McCoy, Navy stopped short Rutgers claims 27-17 victory

September 17, 1995|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Naval Academy sophomore quarterback Chris McCoy looked like Houdini in his opening act against Southern Methodist.

But in his second varsity performance, McCoy was kept in a box by a swarming defense, and Rutgers junior tailback Terrell Willis provided almost all the magic of the night in leading the Scarlet Knights to a 27-17 victory before 33,380 at Rutgers Stadium.

Willis, who grew up in nearby Orange, N.J., accounted for Rutgers' two first-half touchdowns with runs of 25 and 72 yards and finished with 207 yards on 35 carries. He is well on the way to his third straight 1,000-yard season.

"We should have stopped them on a lot of third-down situations in the second half," said Navy linebacker Clint Bruce. "But you've got to respect their talent, especially Willis.

"We had a blitz going on his 72-yard run, and I probably bit too soon. He's as explosive as any back in the country for the first 5 yards. I tried chasing him but, honestly, I didn't think I'd catch him."

Navy (1-1) bounced back from a 14-0 deficit to tie Rutgers 17-17 at halftime, with McCoy scoring on a pair of short runs.

But the Midshipmen could not recover from a leaping catch in the back of the end zone by All Big-East tight end Marco Battaglia on a 25-yard pass from senior quarterback Ray Lucas.

The game-winning play came three plays after a fumble by McCoy, stripped of the ball by defensive end Charles Woolridge on the Navy 26. It was Navy's first turnover of the season, and a costly one.

"That gave Rutgers the momentum and we never got it back," said Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie.

The Midshipmen, who rolled up 562 yards against SMU, had only two more possessions in the remaining 18 minutes against Rutgers and managed only one first down.

Junior Nick Mike-Mayer, the son of the former NFL place-kicker, booted his second field goal from 43 yards with 6:13 remaining to wrap up the scoring.

McCoy, who had accounted for 398 total yards in the 33-2 victory over SMU, including 273 rushing, enjoyed far more modest results against a strong and quick Rutgers defense that provided little room for cutbacks and pitch plays.

The Georgia native gained 59 yards on 25 carries, with a long run of 21 yards. He also had little success on third-down situations, being sacked four times.

"Offensively, we didn't block well," said Weatherbie. "We've got to be more physical. We've got to have a killer's instinct."

For Weatherbie, the pivotal play came early in the third quarter after Navy had effectively moved the ball from its 18 to the Rutgers 28. But on third down, McCoy was sacked for a 10-yard loss, and there were few more legitimate chances.

"We had a good plan for McCoy," said Rutgers coach Doug Graber. "Our defensive front is very athletic and we played a 'nickel' most of the game. Their [triple-option] offense is difficult to prepare for, and it took us almost a half to get used to it."

NEXT FOR NAVY

Opponent: Wake Forest

Site: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Record: 0-3

2& Yesterday: Lost to Clemson, 29-14.

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