2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 7 - Navy at Rutgers
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Oct. 15 at Rutgers 21 … Navy 20
CFN Analysis: The Scarlet Knights did a brilliant job to slow down the Navy running game, but it still took a blocked field goal and a big day from Mohamed Sanu and Jawan Jamison to escape with the tough win. Gary Nova threw two picks and the offense wasn't consistent enough, but Sanu did his part with ten catches for 100 yards while Jamison was a steadying factor with 101 yards on a workmanlike 22 carries. The Knights struggled a bit too much offensively against a mediocre defense, but all was saved by holding Navy to just 162 rushing yards with the defensive line dominating yet another big game. On a four game winning streak, this has been a sneaky-good start to the season going into the road game at Louisville. Win that, and it's a 3-0 Big East start going into the home showdown against West Virginia.
How many more heartbreakers can Navy lose? With the painful defeats against South Carolina and Air Force still fresh, and the blowout to Southern Miss last week a concern, this one hurts because it was right there for the taking. The struggling defense did a nice job of keeping Rutgers under wraps with three takeaways, but the running game was a stunning disaster at the worst time possible. The machine simply didn't work, and Kriss Proctor had to throw too much; he's not a passer. Even with all the issues, the Midshipmen still had a shot at a field goal in the final minutes, but the offensive line that had such a problem all game long couldn't keep Rutgers from getting the block. Now on a four game losing streak, the East Carolina game is a must or it'll be a 2-6 start with a trip to Notre Dame on coming up.
(AP) PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Brandon Jones blocked a go-ahead 34-yard field goal attempt by Jon Teague with 4:43 to play and Rutgers won its fourth straight game, a 21-20 victory over struggling Navy on Saturday.
Freshman Gary Nova threw two touchdown passes and Jawan Jamison rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown as the Scarlet Knights (5-1) continued their best start since 2006 by sending Navy (2-4) to its fourth straight loss, the Mids' longest losing skid since 2002.
Nova threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Quron Pratt late in the third quarter and a go-ahead 20-yarder to Tim Wright early in the fourth quarter in rallying the Scarlet Knights from a 17-7 second-half deficit.
Navy's Chris Ferguson scored on a 16-yard interception return and quarterback Kriss Proctor scampered almost untouched on a 54-yard touchdown run in the first half. Teague kicked a 41-yard field goal to get the Mids within a point with 7:52 to play, and an interception and return to the Scarlet Knights 23 by linebacker Caleb King had Navy in position to take the lead. But Jones came untouched off the right end to block the kick.
Navy got the ball back at its 23-yard line with 24 seconds to play after Rutgers botched a field goal attempt, but the Mids never threatened.
Nova finished 23 of 31 for a career-best 271 yards. He also played like a freshman at times, throwing the pick-six and then making another bad toss to give Navy a chance to win the game late.
Rutgers' defense, which came into the game tied nationally for getting the most turnovers, picked off two more passes -- Jones got one -- to push its total to 24. The unit also limited the Mids to 162 yards rushing, well off their 366-yard average, which led the nation.
Proctor was 5 of 12 passing for 106 yards for Navy on a windy day which limited passing on one end of the field. Alexander Teich led Navy with 69 yards on 18 carries.
Down 17-7 midway through the third quarter, Rutgers caught a break when Patrick Kivlehan intercepted a Proctor pass that twice bounced off the hands of Navy receiver Brandon Turner and off the leg of Jones before the senior caught it for his first career pick.
Nova needed just six plays to cover the 52 yards, hitting Pratt on third-and-4.
After holding Navy without a first down on its next series, Rutgers went 66 yards in eight plays. Nova hit fullback Joe Martinek for 16 on the first play and 15 to Jamison on the second down against a Navy defense that rebounded well after giving up 63 points last week. His touchdown pass to Wright came on a third-down play on which he got great protection and was able to get his pass just over the hands of linebacker Matt Warrick to Wright in the middle of the end zone.
