Reynolds returns for Navy vs San Jose State
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) Healthy again after a much-needed bye week, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds returns to action Saturday for a matchup against San Jose State.
Reynolds hasn't been operating at full efficiency since hurting his knee on Sept. 6 against Temple. He sat out the following game against Texas State, returned Sept. 20 against Rutgers but struggled during a three-game losing streak. Worse, Reynolds sustained a shoulder injury in a defeat at Air Force.
Coach Ken Niumatalolo decided not to dress Reynolds for the Oct. 11 home game versus Virginia Military Institute, which Navy won handily.
Now, after the bye, Reynolds says, ''I feel good, the legs feel good and I'm getting my arm back together.''
Niumatalolo named Reynolds his starter for Navy (3-4) against San Jose State (3-3).
''This is as healthy as Keenan has been all year so we're excited about that,'' Niumatalolo said. ''To see him running around out here without his brace is very encouraging.''
Here are some things to know about the San Jose State-Navy matchup:
TALE OF TWO GAMES: This marks the final meeting of a four-game, home-and-home series between these two programs. Navy needs a win for a split. San Jose State pulled out a 27-24 victory on the West Coast in 2011 and beat Navy 12-0 in 2012. Then came last year's epic meeting in which Reynolds and Navy outlasted San Jose State 58-52 in triple-overtime. Reynolds set an NCAA single-game record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with seven and finished with 240 yards on the ground.
''There have been some good battles in this series,'' San Jose State coach Ron Caragher said.
PULLING RANK: San Jose State's defense is much-improved this season, ranking Top 20 nationally in seven different categories. The Spartans stand 12th in total defense with just 313 total yards allowed and 24th in scoring defense, yielding 24 points per game. Playing in the Mountain West Conference against opponents that primarily throw the ball, San Jose State has shut the door with a pass defense that is ranked No. 1 nationally with an average of only 94.5 yards allowed through the air. Navy, however, ranks second in the country in rushing average with 342.1 yards per game.
SNEAKY MOVE? Navy has played all of its home games at 3:30 p.m. since striking a deal with CBS Sports Network in 2008. So it's interesting that Saturday's game kicks off at 1 p.m. Could that change have anything to do with the fact San Jose State is coming from the West Coast and will be still adjusting to being in the Eastern time zone? Kickoff is 10 a.m., West Coast time. The Spartans have won two straight in the Eastern time zone after losing the previous six such contests.
TAKE CARE OF THE BALL: Both teams have struggled to protect the football. San Jose State has committed 14 turnovers and Navy an uncharacteristically high 12 compared with 10 in 13 games last year. Also, the Spartans and Midshipmen are tied for 107th nationally with just seven forced turnovers apiece. San Jose State ranks 118th out of 125 Football Bowl Subdivision schools in turnover margin (minus-1.17) while Navy is not much better at 106 (minus-0.71).
BALL HOGS: This is a matchup of teams that like to work the clock. San Jose State ranks fifth in the country in time of possession at 34 minutes, 21 seconds. Navy hasn't been up to its usual standards in that category, but is still on the plus side of the ledger at 30:12 (No. 55).