Saturday, September 20, 2014

Navy Suffers a Home Loss to Rutgers

The Navy defense struggled to contain the Rutgers running game all afternoon, making just one unassisted tackle by the defensive line in the first half. The Scarlet Knights outgained the Mids on the ground 284 yards to 171 yards, yet Navy still had a chance to win the game late in fourth quarter against their Big Ten opponent.

Navy trailed the Knights 31-17 going into the fourth quarter, but the never-say-die Midshipmen left it all on the field during the final 15 minutes and nearly came away with the big win at home on a warm, sunny afternoon.

After dodging a Rutgers bullet when the Knights missed a 42-yard field goal on a drive that took over seven minuets off the clock, the Mids were poised for a comeback in front of a rowdy crowd of 33,655.

Navy's normally dominant rushing offense gave way to the arm of junior quarterback, Keenan Reynolds.  Reynolds completed four passes on six attempts, including a 14-yard TD completion to Brendan Dudek.  Nick Sloan's PAT cut the Rutgers lead to seven, 31-24,

Navy's defense came up big on the ensuing drive forcing Rutgers to punt after three running plays couldn't pick up a first down.

The Scarlet Knights' punt traveled 40 yards and went out of bounds at the Navy 26 yard line with 3:12 remaining in the game.

Keenan Reynolds
Noah Copeland started the drive with a carry of five yards followed by a Geoffrey Whiteside 11-yard carry.  Reynolds then called his own number on the next two plays gaining 11 and seven yards and moving the Navy offense to the Rutgers 47. On the next play Reynolds was sacked, but the Scarlet Knights were called for a personal foul and the ball was placed on the Rutgers 25 yard line.

The Rutgers defense again got to Reynolds and forced a second and long.  Reynolds stood tall and completed a 17-yard pass to Calvin Cass, Jr. and then picked up 10 yards on the ground giving Navy a first-and-goal on the Rutgers six yard line.

The Rutgers defensive pressure got to Reynolds on two consecutive pass plays forcing Navy into a fourth and goal from the Rutgers 19.  On their fourth down play, Navy found Jamir Tillman in the back corner of the end zone, but Tillman could not get a foot in bounds before being forced out of bounds by the Rutgers defensive secondary.
Ken Niumatalolo

Navy Head Coach, Ken Niumatalolo although disappointed, was proud of his team's effort, "I am proud of our guys for the way they fought back at the end. We had a legitimate chance to win. I'm proud of the way we battled. We have to bounce back."

The loss snaps an eight-game winning streak by the Mids at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. In the game the Mids finished with more yards passing than rushing for the first time since September 9, 2012, which was also the last time Navy lost at home.

Navy will play host to Western Kentucky next Saturday in Annapolis and Rutgers will host Tulane.

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