Navy Travels to Pittsburgh on Saturday for Gridiron Battle
Sept. 14, 2009
Setting the Stage
Meeting for the third straight year, Navy (1-1) and Pitt (2-0) are set to square off on Saturday in Pittsburgh in a contest that will be broadcast on ESPN360.com. John Sanders (play-by-play) and Drew Haddad (analyst) will call the action from Heinz Field (65,050) beginning at 6 pm.
ESPN360.com is ESPN's live sports broadband network, giving fans a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 3,500 live, global sports events annually. It is available at no cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider. ESPN360.com is currently available in nearly 41 million homes - a majority of US broadband homes. It is available via dozens of Internet Service Providers nationwide, including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications and many more. It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.
The Navy Football Radio Network will provide more than six hours of coverage starting at 4:00 pm with its pregame show on 1430 WNAV (Annapolis) hosted by Pete Medhurst, Joe Miller and Wiley Baker.
The Navy Football Pregame Show will get underway at 5:00 pm with Bob Socci, Omar Nelson, John Feinstein and Pete Medhurst setting the scene from Pittsburgh, followed by game action beginning at 6:00 pm. Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 113) will carry the Navy broadcast.
Following the contest, Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller will recap the day's events in a 60-minute postgame show live on 1430 WNAV.
Scouting The Panthers
Pitt has been extremely impressive this fall with wins over Youngstown State (38-3) and Buffalo (54-27).
The Panthers have outscored the opposition 27-7 in the first quarter.
Pitt is tied for first in sacks allowed (0.0), fourth in turnover margin (+2.50), tied for sixth in sacks (4.50 per game), seventh in net punting (43.25 yards per game), ninth in the country in scoring (46.00 per game), 18th in rushing defense (56.50 yards per game) and 23rd in passing efficiency (159.80).
Freshman running back Dion Lewis is third in the country in rushing, averaging 159.50 per game. He is also tied for second in the country in scoring (15.0 points per game) and tied for 12th in all-purpose running (187.5 yards per game).
Punter Dan Hutchins is tied for third in the country in punting (47.38 yards per game).
Cameron Saddler is 20th in the country in kickoff returns (29.25 yards per game).
Tight end Dorin Dickerson is tied for 10th in scoring (12.0 per game).
Adam Gunn is tied for second in the country in sacks (2.50 per game) and tied for fourth in tackles for a loss (2.75 per game).
The Last Time ... #23 Pitt 42, Navy 21
All-America candidate LeSean McCoy rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns to lead Pitt to a 42-21 victory over Navy in front of a Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium record crowd of 37,970.
Navy was held to 251 yards of total offense, including just 194 yards on the ground, while Pitt piled up 499 yards of total offense.
Pitt took an early 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game as LaRod Stephens-Howling scored from six yards out.
Navy answered with an impressive drive of its own, marching 63 yards on six plays, capped off by Shun White's 40-yard touchdown run off an option pitch by senior quarterback Jarod Bryant to make the score 7-7.
Pitt matched Navy's scoring drive with the first of McCoy's three touchdowns to make the score 14-7 and then, after Bryant was sacked by Jabaal Sheard and fumbled the ball back to Pitt at the Navy 21-yard line, the Panthers made it 21-7 on a Stephens-Howling nine-yard jaunt.
Pitt threatened to take a 28-7 lead on its next possession, driving the ball down to the Navy 13-yard line, but on third-and-five senior cornerback Rashawn King stepped in front of quarterback Bill Stull's pass at the one-yard line and returned it 91 yards down to the Pitt eight-yard line.
The Panthers put the game away right before the half when McCoy scored on a 58-yard touchdown run to give Pitt a 35-14 lead.
Navy vs. the Big East
Navy is 46-56-4 (.453) all-time against teams currently in the Big East.
The Mids own winning records against Cincinnati (2-0), Connecticut (6-1) and West Virginia (6-2).
Navy is 11-11-1 all-time against Rutgers.
