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Morgan aims to bounce back Saturday at Hampton

Posted on 18 January 2013 by WNST Staff

Game Dates: Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013
Opponent: Hampton Pirates
Site: HU Convocation Center, Hampton, Va.
Game Time: 4 p.m.
MSU Coach: Todd Bozeman (115-94 – 7th yr)

BALTIMORE, Md. — Morgan State (4-9, 1-1) will head to the Tidewater area to take on the Hampton Pirates in a conference matchup at the HU Convocation Center in Hampton, Virginia. MSU will enter Saturday’s contest attempting to rebound from a 78-70 2OT loss at home against Savannah State. DeWayne Jackson and Justin Black led the Bears with 18 points apiece. Hampton Pirates (5-10, 2-0) picked up their third straight win on Monday, beating Quinnipiac 70-64 at the HU Convocation Center. Emmanuel Okoroba and Deron Powers (the reigning MEAC Rookie of the Week) led the Pirates with 16 points. The meeting with Hampton will be the 67th all-time between the schools, with the Pirates leading the head-to-head series, 39-27.

Bear Bits:
• The Bears are looking for its first win against Hampton since January 16, 2012 at Hill Field House.

• Coach Todd Bozeman has directed the Bears to the most regular-season conference wins with 97.

• After opening the season with a 71 point effort in a win against UTSA, the Bears have gone 4-9 while averaging 67 points and 43 percent shooting.

• Morgan State, who shot 67.6 percent from the line last season, continues to have hard times from the stripe … through the first 13 games the Bears are ranked last in the conference by shooting 59.5 percent (184-309 FT).

• The Bears, who held South Carolina State to 2 of 9 from 3-point range, have allowed an average of 73 points and opponents are shooting 33 percent from 3-point territory.

• Morgan State shot a season-high 53.3 percent against South Carolina State and a season best 65.0 percent from the stripe, with 11 steals versus the South Carolina Gamecocks.

• DeWayne Jackson has scored 187 points in 13 games and ranks among the MEAC’s scoring leaders ranked No. 6 (14.4 ppg).

• Justin Black was just shy of posting a triple-double at Liberty. The junior guard finished with a career-high 12 rebounds to go along with nine points and nine assists … he has been the Bears leading scorer in 4 of the last five games.

• DeWayne Jackson is ranked among the top theft artists in school history. Jackson has collected 147 steals with the Bears and currently ranks No. 5 (No. 17 in the nation). The school record for career steals is held by Terrence Wright (1992-96) with 186 career steals … Jackson is 41 steals away from becoming the school’s new leader.

• Morgan State’s Thair Heath has missed only four shots through the first 11 games of the season … Heath is 12-of-16 (75%) from the floor.

• Shaquille Duncan leads the Bears in blocked shots. The sophomore ranks No. 4 (26) in the MEAC by averaging 2.2 blocks per game.

• The combination of DeWayne JacksonAnthony Hubbard and Justin Black have provided almost 60 percent of the scoring for the Bears so far this season.

• The Bears’ first 10 games of the 2012-13 season were on the road where they finished 3-7.

• Morgan State has used the lineup of Heath, Hubbard, Chiles, Jackson and Bozeman for six of the Bears first 12 contests.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (March 6, 2012) – The Bears’ struggles with converting field goals was their undoing at the 2012 MEAC Tournament.  Hampton found their stride with their three-point shooting and Darrion Pellum stepped up late to help them defeat the Bears 69-65 in the first round action of the MEAC Tournament. MSU was very much in the game despite converting only four of 32 field goals in the first half. The Bears outrebounded Hampton by a 48-35 margin that included 21 offensive boards.

March 6, 2012 – The Bears’ struggles with converting field goals was their undoing at the 2012 MEAC Tournament.  Hampton found their stride with their three-point shooting and Darrion Pellum stepped up late to help them defeat the Bears 69-65 in the first round action of the MEAC Tournament. MSU was very much in the game despite converting only four of 32 field goals in the first half. The Bears outrebounded Hampton by a 48-35 margin that included 21 offensive boards.

Morgan State was picked to finish third in the 2012-13 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference men’s basketball preseason poll behind Savannah State and Delaware State.

Morgan State senior DeWayne Jackson was selected to the Preseason All-MEAC First Team by the conference head coaches and sports information directors. Junior center Ian Chiles was selected to the Second Team.

Morgan State will face six teams this season that the program has never met in its basketball history. The first time opponents are: UTSA, Old Dominion, Holy Cross, South Carolina, Illinois State and San Diego. The Bears do not see a familiar foe until the Nov. 29 matchup at Liberty (MSU leads, 1-0), their fifth game of the season. The other five opponents MSU previously has played are University of Virginia (trails, 0-1), Loyola Marymount (leads, 2-0), and Saint Joseph’s (trails, 0-1).

