ANNAPOLIS, Md. – LeSean McCoy is on pace for a career rushing day in leading the Panthers to a 35-14 third-quarter lead over Navy before a record standing-room-only crowd of 37,970 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Neither team scored in the third quarter.
McCoy already has run his way into Pitt’s record books, as the Pitt sophomore tailback moved into 10th place among the school’s all-time rushing leaders. He passed Joe McCall, who had 1,978 yards from 1980-83, and needs 2 yards to pass Charles Gladman, who had 2,019 from ’84-86, to move into ninth place.
McCoy broke a season-long 58-yard scoring run with 1:04 remaining in the half to give the Panthers a 21-point cushion. He has 18 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns against a Navy defense that had been allowing 124.5 rushing yards a game. McCoy’s career-high is 172 yards against Michigan State last season.
Pitt saw its red-zone perfection end at 20 when Bill Stull threw an interception to Navy cornerback Rashawn King, who returned it 91 yards to the Panthers’ 8. Jarod Bryant scored on the next play to cut Pitt’s lead to 21-14 with 10:22 remaining in the second.
The Panthers, however, answered with a 29-yard kickoff return by Aundre Wright and a seven-play, 49-yard scoring drive highlighted by Porter’s 24-yard reception and McCoy’s 11-yard touchdown run for a 28-14 lead at 8:04.
LaRod Stephens-Howling opened the scoring on a 6-yard run to give Pitt a 7-0 lead. The touchdown run capped an 11-play, 74-yard drive that saw the Panthers make three successful third-down conversions, a 6-yard pass to tight end John Pelusi, a 4-yard run by McCoy and a 34-yard screen pass to McCoy to the Navy 6.
It was only the third time an opponent scored on the opening drive against Navy this season. The other two, Ball State and Duke, handed the Midshipmen their only losses.
Navy answered with a Shun White 40-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 7-7 with 7:19 left. Despite missing starting quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada (hamstring), the Midshipmen needed only six plays and 2:42 to drive 63 yards. Navy has scored on its first possession in every game this season, with four touchdowns and three field goals.
Stull’s 43-yard pass to Jonathan Baldwin to the Navy 9 set up McCoy’s 2-yard touchdown run for a 14-7 lead with 4:34 left. Pitt defensive end Jabaal Sheard then forced a fumble by sacking Navy quarterback Jarod Bryant and defensive tackle Gus Mustakas — starting in place of Mick Williams (concussion) – at the Navy 17.
Stephens-Howling scored three plays later, on a 9-yard run for a 21-7 lead.