Navy Looks to Use Momentum in Making First Trip to Central Michigan
Oct. 8, 2012
Setting the Stage
Navy and Central Michigan will meet for the third time on the gridiron when they square off Friday night at Kelly/Shorts Stadium (30,255). Kickoff is set for 8:00 pm.
Navy, who leads the series, 2-0, won a thrilling 38-37 decision over Central Michigan in 2010 when the Chippewas were unable to capitalize on a two-point conversion with four seconds remaining in the contest. The Mids also beat the Chippewas in 2003, 63-34.
Friday night's game will be Navy's first trip to Central Michigan. Furthermore, this will be the Mids' first trip to the state of Michigan since 2006 when Navy defeated Eastern Michigan, 49-21, at Ford Field.
Friday's game will be televised nationally by ESPN2 with Carter Blackburn, Rod Gilmore and Jemele Hill calling the action.
The Navy Football Tailgate Show on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM will air at 6:00 pm in Annapolis with Pete Medhurst live from Mount Pleasant and Joe Miller in Annapolis.
The Navy Football Pregame Show with Bob Socci, Omar Nelson and Pete Medhurst will get underway at 7:00 pm, followed by game action beginning at 8:00 pm on the Navy Radio Network.
Following the contest, Joe Miller and Pete Medhurst will recap the day's events in a 60-minute postgame show live on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM and WFED 1050 AM.
The tailgate show, the pregame show, the game and the postgame show are available over the internet to Navy All-Access subscribers. The game broadcast is also available on the web sites of the affiliate stations.
Navy Quick Hitters
Opening the year against Notre Dame in Dublin and at Penn State was the toughest opening two games in school history.
In the last 40 years, Navy has started the year with two BCS opponents just eight times and only twice (2005 and 1982) did the Mids go on to have a winning record.
Navy's three losses this season (Notre Dame, Penn State and San Jose State) have come at the hands of opponents that are a combined 13-3 on the year (.813). Notre Dame (5-0) is currently ranked seventh in the country, while San Jose State (4-1) and Penn State (4-2) are both receiving votes.
Navy has been the dominant Service Academy over the last decade going 18-2 against Army (10-0) and Air Force (8-2).
Navy will join the BIG EAST for football only starting in 2015.
Senior outside linebacker Keegan Wetzel scored a perfect 1600 on his SAT and is believed to be the only current FBS player in the country to accomplish such a feat. He carries a 3.89 GPA in systems engineering and is an Academic All-America candidate. Wetzel has also been a force on the field, recording 23 tackles, four tackles for a loss, three sacks and a fumble recovery this season.
Sophomore punter Pablo Beltran is off to a great start in 2012, averaging 45.4 yards per punt (19 punts). He stands 12th in the country in punting, while Navy is 20th in net punting (40.1).
Freshman Nick Sloan is one of just 16 true freshman kickers starting in the FBS this year. He is 5-for-5 on field goals and 9-for-9 on extra-points. He is one of five kickers in the FBS that has yet to miss a kick.
Over the last 11 years, Navy has consistently been one of the top rushing teams in the country, never finishing lower than sixth.
Navy owns a 6-3 record all-time in overtime games and has won six of its last seven games that went to overtime.
The Mids are ranked 19th in the country in red zone defense, allowing 11 scores in 16 opportunities. Last week against Air Force, the Navy defense did not allow a score on three Falcon opportunities.
Navy owns a 77-43 (.642) record over the last 10 years after posting a 3-30 (.091) mark from 2000-02. The 77 wins are tied for the 22nd-most wins in the country during that span.
Senior guard Josh Cabral and slot back Gee Gee Greene have started 30 consecutive games for the Midshipmen.
The Mids have been shut out in the first quarter in nine of the last 13 games dating back to last year and have not scored a touchdown in the first quarter in 12 of the last 14 contests.
Navy has been outscored, 37-3, in the first quarter this year and 89-23 in the first quarter over the last 14 games dating back to last year.
Navy is 27-4 (.870) under Ken Niumatalolo when scoring first and 7-20 (.259) when the opponent scores first.
Navy has turned the ball over 12 times this season (nine lost fumbles and three interceptions) after committing just 15 turnovers in 2011 (nine lost fumbles and six interceptions). Junior quarterback Trey Miller has been responsible for 10 of Navy's 12 turnovers (seven fumbles and three interceptions) with five of those turnovers coming inside the opponent's 30-yard line.
Under Niumatalolo, the Mids are 21-3 (.875) when leading after the first quarter and 13-21 (.382) when trailing or tied after the first stanza.
