Three Keys Revisited Navy vs Ohio State

The upset minded Mids just made too many mistakes to overcome the difference in talent in a 34-17 loss to the Buckeyes. Anyone who watched the game will understand that this score line flatters Ohio State and that if a few breaks had gone in a different direction then Navy could be sitting at 1-0 on the season right now.

As it is though the Mids can take many positives from this game and attack the rest of the schedule thinking they have an even money chance in every remaining game. Here is a look back at the three keys.

1) Pressure J.T. Barrett - Pass

For about 45 minutes the Mids played this game perfectly on defense. They took advantage of a retooled Ohio State offensive line, getting in the backfield on both running and passing downs and just blowing up everything the Buckeyes tried to do. Barrett never looked comfortable in the pocket and his escapability, speed, and elusiveness are nowhere near the level of the injured Braxton Miller. A Navy defense which had 11 sacks throughout all of 2013 looked dominant in the first half and must be a huge positive coming out of this for the Mids.

2) Keenan Reynolds needs a Heisman level game – Fail

It is not that Reynolds played badly, he just didn’t have any of those long runs which were probably needed for the Mids to win the game. His line of 23 carries for 42 yards at 1.8 per pop look terrible, but that really isn’t any indication of how he played or how the game went. Reynolds was able to hit seams which against lesser teams he would turn into huge gains, but his role as a distributor was much more important against the Buckeyes.

You could see from the very start the Urban Meyer’s mandate was basically not to let Reynolds take over the game. The Buckeyes were keying in on the Navy quarterback even more than you usually do with an option runner and seemed prepared to let Reynolds pitch the ball and try to make their defensive stops to the outside. The result was that many of the slot backs put up big averages and went for big plays, while Reynolds numbers look pedestrian. Probably the biggest issue Reynolds had though was not trusting his fullbacks early enough. Ohio State was over playing him so much that the up the middle run could have been used much more effectively than it was. This was probably the biggest disappointment of the game for Mids fans.

3) Win the turnover battle – Fail

The official game book has the turnover battle tied at one a piece. This though doesn’t really tell the whole story. The Ohio State fumble recovery for a touchdown was obviously a huge play in the context of the game and gave the Buckeyes an instant score. Navy actually came back from this pretty well, but when you factor in the missed Nick Sloan field goal, which is essentially a turnover itself, then the Mids go from tying this particular battle to losing it. For Navy to have won they probably needed to be +2 or more in the turnover column. Unfortunately on this day that wasn’t to be the case. Top Stories