The #20 Navy Midshipmen (8-1, ACC 6-0) rolled over SMU Mustangs (1-9, ACC 0-6) 55-14 in an American Athletic Conference game on Senior Day. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds scored four rushing touchdowns to boost his career total to 81 in his last home game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Reynolds broke the rushing mark held by Montee Ball who ran for 77 touchdowns with Wisconsin from 2009-12. Reynolds broke the record with a four yard touchdown run on the opening series. Reynolds rushed for 137 yards and threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to help Navy earn its fourth straight win. The 20th ranked Mids are off to their best start since 1963. The Midshipmen remained tied with Houston atop the AAC's West Division.
PASSING OFFENSE: D
Keenan Reynolds completed 2-of-9 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown as the SMU defense stacked against the run. Reynolds first pass to an open Tyler Carmona was thrown over the wrong shoulder and fell incomplete. On the second drive he badly overthrew a wide open Craig Scott when all he had to do was put some air under the ball for a touchdown. Keenan's first completion was on a check down off a scramble to DeBrandon Sanders on third down for nine yards to move the chains. The third time was the charm for Reynolds throwing to wide open receivers as he hit Jamir Tillman for a 72-yard touchdown pass. Reynolds last pass of the first half he threw away when he was flushed from the pocket. Reynolds badly overthrew a wide open DeBrandon Sanders on the first drive of the second half when his pass sailed over Sanders head. On the next play the ball was knocked away from Tillman on a slant. Reynolds last pass was a perfectly throw post pattern to a wide open Craig Scott who dropped the ball. Tago Smith threw a pick but it was called back by an SMU penalty. The offensive line allowed no sacks.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A+
Navy ran for 403 rushing yards, a 6.2 average and seven rushing touchdowns. Keenan Reynolds ran 14 times for 137 yards and four scores. He scored from 4, 43, 8 and 32- yards out. After Keenan took the day off Tago Smith had four carries for 22 yards and a score. He made a flying leap into the end zone on his touchdown run. Navy B-back Chris Swain ran 16 times for 73 yards. He converted two third down and a fourth down on the first series. Fullback Quentin Ezell had seven carries for 33 yards. Shawn White saw time late and carried 5 times for 27 yards.
Slotback Calvin Cass, Jr. broke a tackle for a four yard gain on fourth down to keep the opening possession of the second half alive. Senior slotback Demond Brown (6 att., 54 yds., TD) showed his speed on the edge on a nineteen yard touchdown run on Senior Day. DeBrandon Sanders had four carries for 27 yards. He had two key third down runs to set up the second Navy touchdown.
Some of the younger Mids lower on the depth chart saw time. Josh Walker had eight yard touchdown run. I remember Walker at NAPS when he took a handoff 60 yards down the right sideline to set up the opening touchdown in the blowout victory over Army prep. Walker has above average speed, quick feet and good hands. Fullback Chris High is a lot bigger than I remember at NAPS. He has added nearly fifty pounds. He had two carries for 13 yards. Will Huntsman, son of Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah and a onetime Republican presidential candidate, had his first career carry for five yards. The blocking by the Navy offensive line, slotbacks and receivers was outstanding.
PASSING DEFENSE: A+
Navy allowed SMU to complete just 9 of 24 passes for only 124 passing yards with a touchdown. The Mids picked off two passes. Free safety Lorentez Barbour lit up a receiver on one play. He made three tackles and forced a fumble. The Mids cornerbacks shut down the Mustangs receivers most of the day. Cornerback Quincy Adams had two tackles and broke up a pass. Brandon Clements allowed the only touchdown when he was outleaped in the end zone. He played very well in coverage the rest of the game.
Defensive end Amos Mason led the Mids with six tackles, a sack and a pass defensed. Brandon Jones teamed with D.J. Palmore on a sack. Palmore earlier forced a punt after a third down QB hurry. Rover Daiquan Thomasson (2 tackle, INT) made his first career interception and returned it 22 yards. It was nice to see Don Pearson, who was one of the most highly recruited players on the team, pick off a pass late on Senior Day. Pearson has struggled with injuries during his career and never developed as expected.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A
The Mids allowed the Mustangs 144 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. Bernie Sarra anchored the defensive line with four tackles. Tyler Goble had a huge hit at the goal line. Striker Justin Powell had two tackles and a quarterback hurry to force a field goal attempt. Will Anthony has two tackles and blocked a field goal. Mike linebacker Micah Thomas had two tackles helped stuffed the run. Mike Kelly started in place of injured Daniel Gonzalez.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D
Kicker Austin Grebe missed an extra point. It was just the second miss of his career. Senior Nick Sloan handled one extra point. Punter Alex Barta shanked his only punt attempt which travelled just 24 yards. DeBrandon Sanders had a 10 yard punt return. Dishane Romine had an 22-yard kickoff return. The Mids kick coverage team allowed Deion Sanders Jr. 31.6 yards per return. He has inherited some of his NFL's father's speed. Sanders nearly broke at least two kick returns the distance. Will Anthony blocked a field goal. At least the somewhat shaky special teams performance happened during a blowout win.
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo did a masterful job of having his team ready to play coming off the biggest non-service academy victory win since Notre Dame. Sure the Mids are always pumped up on Senior day but Navy were ready to play in a big way. Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper had everything working as the Mids put up 484 yards of offense and scored eight touchdowns.
Defensive coordinator Dale Pehrson's unit was outstanding. SMU's offense was clicking entering the game averaging 35.5 points per game the last two weeks. They put up 40 points last week against Temple yet the Mids simply shut them down.
OVERALL GRADE: A+
The Mids took care of business and dominated an overmatched team. It was the perfect Senior Day with the great Keenan Reynolds scoring four times and throwing a touchdown pass while setting the all-time touchdown mark in his last game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The blowout win allowed a number of seniors to get a chance to play as the bench was cleared. It was a perfect day and Navy looked like a top twenty team.