DeWayne Jackson is the lone returning senior who saw action for Morgan State last year. There are seven (7) juniors, four (4) sophomores and two (2) freshmen on the Bears roster.

The Bears will look to rebound from last year’s dismal season in which the Bears recorded a 9-20 finish. It marked Todd Bozeman‘s worst season as a head coach, and it was Morgan State’s worst season since going 4-26 in 2005-06.

Morgan State senior DeWayne Jackson was selected to the Preseason All-MEAC First Team by the conference head coaches and sports information directors. Junior center Ian Chiles was selected to the Second Team.

DeWayne Jackson (1,343, 448 rebs., 149 asts) needs 11 points to surpass former teammate Kevin Thompson (1,364 points – 2009-12) to become the school’s No. 11 all-time leading scorer. Jackson is one of three Bears on MSU’s all-time scoring list who have been coached by Todd BozemanKevin Thompson (2009-12) ranks No. 9 (1,487 points) and Reggie Holmes (2007-10) is the school’s all-time scoring leader with 2,051 points.

Morgan State has eight players from the Metropolitan-D.C. area, including one from Baltimore. Senior DeWayne Jackson (Bowie High) and sophomore Blake Bozeman (Solebury Prep) are both from Bowie. Transfer guard Daryl Traynham is from Melwood (Wise High), walk-on Daon Riley is from Severn (Old Mill High), and Cedric Blossom is from Columbia (Montrose Christian). Anthony Hubbard is a product of Woodbridge (Va.), while junior Justin Black attended DeMatha High and Donte Pretlow was a standout at Dunbar High in Baltimore.

Todd Bozeman, now in his seventh season as head coach of the Bears, has an overall win percentage of .550 (115-94) after 209 games at Morgan State. That winning mean is the second highest among 15 head coaches in the history of the Morgan State men’s basketball program. Nathaniel Frazier’s winning percentage of .578 (166-121) is the highest percentage in Morgan State history.

During his tenure in Baltimore, Todd Bozeman has coached seven (7) different players to All-Conference honors, including four Players of the Year selections: Ron Timus (2007 2nd Team), Boubacar Coly (2008 Defensive POTY, 1st Team), Jamar Smith (2008 Offensive POTY, 1st Team), Marquise Kately (2008 & 2009 2nd Team), Reggie Holmes (2007 All-Rookie, 2008 2nd Team, 2009 Offensive POTY, 2009 & 2010 1st Team), Kevin Thompson (2009 All-Rookie, 2010 Defensive POTY, 2010 1st Team, 2011 2nd Team), DeWayne Jackson (Rookie of the Year, 2011 1st Team).

In the first 13 games of the season, three Bears average more than 12 points a game DeWayne Jackson leads with 14.4 points per game, while Justin Black is averaging 13.4 ppg. Anthony Hubbard is averaging 12.1 points and 6.7 rebounds on the boards.

Senior DeWayne Jackson is filling the stat sheet in the early season, averaging 14.4 points (ranked No. 7), 4.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists (ranked No. 10) and 2.4 steals (ranked No. 1) per game. Jackson has also registered 10 blocks. He has recorded 12 double-digit scoring games, including a season-high 32-point effort at Virginia (Dec. 19).

Junior guard Justin Black has been one of the most consistent players for the Bears this season. The 6-foot-2 guard is among the MEAC’s leading scorers (Ranked No. 10 -13.4 ppg) and has scored double-figures 9 of 13 games, including the last five contests. The Dunbar HS product is averaging an impressive 17.5 points and 11 of 12 (91%) from the free throw line thru a pair of MEAC games (17 pts vs. S.C. State and 18 pts vs. Savannah State) and has been in the starting lineup the last three games.

The Bears will continue the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference schedule when they travel to face the reigning MEAC champion Spartans of Norfolk State at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 21 at Echols Hall.

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Morgan wraps regular season with visit from Hampton

Posted on 16 November 2012 by WNST Staff

Morgan State (3-6, 2-4 MEAC) continues the 2012 season play in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup against Hampton on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET at Hughes Stadium.  The Pirates are under the leadership of fourth-year head coach Donovan Rose. The Pirates (2-7, 2-5) are coming off a 35-27 loss against Delaware State.  The Bears were beat 30-0 against Norfolk State at William “Dick” Price Stadium.

