Navy Report Card: Air Force

Navy defeated Air Force 28-21 in overtime on Saturday. GoMids.com's D.T. Yates grades the Mids' performance in every critical team area.



Passing Offense: B+

Trey Miller had an excellent game on the ground but did not attempt a pass until the second half.  The junior quarterback connected on passes to three different Midshipmen receivers, including an 11-yard completion to junior receiver Matt Aiken in the fourth quarter.  The catch was Aiken's first of the season and led to a 41-yard Nick Sloan field goal to pull Navy within one point.

With Miller injured, freshman Keenan Reynolds entered and completed three consecutive passes to quickly march the Mids 55 yards to the Air Force 30 yard line.

Slotback Gee Gee Greene made his 30th consecutive start and caught a 35-yard pass from Reynolds to move the Mids into Falcon territory, trailing by 8 in the fourth quarter.  Two plays later Casey Bolena hauled in a pass that brought the Mids inside the Air Force 20-yard line.

Navy quarterbacks did all that was asked of them, completing 6 for 6 passes for 74 yards passing.  The hero of the night was Reynolds who came in with the Mids trailing by eight points. He went a perfect 3 for 3 for 55 yards passing, and ran for a score to tie it in the fourth quarter.

 

Rushing Offense: A

From the get-go it was a battle of the run game as both teams stuck to the ground with less than 20 pass attempts between Navy and Air Force combined.

The Mids got a solid effort from Trey Miller and fullback Noah Copeland and finished the day with 293 yards on 54 rushing attempts.

Copeland was second on the team with 84 yards rushing on 21 carries and punished Air Force defenders on a 5-yard touchdown run that gave the Mids a 10-7 lead.

Miller rushed for a team high 110 yards and was not tackled for a loss in 18 rushing attempts.

Copeland was second on the team with 84 yards rushing on 21 carries.

Keenan Reynolds darted through four different Air Force defenders for a 15-yard score to pull Navy within two points.  Noah Copeland found his way into the end zone on the two point conversion attempt to tie the game.

In overtime, Keenan fumbled the ball on the 1-yard line and got a lucky bounce forward which was recovered by Jake Zuzek in the end zone for a Navy touchdown.

 

Passing Defense: B-

Air Force struck first when Tra'ves Bush got sucked in on a fake pitch, Falcon quarterback Connor Dietz hit Drew Coleman on a 35-yard touchdown pass on their opening drive.

The entire Navy defense got beat when Air Force receiver Dontae Strickland took a pitch from Dietz.  Strickland pulled up and found receiver Drew Coleman wide open for a 54-yard touchdown that put the Falcons up 21-13.

Tra'ves Bush led the Navy defensive effort with 12 tackles and a fumble recovery.

Wes Henderson batted down Dietz's last attempt in overtime to secure the Navy win--the senior defensive end ended the day with 6 tackles.

Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz finished 8 for 12 for 90 yards passing and a touchdown.  Drew Coleman led the Falcons with 4 catches for 106 yards receiving and two scores.

 

Rushing Defense: C-

It looked like it might be an ugly day to start when Air Force reeled off a pair of 9-yard runs a 22-yard scamper by Cody Getz on their opening drive.  The Midshipmen created turnovers on defense on 3 consecutive Air Force drives in the second quarter.

Getz struck again late in the third quarter when he broke a pair of Navy defender on a 21-yard scoring run.

Cody Getz led the Falcons with 204 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown.  Air Force racked up 363 yards in 64 rushing attempts.

Matt Warrick was huge force for the Mids with 11 tackles, with 2 tackles for a loss.  Late in the fourth quarter Warrick hit Cody Getz in the backfield for a 1-yard loss that set up fourth-and-6.

Junior linebacker Cody Peterson posted a career high 10 tackles and forced the fumble that led to a Navy touchdown.

At nose guard, junior Barry Dabney doubled his career high with 6 tackles on the day.

Falcon quarterback Connor Dietz ran 10 times for 52 rushing yards but was limited to two first downs with his legs.

 

Special Teams: D

With the game tied late in the fourth quarter, a Pablo Beltran punt went just 31 yards to give the Falcons great excellent field position with just over 32 seconds left.

True freshman Nick Sloan was a perfect 2 for 2, hitting field goals of 39 and 41 yards.

The Navy kickoff team gave up big returns to Air Force return man Anthony Lacoste but both resulted in Falcon turnovers off fumbles.

The Mids did not return a punt and the long kick return of the night for Marcus Thomas was for 19 yards.

 

Coaching: B+

With less than two minutes remaining head coach Ken Niumatalolo decided to plug away at the run and Air Force used two time outs to get the ball back with 32 seconds remaining.  A short punt and two quick gains for the Falcons later and Air Force was a 51-yard field goal away from winning the game.  Fortunately the kick sailed wide left and the Mids prevailed in overtime.

Coach has to be pleased with the Mids not turning the ball over for the first time this season.

The other bright spot for the Mids was Keenan Reynolds, who came off the bench to lead Navy to its first fourth quarter come from behind victory of the season.

In post-game comments, coach Niumatalolo said that Miller was ready to return.

"We just went back and forth, and we weren't really sure what we were going to do because Trey (Miller) came back."  Niumatalolo continued, "It was more of a gut feeling. The kid (Reynolds) played well."

Reynolds certainly played confidently and helped to energize the Navy offense just when it needed it most.

 

Overall: B+

Air Force out-gained the Mids 507 to 359 in total yards of offense.   Trey Miller did not fumble for the first time all season long.
Navy had no turnovers and scored 3 touchdowns and a field goal in their four red zone trips and held Air Force scoreless in three red zone trips.

Air Force place kicker Parker Herrington missed a 27-yard chip shot at the end of the first quarter another 51-yard attempt that forced overtime.

Navy's offense has still yet to find the end zone in the first quarter this season.  The Mids only first quarter points came off a field goal against VMI.

The Mids were able to turn three Air Force turnovers into 7 points for the Midshipmen.

The winner of the Navy-Air Force game has gone on to win the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy 15 straight years.

Next week Navy takes a trip to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to play the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-3, 0-2 MAC)


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