Navy quarterback’s skills impress Staubach, others

Posted Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Breakthrough year

A look at Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds’ stats in a breakthrough 2013 season:

 

StatTotal
Rush Yds1,260
Pass Yds1,038
Comp. Pct53.7
Rush TDs29
Pass TDs8
Points176

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

As a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach is well-versed on the nuances of playing the position.

As a graduate of the Naval Academy, Staubach is convinced that his alma mater is uniquely blessed at the position today and for the next two seasons under record-setting sophomore Keenan Reynolds.

“We have one great quarterback,” Staubach said during Friday’s news conference for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth. “I wish I could run like he can. Keenan is really special. He’s got a little Johnny Manziel in him.”

Staubach, Navy’s most recent Heisman Trophy winner (1963), understands the significance of comparing Reynolds to Manziel, A&M’s dual-threat quarterback who won the 2012 Heisman. Both players, in Staubach’s estimation, possess football intangibles and instincts that are rare among their peer group.

One key difference: Manziel, also a sophomore, has rushed for 29 career touchdowns. Reynolds has that many since Sept. 7, with a chance to become the first college quarterback to rush for 30 or more TDs in a season when Navy (8-4) meets Middle Tennessee (8-4) in Monday’s matchup at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium (10:45 a.m., ESPN).

Since taking over as the primary engineer in Navy’s triple-option offense during his freshman season, Reynolds has led the Midshipmen to a 14-6 record. Reynolds (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) has taken things to uncharted heights this season, rushing for 1,260 yards and 29 touchdowns. Included is a seven-touchdown performance in a 58-52 victory over San Jose State.

With another rushing touchdown, Reynolds would join Colorado State’s Kapri Bibbs (31 TDs this season) and a pair of notable running backs from yesteryear as the only college players with 30 rushing TDs in a season: Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders (37 in 1988) and Wisconsin’s Montee Ball (33 in 2011). Sanders won the Heisman Trophy in his record-setting season; Ball was a Heisman finalist in 2011.

“To even be in the same sentence with guys like that is definitely humbling,” Reynolds said. “I’m very grateful. It’s kind of a surreal feeling.”

It is a feeling Reynolds should get used to, in the estimation of Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo. Already a skilled option operator (Navy has only eight turnovers this season), Reynolds’ upside is immense because of his decision-making skills.

“He’s the smartest quarterback that I’ve been around,” Niumatalolo said. “He’s young years-wise, but football-wise, he’s as mature of a quarterback as I’ve been around. I have the standards very high for him and he bodes well with all of those standards.”

Although he doesn’t throw it frequently, Reynolds can deliver the ball effectively. He’s a 53.7 percent passer, with eight touchdown passes against two interceptions. But he’s most dangerous in the option game.

“Man, he runs very hard. I love his willpower,” Middle Tennessee safety Kevin Byard said. “He’s a great competitor. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for us, as a defense, to stop him.”

Reynolds heads into Monday’s game as the national leader in scoring (14.7 points per game) for a team seeking its first bowl victory since 2009. He’s also earned the admiration of the most celebrated quarterback in Navy history, who remains a role model to current Midshipmen.

“I’ve never met Mr. Staubach, but I want to meet him,” Reynolds said. “To be able to have a guy like that come to our school and do the things that he did, then go to the NFL and do the things that he did … . He’s definitely a role model for guys, as far as being a leader. He’s an inspiration.”

From a distance, Staubach sees similar qualities in Reynolds.

“I see Keenan on the field and I can see he’s got great instincts,” Staubach said. “He’s quick, he’s fast and he’s really a good athlete. He’s a leader and the team totally believes in him.”

With one more rushing TD on Monday, he’ll become the first college quarterback to have 30 in a season.

McCoy honored

North Texas defensive end Brandon McCoy, an Army veteran who served multiple tours of duty in Iraq, was recognized during Friday’s news conference as recipient of the 2013 Armed Forces Merit Award. McCoy received his award Nov. 11, on Veterans Day.

Ticket information

Ticket prices range from $20 to $150 per seat for Monday’s Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Tickets can be purchased through the bowl website at www.ArmedForcesBowl.com or by calling the bowl office at 817-810-0012.

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
Portland453rd Qtr | Box
Charlotte56TV: CSN-NW, SPSO
Washington463rd Qtr | Box
Cleveland58TV: CSN-DC, FSN-OH
Golden State653rd Qtr | Box
Orlando52TV: CSN-BA, FSN-FL
Brooklyn493rd Qtr 12:00 | Box
Philadelphia41TV: YES, CSN-PHI
Toronto402nd Qtr 8:22 | Box
Atlanta33TV: SN 360, SPSO
New York312nd Qtr 8:14 | Box
Dallas30TV: ESPN, MSG, FSN-SW
LA Clippers292nd Qtr 7:48 | Box
Detroit37TV: FSN-PT, FSN-DET
Sacramento51st Qtr 8:35 | Box
Houston9TV: CSN-CA, ROOT-SW
Milwaukee101st Qtr 7:31 | Box
Minnesota8TV: FSN-WI, FSN-N+
Utah91st Qtr 8:07 | Box
Oklahoma City6TV: FSN-OK
Indiana 11/26 8:30 PM ET
San Antonio TV: FSN-IN, FSN-SW
Denver 11/26 9:00 PM ET
Phoenix TV: Altitude2, FSN-AZ
Memphis 11/26 10:30 PM ET
LA Lakers TV: NBA TV, SPSO, TWC SN
Full Scoreboard
Week 13Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Chicago 12:30 PM ET
Detroit TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Seattle 8:30 PM ET
San Francisco TV: NBC
Sunday
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: FOX
NY Giants 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: FOX
Carolina 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: FOX
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: CBS
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: CBS
Arizona 4:05 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
New England 4:25 PM ET
Green Bay TV: CBS
Denver 8:30 PM ET
Kansas City TV: NBC
Monday
Miami 8:30 PM ET
NY Jets TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Wednesday, November 26Full Scoreboard
Washington12nd Prd 9:17 | Box
NY Islanders2TV: CSN-DC+, MSG+
Winnipeg12nd Prd 9:51 | Box
Buffalo0TV: SN1, MSG-BUF
Philadelphia02nd Prd | Box
Detroit1TV: NBCSN, TCN, FSN-DET+
NY Rangers22nd Prd | Box
Tampa Bay2TV: MSG 2, SUN
Carolina02nd Prd | Box
Florida1TV: FSN-CAR, FSN-FL
Toronto01st Prd :11 | Box
Pittsburgh2TV: TVA Sports, SN, ROOT-PIT
Los Angeles11st Prd 14:37 | Box
Minnesota0TV: FSN-W, FSN-N
Chicago 11/26 9:00 PM ET
Colorado TV: TVA 2, CSN-CH, Altitude
Calgary 11/26 10:30 PM ET
San Jose TV: SN-W, CSN-CA
Full Scoreboard