Pitt Travels to Annapolis for Homecoming Showdown with Navy
Senior Marcus Thomas set Navy's career return kickoff yardage record last weekend, while also rushing for a career-high 79 yards against Toledo.
Oct. 21, 2013
Setting the Stage
• Navy and Pitt will meet for the 39th time when the two square off on Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (34,000) in Annapolis at 1:00 pm.
• Saturday is Homecoming for Navy. The Mids are 39-24 all-time on Homecoming. Navy snapped a two-game losing skid on Homecoming thanks to a 31-30 come-from-behind victory over Indiana a year ago. The Mids have dropped five of the last seven Homecoming games.
• Saturday’s game will be televised by CBS Sports Network with Brad Johansen (play-by-play), Randy Cross (color) and Sheehan Stanwick-Burch (sideline) on the call.
• The Navy Football Tailgate Show on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM will air at 11:00 am with Graham Whaples and Joe Miller.
• The Navy Football Pregame Show with Pete Medhurst, Omar Nelson and Joe Miller will get underway at 12:00 noon, followed by game action at 1:00 pm on the Navy Radio Network.
• Following the contest, Miller, Medhurst and Whaples will recap the day’s events in a 60-minute postgame show live on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM and WFED 1500 AM.
• The tailgate show, the pregame show, the game and the postgame show are also available over the internet to Navy All-Access subscribers.
Game Day Festivities
• Pregame festivities will get underway at approximately 10:30 a.m. with the Navy Football Team Walk. Originating at the Blue Angel in the southwest corner of the stadium, the team will make its way down the sidewalk and through NavyFest before walking up the drive to the stadium. Fans are encouraged to line up on both sides of the sidewalk to cheer for the team.
• The March-On of the Brigade of Midshipmen will take place at 12:40 pm.
• Between the first and second quarters there will be a Verizon Wireless/Yellow Ribbon Fund recognition.
• At halftime, the Naval Academy Drum & Bugle Corps will play and there will be a performance by the silent drill team.
• The three-time defending Patriot League Champion Navy women’s basketball team will be honored between the third and fourth quarters.
• Following the game, Navy’s alma mater, the Navy Blue & Gold, will be played as the team will stand at attention in front of the Brigade of Midshipmen. It is one of the best traditions in college sports.
• Navy faces another talented opponent this week in the Pitt Panthers (4-2). Pitt owns victories over New Mexico (49-27), Duke (58-55), Virginia (14-3) and Old Dominion (35-24), while its losses have come at the hands of undefeated and national championship contender No. 3-ranked Florida State (41-13) and to a one-loss Virginia Tech squad (19-9) that is ranked 19th in the country.
• The Mids will face another terrific running back in junior Isaac Bennett, who is coming off a 30-carry, 240-yard, three-touchdown performance against Old Dominion. Bennett, who shares time with freshman James Conner, leads the Panthers in rushing with 450 yards and five touchdowns on 77 carries (5.8 yds/carry).
• Senior quarterback Tom Savage has completed 88 of his 155 pass attempts for 1,343 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. Savage’s favorite targets are freshman Tyler Boyd (31-491, 4 TDs) and senior Devin Street (26-549, 3 TDs). Street, with 177-career catches, is two receptions shy of the Pitt school record.
• Junior linebacker Anthony Gonzalez paces the Panher defense with 41 tackles, three pass break-ups, 1.5 tackles for a loss and an interception, while senior strong safety Jason Hendricks has recorded 40 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one interception and one forced fumble.
• Senior defensive tackle Aaron Donald is one of the best defensive lineman in the country. His 26.5 career sacks are the most in the country among active players and he already has an incredible eight sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss in six games this year.
• Pitt ranks ninth in the country in yards per completion (15.2), 19th in tackles for a loss (7.5 per game) and 23rd in fewest fumbles lost (3).
• Individually, Donald is ranked No. 1 in sacks per game (1.3) and tackles for a loss per game (2.1), Savage is seventh in passing yards per completion (15.3), Street is 15th in receiving yards per game (109.8), Matt Yoklic is 17th in yards per punt (43.9) and Boyd ranks 24th in all-purpose yards per game (134.3).
Navy vs. THE ACC
• Navy has played the teams currently in the ACC fairly tough, posting a 128-131-8 (.494) record overall.
• The Mids have posted winning records against Duke, Maryland, NC State, Viriginia and Virginia Tech.
• The Mids lost to Duke earlier this year, 35-7.
Mids Look To Avoid Three-Game Losing Streak
• Dating back to 2003, Navy has had just one losing streak longer than two games.
• In 2011, the Mids started the year 2-0 before dropping six consecutive games (at South Carolina, Air Force, Southern Miss, at Rutgers, East Carolina and at Notre Dame). Navy finished the year with a 5-7 record. That is the only season in the last 10 that Navy has not made a bowl game.
• On six other occasions dating back to 2003, the Mids have lost two games in a row but found a way to win the next game.
• In 2005, Navy started the year with losses to Maryland in Baltimore (23-20) and at home to Stanford (40-38) before winning at Duke, 28-21. That team went on to post an 8-4 record including a win over Colorado State in the Poinsettia bowl.
