Scout.com and FoxSportsNext recruiting analyst and field reporters were out at over three dozen…
Navy Report Card: East Carolina
True freshman Keenan Reynolds completed a pass on the first play of the day to slotback Gee Gee Greene for 16 yards. Reynolds first touchdown pass was up to middle to Casey Bolena for a 15-yard score. Reynolds was 3 for 5 passing for 51 yards and 2 touchdowns with an interception.
A costly Keenan Reynolds interception in the red zone gave the Pirates a boost of life and allowed the Pirates to tie the game at 14. Sophomore slotback Geoffrey Whiteside caught a 20-yard pass for a score that extended the Navy lead to 49-21 in the fourth quarter. The touchdown pass was Reynolds sixth of the season.
Rushing Offense: A
The Midshipmen rushing attack was impossible to stop and Navy scored on all but two of their possessions, not including a kneel that ended the first half. Slotback Marcus Thomas capped off the Mids opening drive with an untouched 17-yard rush for a score. Navy dominated the Pirates with a hardnosed run game led by slotback Gee Gee Greene who rushed for 131 yards on 14 carries for the Mids. Reynolds added 10 rushes for 81 yards and three scores. Senior slotback Bo Snelson was third on the team with 67 yards rushing on 9 carries. Whiteside rushed for 55 yards and averaged 7.9 per carry. Sophomore fullback Noah Copeland rushed for 51 yards and a score on 8 carries.
Navy rushed for a season-high, 512 yards rushing with 6 rushing touchdowns, averaging 7.4 yards per carry.
Passing Defense: B+
The Midshipmen secondary started the game on the right foot, holding sophomore quarterback Shane Carden to 0 for 2 on the first drive. Pressure from sophomore defensive end Danny Ring helped force an incomplete pass and three-and-out on the Pirates opening drive. ECU signal caller Shane Carden completed 19 for 29 passes for 194 yards and a score. Linebacker Matt Warrick made an excellent read on a crossing pattern to collect his third interception of the season. The Mids scored on their next play with a 33-yard rush by Ryan Williams.
Pirate receiver Justin Hardy had 5 catches for 23 yards receiving and a score in the first half and was held to one catch for 8 yards in the second. Junior running back Vintavious Cooper added 4 receptions for 26 yards receiving. Safety Tra'ves Bush led the secondary with 9 tackles. The senior leads the team with 53 total tackles this season. Junior safety Wave Ryder was third on the team with 8 tackles.
Freshman safety Kwazel Bertrand had an impressive performance with 4 tackles and a team-high 2 pass break ups.
Rushing Defense: B-
With the Navy rushing offense humming, the Midshipmen were able to play a prevent defense. The Pirates were allowed 144 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Vintavious Cooper led the Pirates with 18 carries for 127 yards rushing and a score. Senior running back Reggie Bullock added 7 carries for 37 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Outside linebacker Keegan Wetzel had an outstanding performance with a team-high 9 tackles, including 2½ for a loss, and 2 sacks. Navy did a good job not allowing any huge plays on defense. The Pirates long rush of the day was a 17-yard run by Cooper that moved the Pirates midfield.
Special Teams: B
Because of an exceptional offense, the Midshipmen did not attempt a field goal and were not forced to punt throughout the day. Shawn Lynch returned three punts for a total of 21 yards with a long return of 12 yards. Marcus Thomas had the long kickoff return for the Mids for 31 yards. Navy's kickoff team also performed well, allowing a long return of 26 yards.
The Navy coaches saw a weakness in the Pirate rushing defense and dared them to stop their high powered rushing attack. The Pirates did not have an answer and the Mids exposed the weak, defensive hole throughout the entire game.
Navy coaches stuck with what worked and gave the Pirates a heavy dose of the option attack. The Mids were 2 of 2 on fourth-down conversions and called for only three penalties for 40 yards.
Navy went into halftime with a 21-14 lead while racking up 244 yards rushing against the Pirates. The Mids put together one of their most impressive performances of the year with a season-high 563 total yards. The Midshipmen scored on 7 of 9 trips into the red zone with 7 touchdowns. The Reynolds interception, and a kneel to end the game accounted for the other two red zone trips.
Navy returns home next week to face the 2-6 Florida Atlantic Owls who are coming off a 34-27 victory, and their first Sun Belt win against Troy. The Owls opponents average 201.13 rushing yards per game against them. The Mids are 2-1 in Annapolis, Md., this season with the sole loss in a defensive struggle against San Jose State.
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