Navy got another incredible performance out of quarterback Will Worth as the Mids celebrated a huge program milestone in style on Saturday afternoon. Worth led the Mids to a 66-31 win over East Carolina, securing the American Athletic Conference West Division title for Navy and set up a berth in the AAC championship game on December 3 in just the school’s second year of conference affiliation.
Here is a look back at how the Mids beat the Pirates:
1) Slow down the Pirates passing attack – Pass
Just looking at the stats it would appear that the Pirates had another great day throwing the ball against Navy. Gardener Minshew filled in admirably for the injury Philip Nelson at quarterback, passing for 238 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. While that is a good line by any standard, it is far below the 360 yards passing that the Pirates have averaged this season and that was good for the fourth-best passing offense in the country coming into the game.
The bigger problem for Minshew and ECU was that their passing attack stalled out at just the wrong time. The Pirates made a game of this one early and the home team was up 17-17 midway through the second quarter. Between that point and halftime the Pirates went three-and-out on three consecutive possessions, while Navy scored two touchdowns and a field goal to close out the period. Navy went in 31-17 ahead and the game was over as a contest soon after.
2) Run the ball effectively – Pass
navy quarterback Worth will again get all the plaudits after he marshaled Navy to a dominating day on the ground. Navy came in averaging over 40 points per game over the last five contests and then put up 66 points on ECU. Navy scored nine rushing touchdowns on the day, surpassing the record set for most touchdowns ever against ECU of eight that the Mids put up back in 2010.
Worth was the main weapon in the ground game again, going for 159 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. In one season Worth has elevated himself to one of the great quarterbacks in program history, something no one could have foreseen back in August. Fullback Shawn White had by far his best came of the season as he took 11 carries for 150 yards and three scores, despite being slowed by injury. In total Navy rushed for 480 yards on 68 carries.
3) Win the turnover battle – Pass
Navy was at about its average when it came to turnovers lost and gained on Saturday. It may be a little shocking that the one turnover in the game was a fumble, but when one team has eight turnovers on the season and the other has 22, then it should be obvious that the Mids were the recipient of the ECU mistake. With the addition of the AAC Championship game to the schedule the Mids now have four games remaining this season, and it would be good to see more aggression from the defense as those games continue to play out.