Thursday, August 6, 2015

Navy Midshipmen Season Preview

STORYLINES
Navy joins the American Athletic Conference this season after playing as an independent for the previous 134 seasons. Navy went 8-5 last season, marking the 11th time in 12 years that the Midshipmen finished with at least eight wins. Navy has made 10 bowl appearances in the last 11 years. Navy led the nation in fewest penalties per game in 2014 (2.54). It was the fourth time in the last six years that Navy was the nation’s leastpenalized team. 
OFFENSE
 QB Keenan Reynolds enters his senior year with 64 career rushing touchdowns, which is tied for fourth in NCAA history. The NCAA record is 77 (Monte Ball, Wisconsin). Reynolds rushed for 1,191 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. Navy ranked second nationally in rushing offense in 2014, averaging 325.4 yards per game. The Midshipmen return four starters from last year on offense —two from the offensive line. OG EK Binns and OT Joey Gaston are seniors who have significant starting experience. Navy uses a number of players at slotback and fullback. FB Chris Swain rushed for 693 yards and four TDs a year ago. 
DEFENSE 
The Midshipmen return six defensive starters from last season, with particular depth on the line and in the secondary. NG Bernard Sarra finished last season with 38 tackles and three blocked kicks, tied for the most in the nation. Sarra has started 22 games in his first three seasons. DE Will Anthoy led the team with 11 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. LB Daniel Gonzales finished last season with 86 tackles and a team-high three interceptions. CB Quincy Adams was third on the team in tackles (75), while CB Brendon Clements was fifth (58). 
SPECIAL TEAMS 
K Austin Grebe took over as the regular kicker midway through last season was went 6-for-6 on field goal attempts and 33-for-33 on PATs. Grebe hit the game-winning field goal with 1:27 left to give the Midshipmen the win against San Diego State in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl. The Midshipmen will go with a new punter in 2014. P Gavin Jernigan is the favorite to handle the chores as a senior.

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