Three Keys Revisited Navy at South Alabama

It was not particularly pretty, and it was certainly nerve wracking, but when all the dust had settled Navy left Mobile with the victory and a Poinsettia Bowl bid secured on Saturday afternoon. The Mids looked to have the game well in hand when they were up 15 with just over five and a half minutes to play.

However, a furious South Alabama rally, capped with a couple of two point conversions ruled out by penalties, saw that this sixth win of the season was a hard fought one. Here is a look back at the three keys.

1) Win the turnover battle – Fail

After stressing coming into the game that South Alabama was a fumble recovering machine it was no surprise that this trend continued on Saturday. One week on from collecting four fumble recoveries against South Carolina, the Jaguars were at it again as they dove, scooped, and fell on three balls which Navy put on the ground. All lost fumbles are game changes, but the final fumble by Geoffrey Whiteside with just over four and a half minutes left in the game was especially ill timed. Once again Ken Niumatalolo will not be at all pleased with Navy’s ball security.

On the positive side though the Mids did come up with a couple of interceptions at the most crucial times. The first interception by safety George Jamison came when the Mids were down 17-7 and the Jaguars were driving into Navy territory. Three plays after the interception Keenan Reynolds did what Keenan Reynolds does and scampered 67 yards to make it a field goal game. The second pick of course secured the victory as the Jaguars two point conversion attempt was a floated pass from Brandon Bridge which was corralled by the Navy defense.

This all goes to show that sometimes when takeaways occur is just as important as how many you get given the flow of a certain game.

2) Run the ball downhill – Pass

If you win a football game while scoring more than forty points and in the process only complete one pass then the running game is probably going to be working pretty well. That was certainly true for Navy on Saturday.

As a team the Mids rushed 54 times for 388 yards and six touchdowns. Keenan Reynolds was again the engine which made the ground game so effective, as he personally rushed for 119 yards and three scores while averaging 11.9 yards per tote. The three touchdowns saw Reynolds set a new NCAA record with 12 games of three or more rushing touchdowns in his career and his 61 rushing touchdowns are the most in NCAA by a quarterback.

Reynolds certainly had help on Saturday though as no less than ten other players logged at least one carry against the Jaguars. Ironically though the run game was humming along, there were two times in the first half where the Mids turned the ball over on downs while trying to covert rushing the ball.

3) Take away one aspect of the South Alabama offense – Fail

A strange one this as the Mids held the Jaguars to just 19 completions and 172 passing yards, but Brandon Bridge still threw for four touchdowns. On the flip side a team which averaged just 178 yards rushing coming into the game rumbled for 238 yards, but only scored one touchdown on the ground. It was as if Navy took away the passing game other than the scores, but allowed the rushing game to pile up the yardage without the end product.

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