Since 2003, Navy owns a 13-17 (.433) mark against BCS schools.
The Mids own victories over Vanderbilt (2003, 2004), Duke (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007), Rutgers (2004, 2008), Stanford (2006), Connecticut (2006), Pittsburgh (2007), Notre Dame (2007) and Wake Forest (2008).
The 13 wins over BCS opponents are tied (Utah) for the most by a non-BCS school since 2003.
Mids Score 32 Unanswered Points To Rout LA Tech
The Navy defense held Louisiana Tech to 167 yards of total offense, while the offense piled up 393 total yards as Navy rallied for a 32-14 victory over Louisiana Tech in the Mids' home-opener at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Louisiana Tech jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead. Daniel Porter capped a 10-play, 74-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run to start the game and then Phillip Livas took a punt back 85 yards for a touchdown after Navy went three-and-out on its initial possession.
Junior kicker Joe Buckley got Navy on the board on its next possession, nailing a 43-yard field goal. It was Buckley's first career field goal attempt.
The momentum turned on Louisiana Tech's next possession, as sophomore defensive end Jabaree Tuani made a spectacular play by making a diving catch for his first career interception.
Four plays later, Cory Finnerty scored on a 16-yard touchdown run to cut Navy's deficit to 14-10.
Tuani was at it again on Tech's next possession, knocking down a Ross Jenkins pass on third-and-four, giving the ball back to the offense. The Navy offense took advantage of Tuani's play as well as a poor punt by Louisiana Tech by driving 48 yards on nine plays with junior quarterback Ricky Dobbs scoring from three yards out. Navy faked the extra-point when Louisiana Tech overloaded one side of the ball in an attempt to block the extra point. Senior quarterback Greg Zingler ran the two-point conversion in to give Navy an 18-14 lead.
The Mids put the game away with two fourth quarter touchdowns. Sophomore slot back Marcus Curry scored on a three yard run and then Dobbs scored his second touchdown of the day, this time from two yards out, to make the score 32-14.
After giving up a 74-yard drive on the first series, the Navy defense gave up just 93 yards the rest of the game. Louisiana Tech managed just 11 yards rushing.
Junior linebacker Tyler Simmons led the Mids with a career-high tying seven tackles, while senior linebacker Ross Pospisil had six tackles and two pass deflections.
Navy recorded four sacks on the day. Senior outside linebacker Craig Schaefer recorded the first two sacks of his career, while senior outside linebacker Clint Sovie and senior defensive end Michael Walsh contributed one each.
Navy rushed for 290 yards on the ground with Curry leading the way with 124 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. It was his first-career 100-yard day.
Dobbs managed just 47 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, but did complete five of his eight pass attempts for 103 yards.
Junior wide receiver Mario Washington had two catches for 51 yards, while Gary Myers had one catch for 38 yards.
Navy has passed for over 100 yards in back-to-back games (156 against Ohio State and 103 against Louisiana Tech) for the first time since 2005 when the Mids had 111 yards passing against Air Force and 196 against Kent State.
Navy Stout Against The Run
Navy held Louisiana Tech to just 11 yards rushing, the fewest yards on the ground by a Navy opponent since the Mids held SMU to negative yardage (-13) in last year's contest in Annapolis (Oct. 25, 2008).
Louisiana Tech crossed the 50-yard line just twice, while five of the Bulldogs' 10 first downs came in the first quarter.
Mids Having Success On Third Down
Navy is off to a great start on third down conversions.
The offense has converted 15 of 26 third down opportunities (58 percent), while the defense has given up just seven first downs on 23 third down opportunities (30 percent) for the opposition.
Last year, Navy converted just 85 of 179 third down attempts (47 percent), while the defense gave up 76 first downs on 161 third down attempts (47 percent).
Converting In The Red Zone
Navy has scored on six of seven attempts (86 percent) inside the red zone, with all six scores resulting in touchdowns (86 percent).
The defense has given up five scores on the oppositions seven attempts inside the red zone, with only three of those scores resulting in touchdowns (43 percent).