• In 2006, Navy lost to Rugers (34-0) and to Notre Dame in Baltimore (38-14) in back-to-back games before winning at Duke (38-13), which spurred a four-game winning streak to end the regular season, as Navy finished 9-4 and played in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
• In 2007, Navy had a pair of two-game losing streaks as the Mids lost at Rutgers (41-24) and to Ball State (34-31 in OT) at the start of the year before bouncing back to beat Duke at home, 46-43. Later in the year, the Mids lost at home to Wake Forest (44-24) and Delaware (59-52) before winning at Notre Dame for the first time since 1963, 46-44, in triple overtime. That win over Notre Dame was the start of a four-game winning streak to end the regular season as Navy finished 8-5 and played Utah in the Poinsettia Bowl.
• In 2008, Navy started 1-2 , defeating Towson 41-13 in the opener before dropping games at Ball State (35-23) and at Duke (41-31). The Mids, however, would rally to upset a heavily-favored Rutgers squad 23-21 and went on to post an 8-5 record and a berth in the EagleBank Bowl against Wake Forest.
• In 2012, the MIds started the year by losing to Notre Dame in Ireland (50-10) and at Penn State (34-7) before coming back to beat VMI, 41-3. Navy finished last year with an 8-5 record and played Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.
Mids Lose Heartbreaker To Toledo
• (AP) - Toledo, relying on a pair of freshmen after its top rusher went down, ran for 316 yards against Navy in a thrilling 45-44 double overtime victory.
• Terrance Owens tossed a 20-yard touchdown to Bernard Reedy — his first TD pass of the day — and Jeremiah Detmer kicked the extra point, allowing Toledo to survive after it gave up a late fourth quarter lead.
• Navy (3-3) piled up 419 yards rushing, but Toledo managed to match the Mids’ formidable triple-option time after time.
• Toledo’s David Fluellen controlled things on the ground early on and finished with 154 rushing yards on 19 carries before being taken into the locker room at the beginning of the fourth with an injured back. Fluellen extended his streak of six straight 100-yard games.
• Freshman Kareem Hunt took over for the Rockets in the fourth quarter. His 19-yard touchdown put Toledo up 31-21 with 12:10 to play. Hunt ended up with 128 yards rushing on 15 carries. He also scored on a 52-yard run in the third quarter.
• Navy came back in the fourth quarter with a pair of impressive drives.
• The Midshipmen put together a 96-yard drive that was capped off by Reynolds’ 3-yard touchdown run, pulling Navy within 31-28 with just under five minutes left.
• Navy got the ball quickly after forcing Toledo to punt and drove 43 yards to set up Sloan’s field goal that sent the game into overtime. The kick was a yard shy of his career long.
• Toledo freshman Damion Jones-Moore scored on a 1-yard touchdown to give Toledo a 38-31 lead in the first overtime.
• Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds scored on 1-yard keeper to send the game into a second overtime.
• The winning play came after Navy’s Geoffrey Whiteside scored on a 9-yard touchdown to give Navy a 44-38 lead. But Nick Sloan missed the extra point.
• Sloan had just sent the game into overtime with a 40-yard field goal on the final play in regulation.
• Owens, who had struggled much of the game, found Reedy wide open in the end zone on Toledo’s second play of the second overtime.
• Reynolds completed just 5 of 12 passes for Navy, but he ran for three short touchdowns.
• Noah Copeland led Navy on the ground with 153 yards rushing.
• Navy had little trouble moving the ball against the Rockets in the first half, but twice the Midshipmen drove inside Toledo’s 30-yard-line without getting any points. They were stopped on downs the second time they had the ball and Sloan later missed a 38-yard field goal in the second quarter.
• Toledo’s only touchdown of the first half came on a Navy turnover.
• Reynolds fumbled on a keeper and Toledo defensive end Jayrone Elliott picked it up in the middle of a pile, racing 68 yards for a touchdown to give Toledo a 10-7 lead with 13:08 left in the second quarter.
Record Setting Day
• Despite the loss to the Rockets, the Mids set school records for total plays with 106 (previously 105 vs. Air Force in 2011, a game the Mids also lost in overtime on a missed extra-point) and rush attempts with 93 (previously 80 vs. Rice in 2009 and Air Force in 2011).
• The Mids just missed setting a school record for first downs with 35. The record of 36 was set on Nov. 11, 2000, in a loss at Tulane.
Getting The Fullbacks Going
• The Mids finally got the fullbacks going in the Toledo game as junior Noah Copeland (153 yds) and sophomore Chris Swain (62 yds) combined for 215 yards on 41 carries. The previous high out of the fullback position this year came against Duke when they rushed for 87 yards on 20 carries.
• Copeland had the best game of his career the Mids’ loss to the Rockets, finishing with a career-high 153 yards rushing. It was his first 100-yard day of the year and third of his career. His previous high was 126 yards set last year against VMI.
• Copeland is Navy’s first back to go over 150 yards since Gee Gee Greene rushed for 150 yards in a loss at Troy last year and it’s the most yards rushing by a Navy player since Keenan Reynolds rushed for 159 yards last year against Florida Atlantic.
• Copeland also had his first-career touchdown reception against Toledo, catching a 20-yard pass from Reynolds.