Navy has been held under 300 yards rushing in 10 of its last 17 games and the Mids are just 2-8 (.200) in those games (Army in 2011 and Air Force in 2012 are the two wins)
The Mids are 18-5 (.783) under Niumatalolo when rushing for 300 yards or more and 16-19 (.457) when the offense is held under 300 yards rushing.
An opposing running back has rushed for over 100 yards in a game against Navy in 10 of the last 17 contests. In the previous 40 games, Navy surrendered only nine 100-yard rushing games to opposing running backs.
Navy is tied for 107th in the country in red zone offense, scoring on just 10 of 15 chances. The Mids did score on all four opportunities in the red zone the last time out against Air Force.
The Navy offense has lost nine fumbles this year after losing just nine fumbles in 12 games a year ago. The Mids are tied for the fourth nationally for most lost fumbles.
Navy ranks 106th in the country in third down offense, converting just 18 of 56 tries (.321).
The Navy defense ranks 111th in third down defense, giving up 32 conversions in 63 attempts (.508). Opponents, however, are just 2-for-7 (.286) when going for it on fourth down against the Navy defense.
Navy owns a 16-7 (.696) record in games played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium under Niumatalolo and is 18-17 (.514) away from home.
Scouting Central Michigan
The Chippewas are 2-3 on the year with victories over Southeast Missouri State (38-27) and Iowa (32-31) and losses to Michigan State (41-7), Northern Illinois (55-24) and Toledo (50-35).
Quarterback Ryan Radcliff has completed 105 of his 179 pass attempts for 1,286 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions.
Radcliff's favorite target is Cody Wilson, who has caught 33 passes for 394 yards. Titus Davis has four touchdown catches among his 19 receptions on the year.
Zurlon Tipton leads the Chippewas in rushing with 447 yards and six touchdowns on 72 carries..
The defense is led by Justin Cherocci, who has recorded 47 tackles on the year. Shamari Benton has been in on 40 tackles.
The Last Time ...
Navy 38, Central Michigan 37 Nov. 13, 2010 | ANNAPOLIS, MD.
Quarterback Kriss Proctor, making just his third-career start, rushed for 201 yards and a touchdown on just 20 carries to lead Navy to a thrilling 38-37 victory over Central Michigan in front of 34,333 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
In a game that featured little defense, the two teams combined for 75 points and 965 yards of total offense as Navy clinched a winning season for the eighth-consecutive year.
The Mids trailed 24-21 at the half, but outscored the Chippewas 14-0 in the pivotal third quarter.
Proctor put the Mids up for good with a four-yard touchdown run on Navy's first drive of the third quarter (28-24).
The Mids made it 35-24 on their next drive as John Howell scored his first career rushing TD from six yards out.
Defensive end Billy Yarborough stopped a Central Michigan fake punt on the next series and the Mids would convert it to points when Joe Buckley made a 35-yard field goal with 7:27 left in the contest.
Central Michigan answered Buckley's field goal with a 10-play, 72-yard drive with Zurlon Tipton scoring from the one-yard line to trim the Navy lead to 38-31 with 3:04 remaining.
The Mids would pick up just one first down on their next possession with the Chippewas stopping Gee Gee Greene for a loss of two yards on third-and-three from the Navy 38.
After Kyle Delahooke's 49-yard punt, Central Michigan took the ball over at its own 20 with just 1:04 left.
After Central Michigan quarterback Ryan Radcliff threw incomplete on first down, he hit consecutive passes for 16, 24 and 25 yards to move the ball down to the Navy 15-yard line.
After a spike and an incompletion, Radcliff hit Carl Volny for eight yards on third down and then found Cody Wilson in the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-two to pull CMU within one point. Chippewas head coach Dan Enos elected to go for the win and Radcliff's pass in the back of the end zone was high, giving Navy a 38-37 victory.
Navy Scores Final 15 Points To Beat Air Force For The Eighth Time In The Last 10 Meetings
Freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds came off the bench for an injured Trey Miller and led the Mids to 15 consecutive points as Navy rallied for a 28-21 overtime victory over Air Force in front of 38,927 fans at Falcon Stadium.
The Mids trailed 21-13 with 9:03 remaining when Reynolds came on for Miller, who had reinjured his left ankle on the previous series.
Reynolds hit senior wide receiver Brandon Turner for seven yards on first down and 10 from his own 25 and then threw a swing pass to senior slot back Gee Gee Greene for 35 yards to move the ball down to the 33.
