FACTS & STATS: Site: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (43,000) -- Greenville, North Carolina. Television: MASN. Home Record: Navy 2-1, ECU 4-0. Away Record: Navy 2-1, ECU 1-3. Neutral Record: Navy 1-1, ECU 0-0. Conference Record: Navy 0-0, ECU 4-1. Series Record: Navy leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Navy Midshipmen and East Carolina Pirates meet for just the second time ever on the gridiron, as they clash this weekend at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The only other meeting between these two programs took place back in 2006, with the Mids capturing a 28-23 victory.
The Midshipmen though, enter the weekend on a low note, as they suffered a 34-31 loss to Duke last weekend. It snapped a three-game winning streak for Navy, which is now 5-3 on the season.
On the other side, the Pirates are in a similar situation, as they too sit 5-3 after a loss last weekend. Much like Navy, ECU also had a three-game winning streak stopped this past Saturday, suffering a 49-35 loss at UCF. On a positive note, the Pirates now return back home, where they are a perfect 4-0.
Navy scored three TDs and converted the same amount of two-point conversions in a 12-minute stretch of the final quarter, but its rally fell short in a 34-31 loss to Duke. The Mids couldn't get their option attack going and instead turned to the passing game, throwing for 227 yards compared to running for just 148 yards. It was an unusual situation considering Navy is averaging 258.6 rushing ypg and just 119.4 passing ypg on the season. QB Ricky Dobbs, though, is a capable passer and he showed that by throwing for 227 yards and two TDs versus Duke. He also paced the team with 83 yards and a TD on the ground. It was a good performance by Dobbs, who has run for a team-high 552 yards, in addition to throwing for 955 more. He has also totaled 16 TDs, with nine coming on the ground. Greg Jones is the top target in the passing attack with 390 receiving yards, while Alexander Teich is a go-to option in the running game with 482 yards. Teich was limited to just 43 rushing yards versus Duke, but Jones had a big game with nine catches for 134 yards and a TD.
Defensively, the Mids were exploited through the air by Duke, which completed a near perfect 28-of-30 pass attempts for 314 yards. It was certainly a concerning performance by the pass defense, which is still limiting foes to a decent 191.5 ypg on the season. The Mids, who are allowing 153.2 rushing ypg, surrendered 142 yards and three TDs on the ground to Duke last weekend. Navy also failed to come up with a single takeaway, so that didn't help matters. Tyler Simmons paced the defense with an impressive 17 tackles, giving him a team-best 75 for the year.
In Saturday's loss to UCF, QB Dominique Davis was terrific for the Pirates, as he threw for 310 yards and three TDs. Davis completed 39-of-54 pass attempts and added two other scores on the ground. It was another strong performance by Davis, who has completed 64.9 percent of his tosses for an average or 291.6 passing ypg. He has totaled 28 TDs (21 passing), but has also been prone to mistakes with 11 INTs. Dwayne Harris is his main target with 63 receptions for 750 yards and six scores, but Lance Lewis has also been utilized, recording 48 catches for 519 yards and seven TDs. Last weekend, Harris hauled in nine balls for 146 yards and a TD, while Lewis made 11 catches for 64 yards.
ECU's defense has been a problem this year and the unit's struggles were brought front-and-center last weekend. The Pirates gave up 424 total yards, including 265 rushing, and seven TDs in a loss to UCF. ECU has struggled against both the run (184.1 ypg, 18 TDs) and pass (255.4 ypg, 17 TDs) and really needs to clean things up to avoid a late-season collapse. Dustin Lineback has done his part for the defense with a team-high 74 stops to his credit and that includes a seven-tackle performance last weekend.
This should be an offensive game, as neither defense has had much success. Go with the Pirates, as their passing attack should be able to shred Navy's defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: East Carolina 40, Navy 31
Saturday, November 6th, 3:30 p.m. (et)