McCoy, Navy make it one for the books in 62-29 rout of Kent Senior QB rushes for 268

Mids clinch winning year

November 23, 1997|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Senior quarterback Chris McCoy turned his farewell appearance at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium into a memorable record-breaking afternoon, rushing for 268 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Midshipmen to a 62-29 rout of Kent before a crowd of 23,689.

The victory boosted Navy to 6-4 and guaranteed the team's first consecutive winning seasons since 1981 and 1982, with only the traditional, season-ending showdown with Army remaining on Dec. 6.

Navy led 55-9 in the closing seconds of the third quarter when coach Charlie Weatherbie emptied his bench, allowing the Golden Knights (3-8) to stage a meaningless rally while playing their final game for coach Jim Corrigall, who was fired last week.

Sophomore quarterback Jose Davis completed 30 of 49 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns, and junior wide receiver Eugene Baker grabbed 15 passes for 154 yards.

But all that was buried under a pile of Naval Academy records compiled against one of the nation's worst defensive teams. The Mids gained a total of 635 yards, including a rushing record of 563 on 63 carries.

In addition to McCoy's 268 yards, senior fullback Tim Cannada rushed for 71 and three touchdowns, and senior slotback Pat McGrew gained 96 on three carries, including a record-tying, 91-yard touchdown bolt in the second quarter.

But, as usual, the mercurial McCoy was the centerpiece. Continuing his assault on the school record book, the Georgia native became the first Navy player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

With 3,196 career yards, he moved into second place behind Napoleon McCallum on the all-time rushing list, replacing

tailback Eddie Myers (1978-81). McCoy also became the ninth player in NCAA history to rush (1,129) and pass (1,165) for more than 1,000 yards in a season.

He seemed done for the day late in the third quarter when he was replaced by sophomore Steve Holley, his heir apparent at quarterback. Surprisingly, Weatherbie called on his co-captain for two encores in the fourth quarter.

"I put Chris back the first time [8: 33 left] after they cut the lead [to 55-23]," Weatherbie said. "I felt we needed to score again. The last time, with several minutes left, I just wanted him to get a final cheer from the crowd."

Unaware he was close to eclipsing his personal high of 273 yards set against SMU in his varsity debut in 1995, McCoy handed off to fullback Matt Harden, then made his final exit.

"I wasn't conscious of any record," McCoy said. "I was just out there doing what the coaches asked."

The Navy coaches and players had to be pleased with the way the offense has peaked in preparation for the West Point Cadets, who have won the past five meetings. The Mids did not have to punt until 11: 28 remained.

"Our offense has improved every week starting with the Notre Dame game," said Weatherbie, who has watched his team score 163 points while steamrollering Temple, Colgate and Kent. "We're ready to hit our maximum efficiency against Army."

Kent had a chance to take the lead in the first quarter after Joe Romano's 50-yard field goal had cut Navy's advantage to 7-3.

The Golden Knights successfully executed an onside kick, with Romano recovering a fumble by Matt O'Donnell on the Kent 48. They moved to the Navy 19, but an interception by junior linebacker Brad Chatlos on the 13 changed the momentum.

By halftime, Navy was firmly in control, 35-3, highlighted by McGrew's 91-yard dash.

Said McGrew: "We were buried deep in our territory, and before the play started, we talked about just getting a first down. And I kind of joked, 'Don't we want a big play?' I got a couple of great blocks and ran from one sideline to the other. It felt like I covered 250 yards."

The lopsided victory was a fitting final home game for the seniors, playing before their parents and the brigade, which was apathetic before Weatherbie's arrival in 1995.

Said linebacker Travis Cooley, the vocal leader of the defense: "My freshman year, I remember teams just blew us out. But we've won 12 of our last 13 games here. We've made this stadium a special place. This has become hallowed ground now for the players who follow us."

Back-to-back

Navy's victory yesterday clinched the Mids' first back-to-back winning seasons since George Welsh's last team in 1981 and Gary Tranquill's first team in 1982.

Year .. ..W-L .. .. .. ..Coach

1981 .. ..7-4-1 .. .. ...George Welsh

1982 .. ..6-5 .. .. .. ..Gary Tranquill

1983 .. ..3-8 .. .. .. ..Tranquill

1984 .. ..4-6-1 .. .. ...Tranquill

1985 .. ..4-7 .. .. .. ..Tranquill

1986 .. ..3-8 .. .. .. ..Tranquill

1987 .. ..2-9 .. .. .. ..Elliot Uzelac

1988 .. ..3-8 .. .. .. ..Uzelac

1989 .. ..3-8 .. .. .. ..Uzelac

1990 .. ..5-6 .. .. .. ..George Chaump

1991 .. ..1-10 .. .. .. .Chaump

1992 .. ..1-10 .. .. .. .Chaump

1993 .. ..4-7 .. .. .. ..Chaump

1994 .. ..3-8 .. .. .. ..Chaump

1995 .. ..5-6 .. .. .. ..C. Weatherbie

1996 .. ..9-3 .. .. .. ..Weatherbie

1997 .. ..6-4* .. .. .. .Weatherbie

*-one game remaining

Next for Navy

Opponent: Army

Site: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

When: Dec. 6, noon

Record: 4-6

Yesterday: Lost to Boston College, 24-20

Pub Date: 11/23/97

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