After sophomore fullback Noah Copeland picked up three yards on first down, Reynolds hit junior wide receiver Casey Bolena for 13 yards and a first down at the Air Force 17.
Copeland ran for two yards on first down and then Reynolds ran it in from 15 yards out on second down to pull the Mids to within two points.
The Mids went for two and Reynolds pitched to Copeland, who broke one tackle before diving into the end zone to tie the game.
Navy got the ball first in overtime where it moved the necessary 25 yards in seven plays, scoring the go-ahead touchdown when sophomore guard Jake Zuzek fell on a fumbled snap between Reynolds and sophomore center Tanner Fleming in the end zone for a touchdown.
The Navy defense, which had forced three turnovers in the first half, stood strong again in overtime as sophomore outside linebacker Josh Tate dropped Cody Getz for a gain of two on first down, senior safety Tra'ves Bush and senior linebacker Brye French stopped quarterback Connor Dietz for a gain of three on second down and then senior linebacker Matt Warrick tripped up Dietz for a loss of one on third down. On fourth-and-six from the 21, senior defensive end Wes Henderson knocked down the Dietz pass as the Navy bench stormed the field.
Miller led the Mids with 110 yards on 18 carries, while Copeland rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Greene ran for 58 yards on nine carries.
Bush led the Mids in tackles with 12 and recovered a fumble, while Warrick had 11 stops, including two for a loss. Junior linebacker Cody Peterson recorded a career-best 10 stops and a tackle for a loss.
Senior outside linebacker Keegan Wetzel and freshman corner Quincy Adams each had a fumble recovery.
Freshman kicker Nick Sloan was perfect on the day, making all three extra-points and going two-for-two on field goals (39 and 41 yards.) His career-long 41-yard field goal into the wind with 9:03 in the game cut the Air Force lead to 14-13.
Starting A Freshman At QB
Starting quarterback Trey Miller injured his left ankle in the fourth quarter of the Air Force game and it is unknown at this time if he will be available for the Central Michigan game.
If Miller is not available, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo will turn to freshman Keenan Reynolds, who came off the bench and rallied Navy to a 28-21 overtime victory over Air Force with the Mids scoring the game's final 15 points.
If Reynolds gets the nod, he would be the first freshman to start at quarterback for Navy since 1991 when Jim Kubiak started five games.
Navy was a perfect 6-for-6 passing for 74 yards against Air Force (both Trey Miller and Keenan Reynolds were 3-for-3).
It marked just the second time in program history that Navy has had a perfect passing day. The only other time was in 2010 when Navy was 2-for-2 in a 35-17 whipping of Notre Dame at the Meadowlands.
The Navy offense has lost nine fumbles this year after losing just nine in 12 games a year ago.
The Mids are tied for the fourth-most lost fumbles in the country.
Third Down Troubles
Navy has struggled all year to keep drives alive on offense and to get off the field on defense.
Navy ranks 106th in the country in third down offense, converting just 18 of 56 tries (.321).
The Navy defense ranks 111th in third down defense, giving up 32 conversions on 63 attempts (.508). Opponents, however, are just 2-for-7 (.286) when going for it on fourth down against the Mids.
Offense Struggling In The Red Zone
Navy is tied for 107th nationally in red zone offense, scoring on just 10 of 15 chances. The Mids did score on all four opportunities the last time out against Air Force.
Navy has scored six touchdowns, kicked four field goals, lost the ball once on downs and turned it over four times (three lost fumbles by quarterback Trey Miller and an interception by Miller).
Defense Playing Well In The Red Zone
The Mids are ranked 19th in the country in red zone defense, allowing 11 scores on 16 opportunities. Last week against Air Force, the Navy defense did not allow a score on three Air Force opportunities.
The opposition has scored seven touchdowns, kicked four field goals, missed a field goal, turned it over on downs twice, lost a fumble and threw an interception against Navy's defense.
Warrick And Sloan Named Independent Players Of The Week
Senior linebacker Matt Warrick was a physical presence in Navy's 28-21 overtime victory at Air Force. Warrick's 11 tackles included two tackles for loss, the last of which forced the Falcons into a final-snap 4th down-and-6 that the Midshipmen stopped to cement the comeback win. Warrick reached double-digit tackles for the sixth time in his Navy career. This is the third time in his career that he's been named Independent Defensive Player of the Week.
Freshman kicker Nick Sloan had a perfect day against Air Force, kicking field goals of 39 and 41 yards, and made both of his PAT attempts, helping the Midshipmen take a step toward securing the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy for the eighth time in the last 10 years.