Navy churns out another rout
By Nathan Summers and Ronnie Woodward
The Daily Reflector
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Navy’s prowess as the best triple-option rushing team in the country is no secret.
The Midshipmen proved their worth once again Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium with a commanding rushing performance, finishing with 480 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground in a 66-31 victory over East Carolina. Navy, which clinched the American Athletic Conference West Division title with the win, was also 9-of-9 in the red zone.
ECU coach Scottie Montgomery mentioned Navy’s cut blocks as a point of emphasis earlier in the week. He said during the postgame news conference that it wasn’t entirely the low blocks that helped the visitors control the line of scrimmage when they had the ball.
“It wasn’t the cut blocking that was bothering us, but it was the drive blocking that gave us a hard time and allowing the fullback to get back behind our defensive ends,” Montgomery said. “That was critical. We tried to adjust at halftime and we did and slowed them a little bit, but we couldn’t stop the bleeding at that time.”
ECU has allowed two 100-yard rushers in three straight games, which were all lopsided losses. Navy’s top gainer was quarterback Will Worth with 159 yards on 28 carries.
Worth has six straight 100-yard rushing games. It is the second-longest streak in Navy history.
It also marked the first time in East Carolina history that it allowed 50-plus points in consecutive games.
“They motion a lot, try to attack the perimeter on some plays, and they’ve just got a great balance and attack,” ECU safety Travon Simmons said. “One play they’ll go to the perimeter, the next play they’ll go to the interior and attack the inside.”
East Carolina kicker Davis Plowman continues to quietly have a great senior season.
He drilled a 43-yard field goal to give the Pirates a 17-7 lead with 10:12 until halftime. It was his eighth straight make and it made him 10-of-11 on his last 11 attempts.
In what is easy to overlook because of Zay Jones’ record performance and the Navy blowout, Plowman said the wind made kicking very difficult.
“Oh my gosh, it was brutal. That was the windiest game I’ve ever played in,” he said. “You just felt constant gusts. I was throwing up grass on the sideline before every time I would kick into the net, just to judge. And I would be watching the flags, but they would start switching.”
Among the visitors at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium was American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco, who held a brief media session in the press box before the game.
Aresco was originally scheduled to come to Greenville to watch the Pirates and Midshipmen play Oct. 13 for a Thursday night ESPN game, but eastern North Carolina was still recovering from Hurricane Matthew so the game was postponed to Saturday when both teams had bye weeks scheduled.