Navy Report Card: Colgate

Navy defeated Colgate 48-10 on Saturday in Annapolis. GoMids.com's Jim Lawler grades the Mids performance in several key team areas.

The Navy Midshipmen easily defeated the FCS Colgate Raiders 48-10 in their 2015 opener. The Mids overcame a sluggish first quarter to roll up 438 yards of offense. Navy pounded Colgate with the fullback dive all game. B-back Chris Swain had a holding penalty then fumbled on the opening series which set up a Colgate field goal. Swain rebounded the rest of the way with a career best 128 yards with one touchdown on 11 carries before tweaking his ankle. The Navy fullbacks combined for 186 yards and four touchdowns against Colgate. Keenan Reynolds had a quiet game at quarterback but ran for a touchdown. Reynolds now trails Montee Ball by 12 for most rushing touchdowns all-time in NCAA history. Navy has won all seven games against Colgate.

PASSING OFFENSE: C+
Keenan Reynolds completed 3-of-6 passes for 67 yards on the day. Reynolds made a nice throw on his first attempt to Dishan Romine for a first down but it was called back on a Chris Swain holding penalty. Jamir Tillman caught all three passes for 67 yards. His first one was a 18-yard screen pass where he broke a tackle and produced a first down. Swain dropped a third down pass near the goal line and the Mids had to settle for a field goal. The following series Reynolds was victimized by another dropped pass by new wide receiver Chad Lewellyn. Reynolds made a beautiful throw and catch with Tillman for a 44-yard gain to set up the touchdown that made it 31-3. Reynolds only throw that was off target was a deep pass to DeBrandon Sanders he overthrew. Reynolds was sacked once when right tackle Blake Copeland was beat. Reynolds deserved a better grade but the Mids not named Jamir Tillman need to catch the ball.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A
Navy used the fullback dive all day to produce 371 rushing yards, a 7.9 per carry average and five touchdowns. Senior fullback Chris Swain had a career-best 128 yards with one touchdown on 11 carries before leaving the game early after twisting his ankle. Swain had a holding penalty and lost a fumble on the opening series before the Swain Train rolled to a 52-yard touchdown run on the next series.

His backup Quentin Ezell ran six times for 44 yards and two scores. Ezell scored on touchdown runs of 18 and 12-yards. Third string fullback Shawn White ran four times for 22 yards including a six yard touchdown run where he literally ran over Colgate defenders. The fullbacks combined for 186 yards and four touchdowns.

Colgate was determined to stop Reynolds using the old wishbone defense but it opened up the other skill position players. Keenan ran for just 21 rushing yards on 11 carries but did score. DeBrandon Sanders ran three times for 66 yards including ripping off a 46-yard run to set up Reynolds touchdown run. Slotback Dishane Romine (3 att., 25 yards) needs to just turn up the field and be more decisive when he has the ball. Toneo Gulley had a 21-yard run. Josh Walker had a 15-yard run on his first career carry. Tago Smith played late in the game at quarterback running five times for 23 yards. Smith missed a number of his pitch keys.

PASSING DEFENSE: A
The Mids secondary allowed the Colgate passing game to complete 14-of-26 passed for 127 yards and a score despite Quincy Adams missing the game and Brandon Clements missing the first half. Elijah Merchant (6 tackles, PD) impressed in his first start. I thought he was the best defensive back at NAPS in 2013 as I mentioned in the 2014 meet the new Mids I-day report. He understands the game and demonstrated an excellent burst to the ball to break up a pass. Direct admit plebe Sean Williams earned the other surprise start at cornerback in place of Clements and had four tackles and broke up a pass as well. Williams looked good in his first college game.

Rover Kwazel Bertrand (3 tackles) and free safety Lorentez Barbour (2 tackles) weren't challenged. Colgate's only touchdown pass was by tight end John Quazza over back-up safety Daiquan Thomasson. Thomasson (2 tackles) was a player who really impressed me at NAPS in 2013 but has yet to develop into the player I thought he would be at Navy. Inside linebacker Daniel Gonzalez made five tackles and broke up a pass to force a punt. Cornerback Brandon Clements made a tackle after he entered the game in the second half.

RUSHING DEFENSE: A
The Mids defense allowed 198 rushing yards, an average of 4.1 yards per carry and they didn't allow a rushing touchdown. New inside linebacker Micah Thomas led the Mids with seven tackles. He made a nice tackle in space to stop Jake Melville short of the goal line on the opening series and force a field goal. Will Anthony had five tackles and knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage. His fourth down stop at midfield ended any chance Colgate had of getting back in the game. Nose guard Bernie Sarra (4 tackles) controlled the middle. Amos Mason had five tackles and knocked down a pass in his first start at defensive end. It was nice to see junior Josiah Powell (4 tackles, TFL) play well at striker linebacker in his first start. I remember seeing Powell dominate in game for NAPS against Dean in 2012 before he broke his ankle in the second half. It was good to see him make it all the way back and start his first game since that day. Backup Striker linebacker Kevin McCoy ( 5 tackles, FR, TD) was handled a gift fumble and returned it 54-yards for a touchdown. Kevin McCoy was probably the most talented all round athlete on the NAPS defense in 2013.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A
Navy kicker Austin Grebe hit his only attempt from 27 yards. Grebe had three touch backs in nine kickoffs. In the punter challenge both Alex Bart and Gavin Jernigan. Jernigan hit the ball well. Bart hit an absolute 72- yard bomb in his only attempt. Jernigan had a 42-yard effort. Backup kicker Nick Sloan hit a 38-yard field goal in the final minute. Brandon Sanders had a nice game returning three punts for 38 yards. Calvin Cass Jr. returned a punt 12 yards and a kickoff return 23 yards. Desmond Brown had a rough game bobbling both his kick return attempts he returned for 30 yards. Navy's coverage units allowed just 17.8 yards per kickoff return.

COACHING: A+
Head coach Ken Catalonia and his staff had the team ready to go despite a sluggish first quarter which was really due to the struggles of Chris Swain before he got rolling. Ivan Jasper had a good game taking apart the Colgate standard vanilla wishbone defensive sets. New defensive coordinator Dale Pearson's linebackers, which had only one returning starter, played well and as I mentioned in the preseason preview showed the recruiting depth they have accumulated.

OVERALL GRADE: A
This is how a match up against an FCS Patriot League team should look. Navy took care of business and rolled to the victory. They played well on both sides of the ball and gave plenty of backups a chance to get on the field.

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