• The Bears and Pirates will meet for the 62nd time since 1930. Morgan State leads the series 36-23-2.
•  Nov. 19, 2011 – the Bears fell, 42-18, to Hampton in a game that knocked the Bears to 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Hampton’s freshmen quarterback duo of Travis Champion and Bradford Hudson were solid. Champion completed 13-of-17 passes for 192 yards and tossed three touchdowns, while Hudson was 6-of-13 for 59 yards and threw a touchdown. MSU posted 311 total yards on offense, while the Pirates finished with 405.
• The last time the Pirates played in Hughes Stadium was on Nov. 20, 2010 … Morgan State managed just 10 first downs and 142 yards of total offense, giving up the game-winning touchdown on a 23-yard pass from David Legree to Javaris Brown with 46 seconds left in a 21-16 loss to Hampton. Morgan appeared to have had the game in hand, taking a 16-15 lead with 1:42 left on a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Delonte Williams, before allowing the Pirates to drive 78 yards on seven plays in under a minute.

Travis Davidson currently ranks 3rd in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in rushing with 877 yards (87.7 avg/g). He also ranks No. 1 the MEAC in scoring (78 Pts).
•  QB Robert Council had a rough outing for the Bears at Norfolk State … he completed just 4 of 12 passes 38 yards, and was picked off three times, including one that was returned 15 yards by Deon King for a touchdown.
•  Cornerback Joe Rankin registered his 9th interception of his career, picking off Savannah State quarterback Antonio Bostic in the 1st quarter…He currently is tied for first in the MEAC in INTs with four in 10 games…he also ranks T-No. 3 in passes defended (10) with his freshman teammate DaShaun Summers (6 pass breakups & 2 INTs).
• The MSU defense has collected 11 interceptions (ranked No. 5 in MEAC) through the first 10 games of 2012.
•  The Bears enter Saturday’s contest as the MEAC’s No. 6 ranked scoring offense (21.2 avg/g).
•  True freshman LB Elandon Roberts currently ranks T-No. 2 in the MEAC in tackles by posting 88 tackles with one game left on the schedule. … he recorded a season-high 16 tackles against Delaware State on Oct. 25. Roberts was also added to the 2012 Jerry Rice Award Watch List. The selection puts Roberts among the top freshmen players in the country, adding further recognition to the linebacker’s outstanding first season.
•  Four of the Bears’ losses have been by a total of 10 points – an average of 2.5 points per game.

• The Pirates enter Week 10 coming off a 35-27 loss against Delaware State to drop to 2-7 overall and 2-5 in conference play.
• In 2011, Hampton finished with a 7-4 overall record and 5-3 in the MEAC.
Travis Champion leads the Pirates offense this season. Champion, a 6-2, 218-pounder from Moreno Valley (Calif.) has completed 117 of 191 for 1,223 yards and eight touchdowns, including nine interceptions. He currently ranks No. 3 in passing average (174.7 and No. 6 in pass efficiency (119.4/g).
• Through the first 10 games, RB Jeremiah Schwartz (5-11, 235) is the MEAC’s leading rusher (Ranks 12th in the FCS). The true freshman from Orlando (Fla.) has recorded 167 carries for 930 yards (5.6 avg), including nine TDs.  He rushed for a game-high 136 yards against Delaware State last Saturday. He has rushed for over 100 yards in six of the last 10 games, including a 201 yard outing against Bethune-Cookman.
• MSU’s offense will have to account for the Pirates’ linebacker Delbert Tyler. The junior currently ranks among the league leaders with 75 tackles (ranks 7th), to go along with 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks … he had a season-high 14 tackle outing against Bethune-Cookman.
• The Bears’ defensive unit will face a Hampton line that ranks No. 5 in the league in rushing by averaging 138.9 per contest.
• Through 10 games, the Pirates offense ranks 7th in the MEAC in scoring by posting 21.2 points per contest and ranks 5th in total offense (322.1/g).

Travis Davidson needs to gain 35 rushing yards to surpass Craig Nelson at No. 9 on the school’s all-time rushing list. “Juice” currently has 1,563 career rushing yards.

•  The Bears having a 300-yard passing game for the first time since October 8, 2011. In Week 6, Morgan State defeated Savannah State 44-17 and Seth Higgins, Nate Furrha and Robert Council combined for 16-of-26 passes for 318 yards and five TDs.
•  Quarterback Robert Council needs just 25 yards to reach 1,000 passing yards for the season.
•  Cornerback Joe Rankin registering an interception would mark his fifth of the season and the 10th of his career.  He would need to collect six more to surpass Joe Fowlkes for the school record.  Fowlkes posted 15 INTs during his career (1975-78).
•  Running back Travis Davidson rushing for 100 yards or more for the eighth time in his career.

