Report Card: Navy vs. Rutgers

Rutgers defeated the Navy Midshipmen 21-20 in handing the Mids their fourth consecutive loss. It was another bitter defeat for Navy as Rutgers defensive back Brandon Jones blocked Jon Teague's 34-yard field goal attempt late in the game to preserve the victory Navy entered the game with the nation's top rushing...

...offense, but was held to a season-low 162 yards on the ground by Rutgers' fast and physical defense. Navy's receivers dropped some key passes and the Scarlet Knights limited the Mids to 305 total yards.






Kriss Proctor completed 5-of-12 passes for 106 yards and threw two interceptions. The windy conditions in New Jersey made it difficult for Proctor who lacks a strong arm.

Proctor first pass attempt fluttered and was picked off ending Navy's opening drive. Proctor completed a 40-yard pass with the wind to slotback John Howell. Mike Stukel dropped a potential touchdown pass, on a low throw he should have caught, in the end zone and Navy had to settle for a field goal. Proctor hit wide receiver Brandon Turner (1 rec., 20 yards) on a crossing pattern early in the third quarter but the ball bounced off his chest and was batted around before being picked off by Rutgers defensive back Patrick Kivlehan. Fullback Alexander Teich took a handoff and then threw an option pass back to Proctor for a 37-yard gain. Kriss' best throw of the day was a nice across his body throw on the run for a 27-yard gain to Gee Gee Greene for a first down on third down and 15 yards. Matt Aiken caught two passes for 19 yards. Navy's offensive line struggled to protect Proctor as he was sacked four times and usually under pressure when he attempted to throw the ball.
The Mids struggled to block Rutgers' talented physical defensive front. They produced a season low 162 yards rushing, well below the Mids 366 yards per game average entering the contest. Kriss Proctor missed a number of option reads. Proctor (15 car., 39 net yards 1 TD) did show terrific speed in breaking a 54-yard run late in the first half for a touchdown. B-back Alexander Teich carried 18 times for 69 yards. Slotbacks Gee Gee Greene (8 car., 29 yards), Mike Stukel (3 car., 20 yards) and Bo Snelson (2 car., 5 yards) didn't find much running room on the outside. Navy's offensive line was outplayed up front. Navy has struggled in the red zone the last two games. Proctor was stopped on 4th and goal from the two yard line. Navy has scored points on just five of its last 10 red zone opportunities.
Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova entered the game completing just 47.1% of his passes. Against the Mids he finished 23 for 31 for a career best 271 yards and threw two touchdowns. Navy did intercept him twice. Plebe free safety Chris Ferguson (4 tackles, one Interception, one forced fumble) played a terrific game in his first start. Ferguson intercepted a pass tipped by Warrick and scored on a 16-yard interception return. Inside linebacker Caleb King (6 tackles) interception and return set up the field goal attempt that was blocked. Navy often blitzed Nova but was unable to generate any real pressure on the freshman quarterback. The Mids should have had another interception on the opening series when a pass tipped off Matt Warrick's hands into the arms of Sanu. Cornerback David Sperry (4 tackles) was lucky when he left receiver Mark Harrison wide open and Nova overthrew him on 4th-and-4 from the Mids 32 for what would have been a sure touchdown. Tra'ves Bush played Rover and made six tackles but gave up a touchdown pass to Pratt when he was caught looking into the backfield. Kwesi Mitchell (5 tackles) was moved to cornerback replacing the injured David Wright.
Rutgers entered the game averaging just 2.1 yards a carry but running back Jawan Jamison rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown. The Mid linebackers continue to over-run plays and miss tackles. Warick led Navy with 12 tackles. Chris Ferguson forced a fumble near the goal line to end Rutgers' second drive. Alex Doolittle (2 tackles) replaced an injured Jared Marks at nose tackle. Jarred Shannon (8 tackles) was active but struggles at the point of attack.
Kicker Jon Teague hit his first two field goal attempts but Brandon Jones blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt that would have given Navy the lead. Jones came off the corner unblocked against the Mids tight field goal team formation which allowed him to get the edge. Punter Pablo Beltran (2 punts, 36.5 avg.) had one punt knocked down by the wind then hit a 50-yard punt and struggled punting most of the night. Teague hit two touchbacks on his five kickoffs but hit one out of bounds. Kick coverage allowed an average of 21.5 per return. Darius Staten replaced both the kickoff and punt returners. Staten returned a punt for four yards. Staten returned two kickoff returns for 27 yards.
Ken Niumatalolo had his team battle against a good team off a blowout loss against Southern Miss. Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper used fullback option pass for a big game. I thought the series after King's interception was too conservative. Navy's red zone headaches continue. I know he was trying to bunch the formation to maximize the blocking but I prefer if he'll give Proctor a slotback as a pitch option. Buddy Green had his defense play sound but they are still too soft in coverage and created no pressure. While Rutgers is a very good defensive team it is limited on offense and Navy has to play better defense.
The Mids rebounded from the blowout against Southern Miss but they once again played just well enough to lose. The Mids have lost three games by a total of five points.

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