Scores and More
CONFERENCES COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS GAMING MATCHUP CURRENT ODDS
Navy (1-1) at Pittsburgh (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 19th, 6:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Heinz Field (65,050) -- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Navy 1-0, Pitt 1-0. Away Record: Navy 0-1, Pitt 1-0. Neutral Record: Navy 0-0, Pitt 0-0. Conference Record: Navy 0-0, Pitt 0-0. Series Record: Pittsburgh leads, 21-13-3.
GAME NOTES: A pair of old foes square off in the Steel City on Saturday evening, as the Pittsburgh Panthers play host to the Navy Midshipmen in a non- conference bout at Heinz Field.
Navy enters the contest with an even 1-1 ledger following a 32-14 beating of Louisiana Tech a week ago. The Midshipmen more than held their own in their season opener as well, falling just short of an upset against the nationally- ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in a 31-27 setback on the road. That contest was no surprise to Navy, which is used to facing strong competition after playing 30 games against BCS conference schools since 2003.
As for Pittsburgh, the Panthers are 2-0 on the young season after posting easy wins over Youngstown State (38-3) and Buffalo (54-27). A victory over Navy would give the Panthers a 3-0 start for the first time since 2000. A win would also help Pitt inch closer to the Top-25 as they are on the cusp of joining the nationally-ranked.
This meeting marks the 37th time these two squads will have faced each other on the gridiron, with the Panthers holding a 21-13-3 lead over the Midshipmen.
Navy has converted 15-of-26 third down opportunities this year and has scored on 6-of-7 red-zone visits -- all six being touchdowns. The club has been especially effective when running the ball, amassing 476 yards for an average of 238.0 ypg. Ricky Dobbs leads the Midshipmen as he has racked up 130 yards and four touchdowns on 43 carries, while Marcus Curry has gained 138 yards and a score on just 19 attempts. The Midshipmen piled up 393 total yards and rattled off 34 unanswered points a week ago against Louisiana Tech to earn a home-opening victory. 290 of the squad's total offensive output was on the ground, as Curry ran for 124 yards and a score during the meeting, and Ricky Dobbs gained 47 yards to go with a pair of scores. Dobbs also completed 5-of-8 passes for 103 yards through the air.
Louisiana Tech jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter but was held without a score for the remainder of the contest, as the Navy defense gave up just 93 total yards after allowing a 74-yard drive on the Bulldogs' opening series. Navy held LaTech to just 167 yards of total offense during the victory, including a mere 11 yards rushing. Navy also held the Bulldogs to just 10 first downs during the contest, and allowed Tech to cross the 50-yard line just twice. Navy has given up just seven first downs on 23 third down opportunities for the opposition through its first two contests. The defense has given up five scores in its opponents attempts inside the red zone, but only three of those scores have resulted in touchdowns.
The Pitt offense has been extremely impressive in the early going, as the Panthers have outscored the opposition 27-7 in the first quarter en route to a whopping 46.0 ppg, good for ninth in the country. The Panthers have racked up 771 yards of total offense through the first two games, and are a stellar 11-for-11 in red-zone chances, 10 of which have been touchdowns. Freshman running back Dion Lewis is currently ranked third in the nation in rushing, as he averages 159.5 ypg. Lewis is also tied for 12th in the country in all- purpose yards with 187.5 per outing, and he is tied for second in scoring at 15.0 ppg. Quarterback Bill Stull has been efficient in completing 32-of-46 pass attempts for 296 yards and five touchdowns, while tight end Dorin Dickerson is tied for 10th in the nation in scoring with 12.0 ppg. Dickerson had a career day in last Saturday's 54-27 win at Buffalo, hauling in eight balls for 71 yards and scoring three times in the first half. The Pitt ground attack was firing on all cylinders as well, as Lewis carried the ball 24 times for 190 yards and a pair of scores. Stull paced with squad with a 21-of-30 effort that was good for 172 yards and three touchdown throws.
The Panthers' defense had opportunities to shine last Saturday as well, as with under 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter, linebacker Greg Williams returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown, earning himself Big East Defensive Player of the Week honors as a result. He also made 11 tackles, including three sacks. The Panthers are currently tied for sixth in the nation in sacks with 4.5 per game, and they also own an impressive plus-2.50 turnover margin, which is good for fourth in the country. The Panthers have also limited the opposition to just 15.0 ppg while yielding a mere 56.6 rushing ypg. Gunn, who missed last season with a neck injury, leads the Panthers in tackles (19) and sacks (five).
Navy has a solid running game, but its ultimate focus on the run leaves the squad a bit one-dimensional on offense. A stout Pitt defense should be able to exploit the Midshipmen's weaknesses, so expect the Panthers to earn their second home victory of the season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pittsburgh 24, Navy 13
09/16 11:06:46 ET