Navy Report Card: Connecticut

Navy defeated Connecticut 28-18 on Saturday in East Hartford. GoMids.com's Jim Lawler grades the Mids performance in several key team areas.

The Navy Midshipmen, (3-0, 2-0 AAC). beat the UConn Huskies (2-2, 0-1 AAC) on the road 28-18 before 33,204 at Rentschler Field. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds rushed for 142 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries and threw for a touchdown. Keenan scored from 10, 4 and 10 yards out to move into a second place tie with Travis Prentice of Miami of Ohio on the NCAA's all-time career list with 73 rushing touchdowns. Navy scored on all three of their possessions in the first half. Reynolds scored on a four yard run with just two seconds left to give the Mids a 21-10 halftime lead. The Midshipmen are 3-0 for the first time since 2006. 

PASSING OFFENSE:  A

Keenan Reynolds completed three of his four passes for 40 yards and a touchdown. Reynolds first pass was in flat to Calvin Cass Jr. who split defenders for a 10-yard gain and to pick up a first down.

Reynolds ended the same series with a bullet 19-yard post pattern in the end zone to Jamir Tillman for a touchdown. Tillman made a great catch going up to get the ball. Reynolds out pattern pass to Tillman in the end zone just before the end of the first half was underthrown.

On the first drive of the second half Dishan Romine lined up in the slot and Reynolds hit him in the flat. Dishan used his speed to pick up 11-yards and the first down.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A

Navy ran for 303 rushing yards, 5.0 yards per carry and scored three touchdowns. Keenan Reynolds ran 28 times for 142 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The Mids scored on three of their first four possessions before just running the clock late. Reynolds did a superb job running the offense against a talented UConn defense.

At B-back Chris Swain (10 att., 58 yards) tweaked his neck in pregame warmups and split more snaps with Quentin Ezell than usual. Swain showed his speed on a 19-yard run off a pitch that set up the second touchdown. Ezell ran nine 9 times for 33 yards. Quentin ran over safety Andrew Adams like he was a bus on one play. DeBrandon Sanders carried 7 times for 35 yards.  Dishan Romine's (3 att, 19 yards) 14-yard run set up the final touchdown. Demond Brown's 10-yard run on third down kept the chains moving on the opening touchdown drive. Toneo Gulley, six yards, and Calvvin Cass Jr. , two yards, each had a carry. 

Adam West played well in place of injured senior EK Binns at guard but his chop block penalty basically ended Navy's second to last drive as Ivin Jasper chose to run the clock.

PASSING DEFENSE: B+

The Mids secondary allowed 19-of-32 passes for 219 passing yards with two touchdowns. The Mids created pressure all day and posted five sacks. Cornerback Brandon Clements played his best game this year. Clements made five tackles, had a tackle for a loss and broke up a pass.

Free safety Lorenzo Barbour (6 tackles, 2 PD) was not fooled by UConn's using a flea flicker on the second play of the game. He was fooled on UConn's slot receiver Tyraiq Beals 39-yard touchdown reception when he failed to provide deep help for striker linebacker Josiah Powell (1 tackle, PD). Quincy Adams (7 tackles, 2 PD) provided solid coverage at cornerback all day. Striker linebacker Kevin McCoy produced three tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, a QBH and forced a fumble in limited snaps. As GoMids.com subscribers know, we said in our I-day report two years that McCoy had a huge upside with the potential to emerge as an impact defender. McCoy can really come off the edge.

Nose guard Berrie Sarra had an active day with four tackles, 1/2 a sack, a quarterback hurry and a key fumble recovery. Ted Colburn earned a start at linebacker. He made two tackles and posted a sack to end a UConn drive at the start of the fourth quarter. Big Michael Raiford teamed with McCoy on a sack.     

RUSHING DEFENSE: A

The Mids did a nice job against the run allowing only 106 rushing yards, a 3.4 average and no scores. Will Anthony (5 tackles, 1/2 Sack) dominated up front. Amos Mason (6 tackles) dropped Newsome on a third-and-two play for no gain to force a punt.

Micah Thomas led the Mids with 10 tackles, two tackles for a loss and recorded a sack. Thomas showed his speed running down Newsome for a 3-yard loss inside the 20-yard line on third down. After the Huskies failed on fourth down, it proved to be a key stop. Daniel Gonzales made six tackles including one bone crushing hit.  

SPECIAL TEAMS: C

Kicker Austin Grebe had no field goal attempts. He had 1 touch back on his five kickoffs. Toneo Gulley had a nice 33 yard kickoff return but fumbled his other try after he was hit. He recovered it. Gulley also dropped the onside kick that UConn recovered. The butterfingers on also special teams saw DeBrandon Sanders lose five yards after he fumbled a punt.  Sanders was lucky that Quincy Adams hustled and fell on it. 

Navy used two punters. Gavin Jerrigan hit one punt 32-yards. Alex Barta continues to do a nice job on directional punts placing both his attempts inside the 20-yard line. Ryan Harris made a great play to save Barta's coffin corner punt and it was downed at the one yard line. Navy did an excellent job on its coverage teams.    

COACHING: A+

Head coach Ken Niumatalolo had his team ready in what could have been a trap game with Air Force on deck. Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper had his unit clicking on all cylinders in the first half. I like how in the second half after some mistakes he kept the ball on the ground and ran the clock. Dale Pehrson’s defense really turned on the pressure with five sacks. It was the most sacks by Navy since 2006.

I like how he switched to a 4-3 front using twin nose guards when UConn started having some success running.

OVERALL GRADE: A

Navy offense was very efficient early against one of the better ranked run defenses in college football. Three first half touchdowns on three possessions put them in the driver’s seat and allowed Navy to turn up the pressure and post five sacks. This is a game Navy could have had a letdown with Air Force on deck but instead they took care of business.


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