1. Balancing Act. All three aspects of Navy’s triple option thrived on Saturday as quarterback Trey Miller rushed 17 times for 116 yards (6.8 yards per carry) and three touchdowns, fullback Noah Copeland carried 20 times for 126 yards (6.3), and the slot backs combined for 12 rushes for 134 yards (11.2).
2. More Penalties. For the second straight game, Navy was penalized seven times. It is the first time since 2000 that Navy has had as many as seven penalties in consecutive games. The Mids had two false starts, two holds, an illegal formation on a punt, illegal procedure, and slot back Bo Snelson was flagged for “failure to wear required equipment.” The mistakes are baffling for a team that was the least penalized in the nation two of the last three years.
3. Quick-study Quincy. The most impressive player from Navy’s freshman class so far has been cornerback Quincy Adams, who appears to have a knack for being near the ball. On Saturday he made a spectacular one-handed interception. He could have had another, but mistimed his jump and the ball slipped through his fingers.
“The one he picked off was as good as it gets,” Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green said. “Quincy’s done a solid job for three weeks in a row … Quincy’s gonna keep getting better. I think he’s gonna be a good one.”
Adams, a 5-11, 195-pounder from San Antonio, entered in the Notre Dame game after starter Jonathan Wev went out with a concussion. He started the following week at Penn State as Wev sat out. Wev started on Saturday, but left the game in the first half.
4. End Game. Navy’s undersized defensive ends thrived Saturday in a deep rotation that kept them fresh and active. Contributors included senior Wes Henderson (five tackles) and junior Evan Palelei (two tackles), who combined for a sack, senior Collin Sturdivant (four tackles), who forced a fumble, senior Josh Dowling-Fitzpatrick (one TFL), and sophomore Aaron Davis.
The defense got better as both halves wore on. VMI drove to the Navy 25 on its opening possession of each half. After that, however, the Keydets never crossed midfield the rest of either half.
5. Unsettled at Center. Junior Thomas Stone became the third different player in as many games to start at center for Navy, but he didn’t last there long. Stone and Miller botched a snap and the loose ball was recovered by VMI. By the second quarter, sophomore Tanner Fleming was in the game. Fleming started against Penn State and will probably resume his duties next week against San Jose State, according to assistant coach Ashley Ingram.
“Each guy is different snapping the ball,” Miller said.
Coming out of the spring, Navy appeared to have the position in good hands with sophomore Bradyn Heap, who remained No. 1 on the depth chart for much of the preseason. But for the Notre Dame game, athletic starting tackle Graham Vickers took over the position to deal with Fighting Irish All-American middle linebacker Manti Te’o, while Heap moved to tackle.