GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Will Worth rushed for 159 yards and four touchdowns and Shawn White added 150 yards and three scores as Navy walloped East Carolina 66-31 on Saturday.
It propelled the Midshipmen (8-2, 6-1 American Athletic Conference) into the AAC championship game, while the Pirates (3-8, 1-6) lost for the eighth time in their last nine games. Navy, which will be playing in its first conference title game, leads the all-time series 5-1.
The result spoiled ECU’s senior day celebration for Zay Jones, who passed former teammate and current Atlanta Falcon Justin Hardy for the FBS career receptions record.
Jones caught 12 passes for 212 and two touchdowns, giving him 392 career catches. Jones broke Hardy’s old record of 387 catches – for 4,541 yards and 35 touchdowns – set two seasons ago.
Worth became the fifth player in Navy history to rush for over 1,000 yards and pass for over 1,000 in the same season. He rushed for over 100 yards in his sixth straight game.
The 100-plus rushing totals from Worth and White marked the third straight game in which a duo of opposing runners broke the century mark against ECU.
The Pirates took a 17-7 lead on Davis Plowman’s 43-yard field goal with 10:12 left in the first half but Navy scored on its next nine possessions to turn it into a rout.
Navy’s seniors became the Academy’s all-time winningest class at 37-13 over its four seasons so far. The 1909 (36-7-5) and 2015 classes (36-16) had jointly held the record.
Navy was playing one day after U.S. Marshall Patrick Carothers, a father of five including freshman reserve linebacker Paul Carothers, was shot and killed while serving a warrant in rural southeast Georgia.
Navy: The Mids’ triple-option offense is difficult for any team to defend and that’s the way they like it. With a double-threat quarterback in Worth and a dominant fullback in White, Navy has scored 42 or more points six times this season.
East Carolina: The Pirates put together plenty of offensive fireworks, but were being outrushed for over 100 yards per contest before getting crushed in that part of the game on Saturday. They’ll get one more chance to play spoiler, and then run defense will have to be an off-season project.
Navy: The Midshipmen will visit SMU on Saturday, and then play in the AAC title game at the home of the higher seed on Dec. 3. The Army-Navy game is Dec. 10 in Baltimore, Md.
East Carolina: The Pirates will close their season on Saturday at Temple.