Three Keys Revisited Navy vs. GSU

Navy moves to 5-5 on the season, and one win away from bowl eligibility, with a blowout win over the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles had their seven game winning streak ended abruptly in Annapolis as the Mids hit their stride in all phases of the game after halftime to run away with the contest 52-19. Here is a look back at the three keys.

1) Out rush the Eagles - Pass

While the college football world was collectively exploding over the 408 yards Melvin Gordon rushed for against Nebraska, Keenan Reynolds was putting on a show of his own in the North East. The Navy quarterback rushed for a career high 277 yards and six touchdowns, moving him to ninth place in NCAA history with 58 touchdowns in his Midshipmen career. Reynolds was simply unstoppable on Saturday, making all the right reads in scoring on runs from 1, 22, 1, 27, 15, and 39 yards. His effort was a large part of the 394 yards rushing which the Mids were able to use to dominate the game.

Navy needed all of those yards on the ground as Georgia Southern was able to get their ground game going too, albeit picking up a number of their bigger plays when the game was already out of reach. Running back Matt Breida was the biggest accumulator of garbage time yards, rushing for 211 of his team’s 375 yards by the end of the game. That meant another little piece of history was accomplished as it was only the seventh time in NCAA history that two players had rushed for over 200 yards in the same game.

2) Win the time of possession – Fail (Slightly)

This is a fail, but it is a fail by 54 seconds. The Mids held the ball for 29:06 while the Eagles controlled the clock for the other 30:54, so basically it was a wash. One of the best aspects of this game for the Mids was their ability to stop Georgia Southern from scoring, even when the Eagles were putting long drives together. It is hard to beat a ball control team like Navy where there are three turnovers, a couple of short field punts, and a missed field goal.

3) No more turnovers - Pass

No interceptions thrown. No fumbles recovered by the Eagles. No missed kicks.

That set of facts is going to be music to the ears of head coach Ken Niumatalolo who has been frustrated, highly frustrated, by the mistake prone football his Mids have played this fall. When you add in a 100 percent fourth down conversion rate, ZERO penalties, and only one incompletion from Keenan Reynolds, then you have a day at the office where Navy are going to be almost impossible to beat. This is the kind of efficiency which Niumatalolo has been looking for all year, it will be interesting to see if the Mids can continue this level of play in their final two games.

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