Navy Report Card: Rutgers

Navy fell to Rutgers 31-24 on Saturday in Annapolis. GoMids.com's Jim Lawler grades the Mids performance in several key team areas.

The Navy Midshipmen were beat at their own game as the Rutgers Scarlet Knights out rushed them 284 to 171 yards. Rutgers jumped out to a 24-14 halftime lead. Navy pulled within a touchdown and quarterback Keenan Reynolds’ desperate fourth down heave was out of the end zone as Rutgers held on for a 31-24 victory. Navy's record drops to 2-2 on the season.

PASSING OFFENSE: B
Keenan Reynolds was forced to throw more than usual with Rutgers limiting the Mids running attack. Reynolds completed 12-of-22 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown. Reynolds hit Jamir Tillman for 53 yards on the second play of the third quarter which set up a 35-yard field goal by Nick Sloan. Tillman had a career day with five receptions for 88 yards. After Reynolds was sacked for the first time for a seven yard loss, he hit Geoffrey Whiteside for 14-yards to set up the Sloan field goal.

Wide receiver Brandon Dudeck had three receptions for 45-yards and caught a touchdown pass for the second week in a row. Reynolds had missed an open Thomas Wilson and Geoffrey Whiteside the previous two plays with poorly thrown passes before the 14-yard touchdown pass completion to Dudeck that moved Navy within a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Fullback Noah Copeland's 39-yard reception set up the Mids final score. Reynolds 17-yard pass to Ryan Williams-Jenkins on third-and-12 kept Navy’s second touchdown drive going. It was a very nice throw and catch in a very tight window. Reynolds threw a bullet seam route to Calvin Cass Jr. for 17-yards and a key first down. Plebe Brandon Colon struggled to hold on to the ball on a few throws. Reynolds final pass was just out of the end zone.

Keenan was sacked four times and under pressure all day. The Navy offensive line just isn't built to pass block a front seven that can rush the passer like Rutgers. Three of the sacks came on the final series where Rutgers just pinned their ears back.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C
Navy ran for just 171 rushing yards, 4.0 per carry and 2 touchdowns.

The Scarlet Knights have now held Navy below it rushing average the last six times they played. The Mids were led by Geoffrey Whiteside with 51 yards on six carries. Whiteside’s 19-yard run following Rutgers’ Paul James fumble was initially ruled a touchdown. It was correctly reversed and Keenan Reynolds (19 att. for 25 yards, 2 TDs) scored the first of his two touchdowns. Senior Ryan Williams-Jenkins ran for 27 yards on four carries. The B-backs- Noah Copeland (6 for 19), Chris Swain (4 for 28) and Quinton Singleton (2 for 15)- found it difficult to break many long runs against the RU defense. Toneo Gulley (2 for 6) showed nice leg strength on a hard inside run where he made the first down.

PASSING DEFENSE: D
The Mids’ secondary struggled in pass coverage and run support. RU's Gary Nova completed 11-of-14 passes for 151 yards. RU's offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen didn't ask Nova to do much since his plan was to run the ball straight at Navy.

Brandon Clements (6 tackles) made a nice tackle for a loss on a bubble screen and Quincy Adams (7 tackles, FR) stopped Desmond Peoples short of a first down to force a punt. One can usually tell it’s a rough game for the run defense when a safety (Kwazel Bertrand) led the team in tackles with ten. Bertrand saved a touchdown with a shoe string tackle. Bertrand is still learning how to play safety and not bite so hard on play action. The Mids’ front had no sacks and created little pressure.

RUSHING DEFENSE: D
The Mids allowed Rutgers 284 rushing yards, 16 rushing first downs, a 5.1 yards a carry and four touchdowns. Navy's front seven was stuck on RU's blocks all game long.

Jordan Drake (9 tackles) forced a Paul James fumble on the opening drive to set up the Mid first score. Inside linebacker Daniel Gonzalez (7 tackles) had a busy afternoon after Jimmy Britton (3 tackles) went down with a broken foot.

Only the three-and-out forced near the end of the game kept this from being a failing grade. Parrish Gaines (4 tackles) stopped Justin Good win to force a punt and give the Mids a chance to tie.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Kicker Nick Sloan hit one of two field goal attempts. Punter Pablo Beltran blasted one punt 62 yards. He averaged 46.6 yards on three punts. Williams-Jenkins returned a kickoff for 30 yards. Austin Grebe did a nice job with touchbacks on his five kickoffs. Navy did a solid job covering all other kicks.

COACHING: B
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo team usually manages to find a way around in these games where his team often looks ready to be blown out. It was a nice effort. Ivin Jasper probably should have run it from the 6-yard-line rather than attempting four straight passes on the last series. Buddy Green was able to get his unit to make one late defensive stand.

OVERALL GRADE: B
It was a gutsy performance and effort by Navy. Rutgers did a great job defending the option. Still the Mid's stayed in the game and battled till the end against a good team.

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