The Navy Midshipmen (2-0) rolled over East Carolina (1-2) by a 45-21 score in their first American Athletic Conference league game. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds ran for five touchdowns and 142 yards. Reynolds has scored 70 career rushing touchdowns and is just seven away from the all-time NCAA rushing record. Navy scored on every possession in the first half to take a 28-14 lead. In the second half the Pirates cut the lead to 35-21 but Navy responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by Keenan Reynolds’ fifth touchdown run to make it 42-14. Navy improves to 2-0 and is 1-0 in league play.
PASSING OFFENSE: B
Keenan Reynolds completed 4-of-7 passes for 41 yards. Jamir Tillman caught two short passes for 11 yards in the first half that kept two touchdown drives moving. DeBrandon Sanders made a nice catch on a beautiful 23-yard throw through a small window by Reynolds. Shawn White had a seven yard catch that was short of a first down when he was knocked out of bounds. Reynolds overthrew Craig Scott on an out route with his first pass attempt.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A+
Navy rushed for 415 yards, scored 6 touchdowns and averaged 5.5 per carry. Keenan Reynolds had a huge game with 24 carries for 142 rushing yards and five touchdowns. ECU had held seven of its previous 15 opponents to less than 100 rushing yards but once again had no answers for the Navy running game. Navy has averaged 53 points per game in their last four games against ECU. In his first league game his five rushing touchdowns set the American Athletic Conference record.
The fullback dive worked all game as Chris Swain pounded his way to 123 yards and a score on a career high 29 carries. Quentin Ezell (9 att., 45 yards) provided quality play when he spelled Swain. Dishan Romine showed his explosive speed on four runs for 45 yards. He had two nice runs on the opening drive to set up the first touchdown. DeBrandon Sanders ripped off a 20-yard run. Toneo Gulley (2 att., 24 yards) had a key 14-yard run in the first half on a 3rd -and- 8 play to keep an eventual touchdown drive alive.
PASSING DEFENSE: B
Pirates quarterback Blake Kemp completed 36-of-49 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns. The Mids sacked him twice and intercepted a pass. Defensive end Will Anthony (5 tackles, 1/1/2 TF, sack, PD, FR) made two huge plays on consecutive series in the third quarter when Navy was up two scores. Will stuffed Kemp on a fourth and 1 QB sneak to turn the ball back to the offense on downs. The next series Anthony recovered a fumble on the Pirates' 17-yard line on a sack by Amos Mason (2 tackles, sack, FF).Will Anthony also had a sack to force a long missed field goal.
Kwazel Betrand (5 tackles, PD) saved a much longer gain when he tackled Jones after a 36-yard pass completion. Brandon Clements (5 tackles) had a rough game near the goal line as he was twice outleaped and beat for two touchdown passes. Rover Lorentz Barbour posted seven tackles but was beat on a post pattern for a touchdown by ECU's big tight end Bryce Williams. Tyler Goble (5 tackles, INT) replaced Daniel Gonzalz who was kicked out of the game for targeting. Goble's interception set up Austin Grebe's 25-yard field goal.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A
Dale Pehrson's defense was rock solid at the point of attack and made ECU one dimensional. ECU ran for only 80 net yards on 21 carries and no scores. Inside linebacker Micah Thomas led the Mids with eight tackles. Daniel Gonzalez (7 tackles, 11/2 TFL) was playing well until his ejection for targeting. Josiah Powell made four tackles and broke up a pass. Outside linebacker D.J. Palmore had two tackles and a QB pressure.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B+
Alex Barta’s only punt was a nice 42-yard directional effort at the one yard line that hit the pylon and ended up a touchback. Barta deserved better. Austin Grebe hit his only attempt from 25-yards. On kickoffs, Grebe had four touchbacks on eight kickoffs with one being out of bounds. The Mids allowed a rare long kickoff return of 34 yards. Grebe had to make two tackles. Dishan Romine flashed his speed on a 37-yard kickoff return.
Ken Niumatalolo's team was ready to easily beat a solid team. Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper had everything clicking and called a great game. Over the last four games against ECU his offense has averaged 53 points per game. Defensive coordinator Dale Pherson does a nice job of dialing up more pressure more than Buddy Green did in the past. Navy produced two sacks and a quarterback hurry.
OVERALL GRADE: A
Navy shined in their American Athletic Conference debut with Keenan Reynolds setting the conference's all-time single game touchdown rushing record in his first game.
Navy Report Card: East Carolina
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