Three Keys Revisited – Navy at Connecticut

This conference life thing is going about as well as Mids fans dreamed about in the preseason as Navy moved to 4-0 on the year and 2-0 in the AAC with a win over UConn on Saturday.

The win puts the Mids atop the early season standings in the conference and gives Navy a great platform from which to push off from after a two week conference break, starting with this Saturday’s clash with Air Force.

1) Run the ball effectively - Pass

The UConn defense came into this clash boasting some pretty impressive stats against the run. That is until Navy rolled into town and used the combination of Keenan Reynolds and the monster fullbacks to put up 303 yards on the ground at 5-yards per carry. The key in this game was the ability of Reynolds to put Navy into position to convert on third downs. The Mids converted three third-and-1s and three third-and-4s among their 67-percent third down conversion rate. Reynolds was peerless once again, rushing for three more touchdowns to give him 73 for his career. Reynolds is now just four touchdowns behind Montee Ball who ran for 77 in his career.

2) Secure a key turnover - Push

Navy did pick up one turnover on the Huskies last drive of the game, but by that point it was over as a contest. The push comes because the Mids defense held strong on the second UConn drive when the Huskies turned the ball over on downs after deciding to pass up a 31-yard field goal attempt which would have made the score 7-6. Navy was actually pretty lucky on the play as quarterback Bryant Shirreffs missed wide-open receiver Max DeLorenzo on the play.

3) Win the time of possession battle - Pass

Navy won the possession battle, holding the ball for 32:44 of the game compared to 27:16 for UConn. It was the Navy running game which posed the problems for the Huskies, with every Navy drive including at least ten plays with five of them lasting for more than five minutes. The best stat of the day for the Navy run game, and thus the Mids ability to hold onto the ball for large chunks of time, is that the top two tacklers on the day for UConn were their safeties. Senior Andrew Adams had a monstrous 17 tackles, while junior safety Obi Melifonwu had 12. This means the Mids were constantly getting to the second level of the defense wearing down the Huskies.


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