Navy Report Card: Temple

Navy defeated Temple 31-24 on Saturday to improve to 1-1. GoMids.com's Jim Lawler grades the Mids performance in several key team areas.

The Navy Midshipmen beat Temple 31-24 in a game that was much closer than it should have been due to Navy turnovers. It wasn't decided till the final drive when Chris Johnson covered Brendan McGowan's lateral at the 10 to help the Midshipmen hold on for the victory. Navy out gained Temple 517 yards to 396 yards but three Navy fumbles led to ten Owl points and kept them in the game. Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds handed Temple their first touchdown with a bad pitch decision but he responded with 173 rushing yards and two scores.

PASSING OFFENSE: C+
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds completed 4-of-8 passes for 30 yards. Reynolds threw a few short passes to wide receiver Jamir Tillman to move the chains. Tilman caught three passes for 20 yards. Reynolds threw back-to-back passes at the start of the second quarter. On the initial pass he scrambled and tried to hit Tillman on the move but Jamir couldn't hang on to the pass while falling out of bounds.The following play, on third-and-7, Reynolds hit Noah Copeland with a pass in the flat for a 10-yard gain and a key first down. Copeland made a nice adjustment to the ball which was thrown slightly behind him and it set up the Mids second touchdown.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B+
Navy ran for 487 rushing yards, 7.7 yards per carry and four touchdowns. Keenan Reynolds (21 att. for 173 yards, 2 TD) made a huge mistake on the Mids first play in the shadow of his own goal line when he forced a pitch which was battled down by Temple's Sharif Finch and recovered by him for an Owl's touchdown. Reynolds scored Navy's first touchdown on a 48-yard touchdown run where he demonstrated an excellent burst and some surprising speed in the open field. The following series he had a 56-yard run to set up Navy's second touchdown.

The B-backs had a nice day as they combined for 154 yards. Noah Copeland carried 12 times for 84 yards Chris Swain had 11 attempts for 70 yards but had a fumble deep in Navy territory. He was bailed out as the defense held the Owl's to a field goal. Slotback Geoffrey Whiteside made six carries for 60 yards and a touchdown run. DeBrandon Sanders (4 att., 49 yrds, TD) showed his speed and electric quickness on his 24-yard touchdown run.

Senior Ryan Williams -Jenkins had seven carries for 43 yards. Demond Brown had a quiet game with just one carry for four yards. Tago Smith (1 att., 4 yards) replaced Reynolds at quarterback after he hurt his knee on the final Navy drive. The Navy offensive line played very well. The most important news is that Reynolds knee is fine and he will play next week. The three fumbles were the only thing that kept this grade from being an A+.

PASSING DEFENSE: B+
The Mids secondary held P.J. Walker to 29-of-49 (59.2%) for 240 passing yards with two touchdowns passes while picking him off once. Parrish Gaines (1 tackle) made a tremendous interception in the end zone as he bailed out cornerback Quincy Adams who was beat deep on a post pattern. Adams had a busy day with nine tackles and three pass breakups. He "allowed" a touchdown reception to the Owl's Romond Deloatch with just seconds before the end of the first half. Deloatch made a leaping grab through the back of the end zone and initially was ruled out of bounds. The replay official overturned the out of bounds call that was made on the field. It wasn't conclusive and I still don't believe Deloatch had the ball in bounds and dragged his foot but it counted as a Temple touchdown.

Navy cornerback Brandon Clements (5 tackles) couldn't get off a block on a screen pass that ended up as a 13-yard touchdown reception for Jalen Fitzpatrick but played well the rest of the way. Safety Kwazel Bertrand (3 tackles) kept everything in front of him unlike last week against Ohio State. Paul Quessenberry (4 tackles) knocked down a pass attempt.

RUSHING DEFENSE: A
The Mids allowed Temple 156 rushing yards, 4.6 yards a carry and held them to no rushing touchdowns. Seventy one of those yards came off scrambles by Temple quarterback P J Walker. James Britton led the Mids with twelve tackles. Obi Uzoma (8 tackles, TFL) saw a lot of playing time. Chris Johnson (7 tackles, TFL, FR) recovered Brendan McGowan's lateral at the ten yard line to end the game. Johnson always sees to be in the right place at the right time. Inside linebacker Jordan Drake (5 tackles, PD) had a rather quiet game. Nose guard Bernie Sarra (4 tackles) did an excellent job holding the point of attack. He stuffed Walker on fourth-and-1 for no gain after a Ryan Williams fumble deep in Navy territory. The Navy defense did an excellent considering some poor field position the three fumbles by the offense caused them. Inside linebacker Daniel Gonzalez (3 tackles) was ejected in his first start for spearing when it looked like it was Temple's QB P.J. Walker who led with his head. Gonzalez hit him more with his hands than his helmet. It led to the comical image of Gonzalez on the turf being ejected for spearing with the replay official supporting the bad call.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Navy kicker Nick Sloan hit one of two field goal attempts for the second straight game. Sloan's 43-yard miss on the final drive which would have iced the game nearly proved costly. He hit his first try from 29-yards out. Punter Pablo Beltran made only one punt and it traveled 42-yards. Demond Brown returned four kickoffs for just 69 yards and didn't have much room. DeBrandon Sanders returned two punts for only three yards. Navy did a great job on kick coverage with Lorentez Barbour making the hit of the day.

COACHING: B
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo must have been frustrated by the three turnovers. This game should not have been this close. I was surprised that Niumatalolo chose to kick the field goal instead of attempting it on Fourth-and-1 at the Temple 26 on the final drive. I understand the reasoning for making it a two possession game but I would have gone for it. Ivan Jasper's charges on offense put up 517 yards of total offense. Buddy Green's defense did an excellent job limiting the Owl's scoring after three Navy turnovers gave Temple a short field each time.

OVERALL GRADE: B+
This should have been a Navy blowout win if it wasn't because of the three turnovers. The offense clicked but because of the turnovers and some questionable replay calls the Mids needed the defense to make a stand on the final series to preserve the win.

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