 5.7 yards a carry and score four touchdowns. The Golden Eagles dominated the Mids at the point of attack the entire game. Navy was overpowered up front and stuck on blocks all game. The Mids seemed lost anytime that quarterback Davis kept the ball on the freeze option. Southern Miss had their top two running backs out of action entering the game but Jeremy Hester looked great in their place. He nearly faked Rover Kwesi Mitchell (4 tackles) out of his shoes on one 17-yard gain. Matt Warrick made 11 tackles but many were five yards downfield. This was one of the few games where Jabaree Tuani (3 tackles) was outplayed upfront. Wes Henderson (3 tackles, 1 fumble rec.) made a fumble recovery. Max Blue missed a key third down tackle in the flat.
Jon Teague's blocked field goal attempt on the first drive of the game was returned for a touchdown by Southern Miss. Teague is still kicking the ball far too low and the line is allowing penetration. Teague's onside kick attempt, unlike last week against AF, was a poor effort. Navy received a break when Lampley's long punt return was called back. Punter Pablo Beltran had an excellent game averaging 47.7 yards per punt. He nailed a 55-yard punt. Marcus Thomas made a nice tackle on a Lampley punt return. Navy's kickoff coverage was a disaster allowing an average of 33.2 yards on five kickoff returns. Marcus Thomas did little with his kickoff returns.
Ken Niumatalolo's team was dominated up front defensively. There was nothing wrong with offensive coordinator's Ivin Jasper play calling early. It was just Southern Miss's talented defense stopped the Mids a number of times in the first half when they needed to. Buddy Greene's defensive philosophy is tough to watch in action at times. The Mids seem to play the same look against all spread offenses. If a team can pass and catch the Mids can't seem to defend them.
The defense has been a huge disappointment the last two weeks. Southern Miss is a very good team. As Ken Niumatalolo stated, "Sometimes you've got to give credit to the other team. You can't just say your guys played bad. Sometimes, the other team is just better." That was true this game but Navy needs to find some answers on defense.

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