Navy's day brightened by McCoy

September 11, 1995|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

DALLAS -- When time expired Saturday night, most of the victorious Midshipmen carried away chunks of Cotton Bowl turf to remind them of their stunning, 33-2 victory over heavily favored Southern Methodist University.

It may have been the Naval Academy's finest football performance in a 12-year period marked by repeated frustration.

But Chris McCoy did not need a memento of the occasion. The sophomore from Morris, Ga., making his debut at quarterback, staged a record-shattering show that was worthy of preservation in a time capsule.

Deemed too light and brittle for the varsity last season, McCoy spent the year as a defensive back for the plebe/JV team. But Saturday night, his running and passing rekindled memories of Roger Staubach, who was among the 20,302 spectators.

Just how good was McCoy?

Consider these facts:

* He established a school record with 398 total yards, eclipsing the mark of 378 set by quarterback Bill Byrne against Syracuse in 1985.

* He rushed for 273 yards, smashing the record of 225 for Navy quarterbacks set by Alton Grizzard against Penn in 1987.

Last year, Navy's leading rusher,, Monty Williams, gained 213 yards all season, and the entire team totaled 623 yards rushing while averaging an abysmal 1.9 per carry.

* In 1994, Navy backs made only two runs over 20 yards.

In the second quarter alone, McCoy carried five times for 163 yards, including runs of 72 and 69 yards while emerging from a crowd of would-be tacklers. By halftime, he had 253 yards on 16 carries.

* He completed six of 11 passes for 125 yards, including a 15-yard shovel pass to Patrick McGrew for the final Navy touchdown. McGrew dropped two other McCoy passes that were earmarked for scores.

One game does not a Staubach make, but the NFL Hall of Famer, who had given the team a pre-game pep talk, was one of the first to congratulate McCoy in the postgame euphoria.

Surprisingly, he did not suffer opening-night jitters.

"I was confident because of the way we had practiced," McCoy said. "And it was awesome to see my linemen blocking 20 and 30 yards downfield. Last year, we were the nail. Now we want to be the hammer."

"We knew he was good," said junior linebacker Clint Bruce. "He ran our scout teams last fall. He's got a lot of moves."

Due to McCoy's brilliance, it was almost possible to overlook the masterful job Charlie Weatherbie had done in preparing the team for his debut as Navy's new head coach.

While the triple-option offense designed by Paul Johnson rolled up 562 yards -- the fifth best in school history -- the Mids were equally impressive on the defensive side, limiting SMU to 249 yards and forcing five turnovers.

"Offense helps, but defense wins championships," said Weatherbie, after praising McCoy for his performance.

In fairness, the Mustangs, who whipped the Mids, 42-13, two years ago, were not the same team minus offensive leader Damon Flanigan, who is lost for the season with a hip injury. But Flanigan's understudy, Chris James, had engineered a 17- 14 upset of Arkansas in the opener.

A year ago, Navy lost its opener to San Diego State, 56-14, and never recovered. But in one short week, Weatherbie has engineered a dramatic turnaround. And with McCoy running the show, the possibilities at Annapolis suddenly seem so promising.

SATURDAY'S LATE GAME

Navy 33, SMU 2

Navy .... .... .... 7 ... 10 ... 9 ... 7 -- 33

SMU ... ... ... ... 0 ... 0 .... 2 ... 0 -- 2

Navy--McCoy 21 run (Covarrubias kick)

Navy--FG Covarrubias 21

Navy--Nelson 3 run (Covarrubias kick)

Navy--McGrew 25 run (kick blocked)

SMU--Smith 97 return of blocked extra point

Navy--FG Covarrubias 32

Navy--McGrew 15 pass from McCoy (Covarrubias kick)

A--20,302.

.... .... .... .... .... .... Nav .... .... ..... .... SMU

First downs .... ... ... ... 22 .... .... .... ... ... 12

Rushes-yards .... ... ... .. 62-424 .... .... .... ... 27-77

Passing .... .... .... ..... 138 .... .... ... .... .. 172

Return Yards ..... .... .... 61 .... .... .... .... .. 171

Comp-Att-Int .... .... ..... 7-16-0 .... .... .... ... 16-29-3

Punts .... .... .... .... .. 5-47 .... .... .... ..... 8-39

Fumbles-Lost .... .... ..... 1-0 .... .... .... ...... 2-2

Penalties-Yards .... .... .. 4-28 .... .... .... ..... 3-44

Time of Possession .... .... 35:33 ..... .... ..... .. 24:27

RUSHING--Navy, McCoy 26-273, Nelson 20-83, McGrew 3-23, Cannada 2-11, Dingle 4-13, Starks 1-12. SMU, James 11-41, Womack 9-33, Harmon 2-10.

PASSING--Navy, McCoy 6-11-0-125, Fay 1-5-0-13. SMU, James 14-23-1-150, Canine 2-6-2-22.

RECEIVING--Navy, Schemm 2-54, Scott 2-41, McGrew 1-15, Butts 1-15, Scornavacchi 1-13. SMU, Robinson 3-71, Cooper 3-39, Thornal 6-32.

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