Navy vs ECU Breakdown and Key Takeaways

Navy won an important game for them once again this week as they defeated East Carolina 10-0. The win keeps them in the hunt for bowl eligibility. More than that, it was an impressive win for this team.

The Midshipmen were able to force four turnovers in this game. I felt coming into this game that ECU quarterback Alex Flinn had some mechanical issues that caused him to be inconsistent. That showed up on Saturday but give Navy a lot of credit for finding ways to create pressure and cover real well in the secondary.

The defense for East Carolina has been really strong all year. They also have a defensive coordinator with experience defending the triple option. That meant Navy was going to have a tough time moving the ball in this game. The key for them was staying patient and waiting for big plays to eventually happen. Luckily for Navy they were able to hit back to back big runs with Xavier Arline and Alex Tecza on a drive in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.

After taking the lead it was a defensive slug fest all game. Neither team was able to put together many sustained drives. Both defenses really shined. There were only 465 yards of total offenses between both teams. One of the most impressive stats of the day was that Navy held the Pirates to just 34 rush yards on 22 attempts.

Offensively for Navy, they had their most success when they went to less traditional option looks out of the shotgun. When they used more spread formations ECU struggled to defend as well and it opened up some of their bigger plays on the day.

Xavier Arline has clearly brought something to this offense that they’ve needed. I get it, 10 points isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, but he made some great plays, got Navy out of bad situations a handful of time, and played really solid football all game. He has a good enough arm to punish defenses who don’t respect it, but still has enough athleticism to execute the triple option really well.

Also on offense, Alex Tecza has shown once again this year to be really good. He’s got a ton of athleticism and continues to make big plays for Navy.

Lastly, something that Navy really needs to be getting more credit for is this defense. With Brian Newberry being a defensive specialist, it shouldn’t be a surprise that that side of the ball is the strength of this team. But this Navy defense is a really solid unit all around. The secondary has some experience and can cover receivers, they’re a really tough and physical team against the run, and schematically they do so much to confuse offenses. The designed blitzes have been great this year at getting to the opposing quarterback. They’ve also gotten a lot better at pre snap motion and disguising coverages. Overall, I think it would be tough to find a defensive unit that plays better and does more with the talent they have than Navy.

Navy heads to Dallas this weekend to take on SMU. The game will dictate whether or not this team becomes bowl eligible as their final game of the year against Army is after bowl selections are announced.

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