Today's game

September 02, 2006|By Gary Lambrecht

Matchup -- East Carolina (0-0) at Navy (0-0)

Time -- 5:30 p.m.


Radio -- 1370 AM, 1430 AM

Series -- First meeting

Navy offense vs. East Carolina defense -- Navy is a 12-point favorite, and this matchup is the reason. The Mids led the nation in rushing with their spread triple option, while East Carolina brings an even younger defense than the one that ranked 112th among 199 Division I schools against the run. Navy's offensive line returns four starters, and junior FB Adam Ballard has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of his three starts, and junior Reggie Campbell is the perfect complement at slotback. Senior QB Brian Hampton, who is making his first start, needs to take advantage of the Pirates' youth up front and their unfamiliarity with the option.

Navy defense vs. East Carolina offense -- The Mids will give away size, but East Carolina has the sixth-most inexperienced offensive line in Division I, something Navy senior LBs David Mahoney, Tyler Tidwell and Rob Caldwell aim to capitalize on by limiting junior RB Chris Johnson on the ground. Senior QB James Pinkney (2,773 yards, 14 TD passes, eight interceptions) completed 60.7 percent of his passes in 2005, and 6-foot-1 senior WR Aundra Allison (83 catches, 1,024 yards, seven TDs) is an NFL prospect. The Pirates figure to put up some numbers through the air. If their running game gets cranked up as well, this should be a shootout.

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