Thursday, November 13, 2014

Previewing the Navy - Georgia Southern Game

Navy and Georgia Southern will meet for just the second when they square off on Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.  Kickoff is set for 3:30 PM. Georgia Southern and Navy last met on September 11, 2010 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The Midshipmen, behind a touchdown from Heisman Trophy candidate Ricky Dobbs and two field goals, took a 13-7 win.

The March-On of the Brigade of Midshipmen will take place at 3:07 pm as 4,400 midshipmen will march on to the field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium by company.  It is one of the great traditions in college athletics. 

Navy's 26 seniors will be honored in a pregame ceremony starting at 3:22 pm.

Scouting the Eagles

Georgia Southern's beginning into FBS play has been a huge success as the Eagles enter Saturday's game with an 8-2 record and are winners of seven straight contests. 

The Eagles are tied with Ohio State for the fifth-longest winning streak in the country and received one vote in this week's Associated Press Top 25 Poll. 

Georgia Southern's only two losses on the year were at NC State, 24-23, when the Wolfpack scored with 1:37 left and at Georgia Tech, 42-38, when the Yellow Jackets scored with 23 seconds remaining after a Georgia Southern fumble.

Because Georgia Southern is still in a transitional year from the FCS to the FBS, its statistics do not count in the NCAA national rankings. If they did, the Eagles, not Navy, would be leading the nation in rushing as Georgia Southern is averaging an incredible 386.5 yards per game.  That is the best rushing yards per game average in the FBS since Nebraska averaged 392.6 yards per game in 1997.

Sophomore running back Matt Breida has carried the ball 135 times for 1,224 yards and 14 touchdowns and leads the nation with his seven rushes of 50-yards or more.  Sophomore quarterback Kevin Ellison has rushed for 945 yards and 11 touchdowns on 143 carries.  Freshman running back Alfred Ramsby has 10 TDs.

The Eagles have rushed for more than 400 yards in five games in 2014 with a game each above
the 500- and 600-yard mark, including the Sun Belt Conference single-game record of 613 set at Georgia State.

The Eagles have racked up 120 rushing plays of 10 yards or more, most in the nation.

Ellison has completed 56 of his 97 pass attempts for 806 yards with five touchdowns. Ellison's favorite targets are junior wide receiver BJ Johnson (19-279, 3 TDs) and senior wide receiver Zach Walker (16-214).

Georgia Southern's leading tackler is senior linebacker Edwin Jackson, who has recorded 82 stops and has an interception.  Junior linebacker Antwione Williams has recorded 57 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and three sacks.

The Midshipmen    

Navy's senior class, comprised of 26 players, has compiled a 26-21 record (.553), has won two Commander-In-Chief's Trophies, has gone to two bowl games (with a chance for a third this year), has won a bowl game (with a chance to win a second this year), and owns a 3-0 record against Army (with a chance to go 4-0 on December 13).  Last year, the seniors were part of a team that was just the fifth in Navy's 133-year history of playing football to win at least nine games in a season, beat Army and win a bowl game.

Navy's seniors are:  A.J. Barnaby (Deltona, FL), Pablo Beltran (Humble, TX), James Britton (Rogers, AR), Joe Cardona (El Cajon, CA), Noah Copeland (San Antonio, TX), Kyle Cregge (Alpharetta, GA), Aaron Davis(Pearland, TX), Jordan Drake (Douglasville, GA), Brendan Dudeck (Hamilton Square, NJ), Tanner Fleming(Deltona, FL), Parrish Gaines (Smyrna, TN), Bradyn Heap (South Jordan, UT), John Hendrick (Tampa, FL),George Jamison (Cordova, TN), Chris Johnson (Cape Coral, FL), Anthony Lewis (Ogden, UT), Nathaniel Otto (Houston, TX), Maika Polamalu (Pottstown, PA), Paul Quessenberry (Carlsbad, CA), Shakir Robinson (Brunswick, GA), Quinton Singleton (Davis Station, SC), Obi Uzoma (Wake Forest, NC), Geoffrey Whiteside (Columbus, OH), Ryan Williams-Jenkins (Helena, AL), Joe Worth (Valrico, FL) and Jake Zuzek (Brookhaven, PA).

The Midshipmen need two more wins to qualify for the Poinsettia Bowl.

Navy junior nose guard Bernard Sarra has blocked three kicks this year, which is tied for the most in the country. Sarra blocked a field goal against VMI and two field goals against Notre Dame. 

Navy has turned the ball over 14 times in its nine games after losing just 10 turnovers in 13 contests a year ago.

Navy has had 17 different players carry the football in its nine games, while 10 different players have scored touchdowns.

The Navy offense has scored 30 or more points five times this year and the Mids have won four of those contests. The only loss was to No. 6 Notre Dame, 49-39. Under Niumatalolo, the Mids are 35-10 (.777) when scoring 30 or more points in a game.

The Navy defense has allowed fewer than 30 points three times this year and the Mids have won each of those games. Under Niumatalolo, the Mids are 47-12 when the Mids hold the opposition to under 30 points.

Senior Noah Copeland leads the team in rushing with 740 yards and three touchdowns on 85 carries and is averaging 8.7 yards per carry.

Senior punter Pablo Beltran is averaging 44.9 yards per punt on 28 punts this year with a long of 62. 


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