Three Keys Revisited – Navy vs Colgate

As a number of schools found out over the weekend taking on an FCS opponent to start the season can be fraught with risk. Kansas lost to South Dakota State in epic fashion. Portland State (which isn’t even a state!) beat Washington State.

Army was stunned by a game (and talented) Fordham squad. With all that being said the Mids came out roaring against Colgate and never looked troubled on route to a 48-10 victory. Let’s have a look back at the three keys and see just what Navy did right to avoid being on that upset ledger:

1) The play of the right side of the line - Pass

Any questions about the play of the right side of the Mids offensive line were put to bed in the second quarter of the game on Saturday. The Mids second touchdown of the game was set up by a 46-yard scamper by slot back DeBrandon Sanders who got loose while sweeping around to the right side of the field. Navy’s third and fourth touchdowns were both full back runs to the center/guard gap on the right side of the line. The Quentin Ezell 18-yard score was especially pleasing as the fullback ran through a giant hole with pulling linemen getting up field in front of him to make blocks. All in all this was a dominant performance from the offense.

2) Tempo tempo tempo - Pass

The most noticeable tempo play of the game was the Mids second touchdown scored by Keenan Reynolds on a quarterback sneak. As soon as Sanders had his 46-yard run, the offense went into tempo mode and ran a number of plays off quickly, not allowing the Colgate defense to make situational substitutions. The amount of time between the play before the sneak and the sneak itself was notably quicker than when Navy has run this play in the past. Expect to see more of this type of adjusting tempo as the season progresses.

3) Make Jake Melville one dimensional - Pass

If Melville is going to be the 2,000 yard passing/1,000 yard rushing guy that the Raiders expect, then he will have to improve on his performance in week one. Navy was able to take away Melville’s legs, holding the dual-threat to just 29 yards on 11 carries at an average of 2.6 yards per carry. Key to this was the play of the linebackers, a unit which featured three new starters. Inside linebackers Daniel Gonzales and Micah Thomas totaled 12 tackles between them and never let the dangerous Melville pick up big yards on designed runs or scrambles. If Navy continues to play with this level of defensive discipline then they will be very hard to beat this year.

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