Sunday, September 28, 2014

Navy Loses Second Straight at Home

Navy came into this afternoon's game against Western Kentucky looking to avenge last season's 19-7 loss in Bowling Green.  They also wanted to start a new home winning streak that was snapped last week against Rutgers.

To do that, the Mids knew they would have to slow down the Hilltoppers' potent offense. Western Kentucky came into the game averaging 486.3 passing yards per game - good for second in the nation. They were also third in the country in total offense averaging 608.7 yards per game.

To some degree the Mids were able to contain the nation's second best passing offense, holding quarterback Brandon Doughty to 387 yards passing, nearly 100 yards below his season average, and one touchdown.

Navy countered the WKU offense with their daunting running game and racked up 412 yards on the ground, the second time this season the Mids topped 400 yards on the ground. 

The game was a back-and-forth battle for all of three quarters when the Hilltoppers took over. 

On their first drive of the fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers scrapped their way into the end zone with a 1-yard quarterback keep by Brandon Doughty. The drive covered 91-yards on 15 plays and took 6:11 off the game clock. The score gave WKU a 29-21 lead. 

Navy's resolve shone brightly on their next drive when the Mids drove 79 yards on just six plays to find pay dirt. Keenan Reynolds was the workhorse on the drive calling his own number four times and picking up 70 yards on the ground. 

The two-point conversion attempt failed and Navy trailed by two with just 4:31 remaining in the game. 

Navy's defense stood tall and forced Western Kentucky to punt on their next drive. Navy's offense was unable to move the ball and the drive failed when Reynolds was picked off by Wonderful Terry who returned the INT 43 yards for a Hilltopper TD. The pick six set the final score in favor of WKU, 36-27.

Game notes - 

Ryan Williams-Jenkins suffered an apparent neck injury on a kickoff return when he took a brutal hit. It was confirmed later that he suffered a broken cheek bone and not a neck injury.

33,537 were in attendance for this afternoon's game.

Nick Sloan missed a 28-yard field goal with 6:23 in 3rd quarter off left upright. The miss makes the fourth game this season that Sloan has missed a field goal.

Noah Copeland (5-104) and Keenan Reynolds (24-121) finished the game with 100-plus yards each marking the first time since last year’s Indiana game that Navy has had two players rush for 100 yards.

With its fumble at 9:58 in the second quarter, Navy has now lost six fumbles this season which equals last year’s total.  

With a pair of turnovers today (fumble, interception), the Mids have eight total turnovers this season resulting in 34 points scored by the opposition.

Brendon Clements finished the game with a career-high 12 tackles, including 11 solo stops. He also broke up a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter.

The Mids have been outscored in the fourth quarter, 49-23 this season.

Keenan Reynolds fourth quarter interception that was returned for a TD was the first interception returned for a touchdown by a Navy opponent since October 3, 2009.

Western Kentucky finished the game with 551 yards total offense, the most by a Navy opponent since San Jose State turned in 600 yards against the Mids last November in a triple overtime win by Navy.

Western Kentucky QB Brandon Doughty completed 38 of his 54 passes for 387 yards ... it’s the most pass attempts and completions by a Navy opponent since San Jose State’s David Fales completed 42 of his 56 attempts a year ago. The 387 yards passing by the Hilltoppers are the most since San Jose State threw for 440 a year ago.

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