Navy turned two huge first-half plays into touchdowns in taking a 14-7 lead.
Ferguson, who forced a fumble near the goal line to end Rutgers' second drive, intercepted an ill-advised pass by Nova midway through the second quarter and trotted into the end zone to tie the game at 7.
The pick came just two plays after linebacker Steve Beauharnais and safety David Rowe stopped Proctor for a 2-yard loss on a fourth-and-goal from inside the 1.
Proctor gave Navy the lead with 4:00 left in the half with a 54-yard run on an option keeper. The score came just two plays after Nova couldn't connect with a wide-open Mark Harrison and the Scarlet Knights failed to convert a fourth-and-4 from the Mids 32.
Jamison had given Rutgers a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 1-yard run.
Navy (2-3) at Rutgers (4-1) Oct. 15, 2:00, ESPN3
Here's The Deal … Get a load of Rutgers, this year's early surprise of the Big East. Pegged by many in the preseason for the conference cellar, the Scarlet Knights have flipped the script with consecutive wins over Syracuse and Pittsburgh to start the league slate. Now, it hasn't been pretty in Piscataway, especially on offense, but the program is finding ways to win for head coach Greg Schiano. It gets a one-week hiatus in the league schedule, which resumes again with a trip to Louisville next Friday.
Navy, to the contrary, has been on a steady decline in recent weeks. After earning a moral victory in a 24-21 loss at South Carolina, the Midshipmen fell in overtime to Air Force and got annihilated in Annapolis by Southern Miss a week ago. That latest loss, the worst in the Ken Niumatalolo era, has recast expectations for the academy, while putting its eight-year bowl streak in serious jeopardy.
Why Navy Might Win: Whether or not suspended FB Alexander Teich is reinstated, the Midshipmen are going to run the ball with conviction and authority. QB Kriss Proctor is a threat on the ground and through the air, tossing a pair of touchdown passes last week, and gets plenty of help out of the backfield from John Powell, Delvin Diggs and Gee Gee Greene. Navy has a knack for limiting the other team's number of possessions, which will be a particular problem for Rutgers. The youth-driven Scarlet Knights have been wildly inefficient with the ball, ranking 115th nationally on the ground. With a rookie Gary Nova under center, the Knights rank 93rd in the country at producing red zone touchdowns.
Why Rutgers Might Win: Yeah, the offense is feeble, though it should perk up against a Navy defense that's gotten toyed with over the last two games. This will be a great spot for the wide receivers, namely Mohamed Sanu, to take flight and spark the attack a bit. However, the Scarlet Knights have been fueled by the play of its stingy defense, which is tied with South Carolina for the most takeaways in the country. Schiano is getting a collective effort this fall, including a pass rush from linemen Justin Francis and Scott Vallone, tight coverage from defensive backs Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon and omnipotence from do-everything LB Khaseem Greene.
What To Watch Out For: How long before Gary Nova becomes a supernova? The latest true freshman to start for Schiano has come on faster than even the staff expected, relegating last year's precocious rookie, Chas Dodd, to the sidelines. Although he isn't stretching the field, he's played well enough so far, throwing three touchdown passes without a pick in the last two games. Since the coaches don't want to hoist too much pressure on him this early, it'll be incumbent on the backs to take advantage of a failing Navy run defense. Jawan Jamison has been getting the bulk of the carries, but his mealy yards per touch can be traced directly to the lack of support he's receiving up front.
What Will Happen: While never an opponent to take lightly, this is not your typical Navy program. No, this edition is flawed in ways that opponents are taking full advantage. The option is always a threat, but it's not as if Rutgers hasn't seen it plenty in recent years. The Scarlet Knights will contain Proctor & Co. with the same intensity that's helped get the program to this point. The offense will enjoy one of its best games of the year, employing Sanu and WR Mark Harrison to take advantage of an overmatched Midshipmen secondary.
CFN Prediction: Rutgers 30 … Navy 21
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