Navy throws off doldrums, pounds VMI, 42-7 McCoy's three TD passes ignite dormant attack

October 19, 1997|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

A Navy offense that sputtered in consecutive losses to Duke and Air Force found the perfect remedy yesterday, rolling up 440 yards in routing Virginia Military Institute, 42-7, before a Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium homecoming crowd of 30,034.

The lopsided victory was hardly surprising considering VMI, a Division I-AA school, had lost its previous six games by a 231-66 margin. In fact, Richmond and Georgia Southern had administered worse beatings.

But the fact that the Midshipmen, now 3-3, awakened a long-dormant passing game had to be encouraging to the Navy coaching staff that now has two weeks to prepare for a visit to Notre Dame.

Senior quarterback Chris McCoy, best known for his running, had thrown only one touchdown and completed 40 percent of his passes in the previous five games.

But given inordinate time to throw yesterday, McCoy completed three TD passes, including a pair of second-quarter scores to junior slotback Manny Metcalf that gave Navy a 21-0 lead at halftime.

McCoy also ran for 115 yards on 18 carries. His career mark of 2,590 moved the Georgia native into third place on the academy's all-time rushing list. He has an excellent chance to overtake Eddie Meyers (2,935), with only Napoleon McCallum (4,170) out of reach.

McCoy also advanced to sixth place on the all-time rushing list of college quarterbacks, but it was the success passing that seemed to give him the most satisfaction.

"I'd been bragging about being Dan Marino in practice this week," McCoy joked. "But each year, I've felt my arm and confidence in throwing has improved. It's my job to get the ball to the receivers."

Actually, the Mids had come into the game believing they could simply overpower the Keydets (0-7). But they changed their strategy in the first quarter after being forced to settle for a field goal by Tom Vanderhorst after VMI repelled repeated running plays deep in its territory.

"Our coaches improvised after that and we made some good adjustments," said McCoy.

McCoy also received sound advice from Metcalf, who had managed only four receptions in the first five games. "Manny came back to the huddle before the second touchdown pass [41 yards] and told me he was wide open," said McCoy, who sat out most of the fourth quarter.

"Watching films, we could see their safeties weren't rotating," said Metcalf, who was alone when he caught the ball near the 10. "I told Chris I'd be wide open down the middle. But usually those are the hardest passes to catch."

McCoy capped his busy day with a 23-yard scoring pass to LeBron Butts, who faked out a cornerback in the end zone for a 28-0 cushion midway in the third quarter.

"Chris told me in the huddle, 'Look quick, because the ball is going to come to you real fast.' Once the corner gave me the inside, it was easy," Butts said.

A steadily improving Navy defense that had held the opposition without a touchdown for 10 quarters kept the Keydets off the board until coach Charlie Weatherbie emptied his bench of reserves in the fourth quarter.

Backup VMI quarterback Robbie Chenault tossed a 63-yard touchdown pass to flanker Richard Holland, who easily out-distanced cornerback Desmond Morgan.

But the Mids' defense had stopped three earlier VMI scoring threats. The Keydets, in fact, had a chance to take the lead early in the second quarter after driving to the Navy 28. But on first-and-10, starting quarterback Al Lester fumbled and linebacker Travis Cooley recovered.

The Keydets blew two more opportunities in the second half, the last time on an interception and 95-yard return by Navy's Gerald Wilson.

"Once I got around the corner, I had to show my teammates I could run with the football," said Wilson, who fell 5 yards short of the record 100-yard interception by Ted Raster against Army in 1951.

Next for Navy

Opponent: Notre Dame

Site: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.

When: Nov. 1, 1: 30 p.m.

Record: 2-5

Yesterday: Lost to Southern California, 20-17

Pub Date: 10/19/97

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