Navy Report Card: Western Kentucky

Navy fell to Western Kentucky 36-27 on Saturday in Annapolis.'s Jim Lawler grades the Mids performance in several key team areas.

Western Kentucky used 552 yards of total offense to defeat the Navy Midshipmen 36-27 at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Mids led at the half and used a seven play, 77-yard drive to open a 21-13 lead on the first possession of the third quarter. Western Kentucky responded by scoring 16 unanswered points and quarterback Brandon Doughty’s 1-yard sneak made it 29-21 with 6:52 to play. The Mids answered as Keenan Reynolds scored from two yards out to make it a 29-27 game late in the fourth quarter. Reynolds two-point conversion attempt was intercepted by cornerback Prince Charles Iworah in the end zone. Navy got the ball back but Reynolds was picked off on fourth down by Wonderul Terry who returned the interception 43-yards for a WKU touchdown. Navy had plenty of chances but turnovers, mistakes and WKU's offense allowed the Hilltoppers to record the upset. Navy's record drops to a disappointing 2-3 on the season.

Keenan Reynolds had a miserable day throwing the ball. It was the worse day of his career and he was out of synch with his receivers all day. It looked like he was channeling Kriss Proctor at his worst. He completed only 3-of-14 passes for 55 yards with an interception. Western Kentucky stacked the box and dared Navy to throw.

Discuss this story with other Navy fans in GoMids forums: LINK.

Also see: Nation thinks Navy would be a 'good choice' Reynolds had opportunities to complete long passes but he was repeatedly off the mark. He badly missed receiver Jamir Tillman (1 rec. for 12 yards) who was open on a deep post pattern that would have been a sure touchdown if he put any air under the ball. Calvin Cass Jr. had a 19-yard reception that set up a touchdown run. Demond Brown caught a 24-yard pass.

Reynolds pulled the Midshipmen within 29-27 with a 2-yard run with but was intercepted attempting the 2-point conversion. Navy got the ball back with 1:36 remaining, but Keenan was picked off on fourth down by Wonderul Terry who returned the interception 43- yards for a touchdown.

This was a game of missed opportunities. At least four times Reynolds failed to complete a pass to an open receiver that would have resulted in a potential touchdown or long reception. Keenan was sacked four times but it wasn't all the offensive line's fault. He often held the ball too long. Tackle Bradlyn Heap had a miserable day attempting to pass block. E.K. Binns struggled to stay on the field before finally leaving late in the game with cramps. Navy was just 2 for 11 on third down and 1 for 3 on fourth down.

Navy ran for 412 rushing yards, 7.9 per carry and 4 touchdowns. Reynolds rushed for 121 and two touchdowns on 21 carries. He lost a costly fumble on the mesh that set up a short field for WKU's first touchdown.

The B-backs found plenty of room with fullback Noah Copeland rushing for 104 yards and a touchdown on just five carries. He broke off a 41-yard touchdown run and a 52-yard run. Chris Swain (6 for 52) had a 28-yard run running over a safety that set up the Mids first touchdown run. Slotback Toneo Gulley (4 for 32, TD ) demonstrated his run skills on his first career 19-yard touchdown run. DeBrandon Sanders (2 for 31) had a nice slashing 19-yard run to set up Gulley's touchdown. Ryan Williams-Jenkins ran twice for 21 yards before he was injured. Calvin Cass Jr. saw a bigger role with two carries for 23 yards. Center Tanner Fleming was hurt in the second quarter and did not return. The Mids running game stalled in the third quarter when WKU made its run to keep this from being an "A" grade.

The Mids secondary did a good job in the first half limiting WKU's passing attack before it was able to get untracked in the second half. Quarterback Brandon Doughty helped Western Kentucky roll up 551 total yards. Doughty completed 38 of 54 passes for 387 yards and two touchdowns. Inside linebacker Daniel Gonzales led Navy with 13 tackles and had a key interception near the goal line to stop a Western Kentucky drive. Cornerbacks Brendon Clements (12 tackles) and Quincy Adams (10 tackles) both had career-highs for tackles. They both did a solid job defending the bubble screens and tackling receivers immediately most of the time. Kwazel Betrand (7 tackles, 2 PD) knocked a ball loose on third down to force a punt. Defensive end Will Anthony (4 tackles) had two quarterback pressures one of which held WKU to a field goal. While WKU moved the ball the Mids made them earn it and held the Hilltoppers nearly 100 passing yards under their season average. They forced a three and out and a punt on the final series to give the Navy offense one final chance.

The Mids allowed WKU 164 rushing yards, 4.8 yards a carry and a touchdown. Tailback Leon Allen ran for 102 rushing yards. Linebacker Chris Johnson (10 tackles) was hurt but returned later to the field. Inside linebacker Jordan Drake had a very quiet five tackles. Obi Uzoma (4 tackles, QH) is the new starting raider linebacker to help the Mids hold up better against the run. The Mids linebackers seemed at times so focused on their pass drops that it left the tailback plenty of running room. Parrish Gaines (3 tackles, PD) dropped Anthony Wales for a three yard loss that helped force a punt.

Kicker Nick Sloan missed a very costly 28-yard chip shot field goal. Punter Pablo Beltran was Navy's best player on field. He averaged 44.8 yards on five punts. Beltran placed three punts inside the 20 and the one that was ruled a touchback actually looked like it was downed at the 1-yard line. Williams-Jenkins returned 3 kickoffs for 66 yards before leaving the game after having his cheekbone fractured on a clean but scary looking hit. Calvin Cass Jr. returned four kickoffs for 77 yards. Parrish Gaines had no return yardage on one punt. Austin Grebe had only one touchbacks on his five kickoffs. Navy did a solid job covering kicks.

Head coach Ken Niumatalolo team has always seemed to bounce back well from losses but they lost a tough one here. Ivin Jasper probably should have run rather than attempting a two point conversion pass considering how Keenan was struggling throwing the ball. I'm just glad Buddy Green is okay and back on the sidelines.

It was the ultimate woulda, coulda and shoulda game. Navy didn't play badly but a few missed blocks, missed tackles, a missed chip shot field goal, a fumble deep in their own end and the inability to connect on at least one big pass play doomed them in a game the Mids should have won.

Discuss this story with other Navy fans in GoMids forums: LINK.

Also see: Nation thinks Navy would be a 'good choice' Top Stories