Navy Report Card: Toledo

Navy fell to Toledo 45-44 on Saturday in two overtimes. GoMids.com's Jim Lawler grades Navy's performance in several key team areas.

Navy fell to Toledo 45-44 on Saturday in two overtimes. GoMids.com's Jim Lawler grades Navy's performance in several key team areas. The Navy Midshipmen lost a 45-44 double overtime heart breaker on the road to the Toledo Rockets. Navy took a 14-10 lead into halftime as the Navy defense held the high powered Rockets to just three points. The shootout everyone was expecting occurred in the second half as the Rockets ran for three touchdowns to take a 31-21 lead. Down ten point in the fourth quarter, the Mids put together a 96-yard drive that was capped off by Reynolds' 3-yard touchdown run to pull within three. Navy forced a punt and Nick Sloan hit a 43-yard field goal to tie the score at 31. The teams traded touchdowns in overtime. Kicker Nick Sloan missed the extra point after Geoffrey Whiteside 6-yard touchdown run. Toledo scored and kicked the extra point on their possession for the one point victory. The loss drops Navy to 3-3.

PASSING OFFENSE: C-
Keenan Reynolds completed 5 of 12 passes for 95 passing yards with one touchdown. Keenan was under constant pressure when he attempted to pass. He was sacked five times although at least one was an option play. Keenan had a short completion on the opening touchdown drive. The next series he hit a wide open Ryan Williams-Jenkins in the flat who dropped the ball when a Toledo player dashed in front of him. He had a chance to score if he held the ball. Reynolds was sacked for a six yard loss on the next fourth down play. Darius Staten had a nice 21-yard reception on the following drive. Reynolds hit DeBrandon Sanders (2 rec. for 23 yards) for 19 yards to set up a touchdown pass to Noah Copeland for 20-yards which gave the Mids a 14-10 lead. Reynolds failed to connect on two consecutive passes with Marcus Thomas on the two minute drill before the end of the first half. Navy's offensive line had one particularly brutal series trying to pass protect. Former quarterback turned wide receiver Brendan Dudeck was dropped attempting an option pass on first down. Reynolds was tackled on an option play for a loss, then sacked as Navy was forced to punt on 4th-and-24. Reynolds final completion of the day was a 31 yard pass to Demond Brown to set up a touchdown when Navy was down ten. Brown made a terrific adjustment to catch the ball. Sanders drew a pass interference penalty to set up a short touchdown run by Reynolds which narrowed the lead to 31-28. On the field goal tying drive Reynolds missed Shawn Lynch when he overthrew him in the end zone under pressure. Toledo produced three quarterback hurries in addition to the five sacks. The Navy rebuilt offensive line had troubled with the Rockets blitzing.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A
Navy ran for 419 rushing yards, a 4.5 average and scored five rushing touchdowns. The Toledo defense focused on Keenan Reynolds as he ran 29 times for only 37 yards but he still scored three touchdowns. Obviously Reynolds rushing totals were impacted by the five sacks. Reynolds had a costly fumble when he lost the ball on a mesh handoff. Toledo defensive end Jayrone Elliott picked up the ball and raced 68 yards for a touchdown. Elliott swatted tiny slotback DeBrandon Sanders (9 atts., 51 yards) away like he was an annoying little brother when he tried to make the tackle. Give Keenan credit for his toughness since he was sick and actually threw up a few times during the game. Keenan did a solid job in his reads even if he was late with a few pitches. Navy's fullbacks Noah Copeland (153 yards) and Chris Swain (62 yards, 1 TD) combined for 215 yards on 41 carries. Toledo unlike most teams did not try to take the fullback away. Copeland had the best game of his career as he often broke tackles with second effort and read the holes well. Marcus Thomas (6 atts., 79 yards) had a big 32 -yard run which set up a Reynolds touchdown. Geoffrey Whiteside (5 atts., 27 yards, TD) scored on a 9-yard touchdown to give Navy a 44-38 lead. Navy offensive line did a good job run blocking as the Mids ran for their second highest total this season.

PASSING DEFENSE: B
Toledo quarterback Terrance Owens completed 11 of 20 passes for only 105 yards and a touchdown with an interception. Rover Wave Ryder (4 tackles, INT) intercepted a pass but struggled in run support. Ryder was beat by Bernard Reedy for a 20-yard touchdown pass in overtime. Cornerback Parrish Gaines (4 tackles, pass def) knocked down a pass on third down to force a punt before the game tying drive. Kwazel Bertrand (5 tackles) did a good job in coverage but struggled tackling the Toledo running backs in the open field. Navy dropped into coverage and Owens had trouble connecting with receivers. Defense end Will Anthony made 6 tackles and played his best game.

RUSHING DEFENSE: F
The Mids allowed 321 rushing yards, 7.0 yards a carry and four rushing touchdown to the Rockets. Cody Peterson (12 tackles) knocked Toledo running back David Fluellen out of the game. Chris Johnson (10 tackles, TFL) demonstrated his sideline to sideline range. D.J. Sargenti (6 tackles, QBH) missed David Fluellen when he shot the gap and saw him rip off a 44-yard touchdown run. Jordan Drake made 9 tackles. Safety Lonnie Richardson (3 tackles) struggled as he replacing Chris Ferguson who was out with an injury. Lonnie took a terrible angle on Kareem Hunt 's 52-yard touchdown run. The defensive backs had a miserable day attempting to make tackles in the open field.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D
Kicker Nick Sloan missed a 38-yard field goal in the first half that hooked left. Sloan hit a clutch 40-yard field goal to force overtime. Sloan went from hero to goat when he missed an extra point after Whiteside score to give Navy a 44-38 lead in the second overtime. Sloan had hooked his field goals to the left and seemed to overcompensate as he pushed the extra point wide right. Punter Pablo Beltran averaged 37.0 yards on his three punts as he placed two inside the twenty yard line. Punt returner Shawn Lynch had one return for five yards. Marcus Thomas returned three kickoffs 75 yards including one 30 yards which he nearly broke. Demond Brown had a 28-yard kickoff return. Navy's coverage teams did an excellent job covering kicks and keeping explosive returner Bernard Reedy. This grade should be better but Sloan's missed extra point and field goal were killers.

COACHING: B
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo had the team ready to compete and play. Niumatalolo's clock management on the end of both halves was questionable. The Mids ran only one play with 28 seconds left in regulation before Sloan's game tying field goal. Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper had his running game rolling. The hurry-up look on offense worked well on short yardage plays. The Mids rebuilt offensive line continues to struggle mightily in pass protection. Buddy Green's defense did a great job in the first half allowing just three points. They had Owens confused most of the day with their coverages. Poor tackling, not the game plan, cost the Mids this game even more than the kicking struggles.

OVERALL GRADE: C+
The Mids battled from ten points down with six minutes to force overtime. I'm stunned that Navy lost a game where they had 35 first downs. Navy's 106 plays set a school record and they produced 514 yards. The defense allowed the high powered Rockets just three points in the first half. Yet it came down to a missed extra point. This was a very frustrating loss.

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