The Bears are 10-20 in November games since the start of the 2002 season and 3-8 at home that month.

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Navy aims to extend win streak Saturday at ECU

Posted on 26 October 2012 by WNST Staff

Game 8 Navy (4-3) at East Carolina (5-3)
Date and Kickoff Oct. 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm ET
Location Greenville, N.C. | Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (50,000)
Television Fox College Sports
TV Talent Adam Alexander (play-by-play), Gary Reasons (analyst), Leslie McCaslin (sideline)

Setting the Stage
• Navy and East Carolina will meet on the gridiron for the fourth time when they square off Saturday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (50,000).  Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm.
• East Carolina won last year’s game in a thriller, 38-35, on Homecoming in Annapolis. Back-up quarterback Trey Miller came off the bench to throw 59 and 37-yard touchdown passes to give Navy a 35-31 lead, but ECU won the game on a three-yard touchdown run by Reggie Bullock with 2:14 left to play.
• Navy’s last trip to Greenville resulted in a 76-35 victory over East Carolina on Nov. 6, 2010.
• Navy enters the weekend having won three consecutive games overall and two straight on the road.  The last time Navy won four in a row came at the end of the 2010 season when the Mids won at East Carolina, beat Central Michigan and Arkansas State at home and then beat Army in Philadelphia.  Navy last won three straight road games in 2009 when the Mids won at Wake Forest, at Air Force and at Northern Illinois.
• Saturday’s game will be televised nationally by Fox College Sports with Adam Alexander, Gary Reasons and Leslie McCaslin calling the action.

Scouting East Carolina
• The Pirates are 5-3 on the year with victories over Appalachian State (35-13), Southern Miss (24-14), UTEP (28-18), Memphis (41-7) and UAB (42-35). The Pirates have lost to South Carolina (48-10), North Carolina (27-6) and UCF (40-20).
• Quarterback Shane Carden has completed 141 of his 219 passes for 1,685 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
• Carden’s favorite target is wide receiver Justin Hardy, who has 51 catches for 749 yards and eight touchdowns.  Hardy is tied for 18th in the country in receiving yards per game (93.6).
• Running back Vintavious Cooper is the leading rusher with 630 yards on 111 carries with three touchdowns.
• The defense is led by Jeremy Grove, who has 55 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.  Damon Magazu has recorded 48 tackles and two pass break-ups.
• ECU ranks 103rd in the country in rushing offense (117.5), 41st in passing offense (265.0), 78th in total offense (382.5) and 77th in scoring offense (25.8).
• The Pirates rank 32nd in rush defense (123.1), 102nd in pass defense (269.5), 61st in total defense (392.6) and 56th in scoring defense (25.3).

The Last Time … 
East Carolina 38, Navy 35    OCT. 22, 2011 | ANNAPOLIS, MD.
• East Carolina quarterback Dominique Davis completed 40 of his 45 pass attempts for 372 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Pirates to a 38-35 victory over Navy in front of 34,612 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Homecoming.
• Davis completed an NCAA-record 26-consecutive passes to start the game as the Pirates built a 17-7 halftime advantage thanks to touchdown passes of three yards to Lance Lewis and 10 yards to Michael Bowman.
• The Mids lost starting quarterback Kriss Proctor to an injured left elbow midway through the second quarter when he was hit late by East Carolina’s Matt Milner.  Proctor was replaced by sophomore Trey Miller, who moved the ball down to the ECU 38-yard line before fumbling the snap and East Carolina’s Michael Brooks recovered it.  ECU would score a touchdown on the ensuing series.
• Navy’s Marcus Thomas returned the second half kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to cut the ECU lead to 17-14.  It was Navy’s first kickoff return for a TD since Reggie Campbell returned one against Army in 2007.  Meanwhile, it was the fourth-longest return in school history.
• After the Pirates answered with a one-yard touchdown run by Reggie Bullock, the Mids cut the lead to three again when Alexander Teich took the toss from Miller and scored from the one to make the score 24-21.
• Bullock, however, would answer again for East Carolina, this time scoring on a 13-yard run with 14:53 left in the game.
• Navy would come right back and make it 31-28 when Miller hit Brandon Turner with a 59-yard touchdown pass.  The Mids took their first lead of the game since going up 7-0 when Miller threw a strike to Matt Aiken for a 37-yard touchdown pass to give Navy a 35-31 lead with 7:51 left.
• ECU took the ensuing kickoff and marched 77 yards in 15 plays, milking 5:37 off the clock, and took a 38-35 lead on a three-yard touchdown run by Bullock.
• The Mids got the ball back at their own 28 with 2:14 left and Miller quickly went to work.
• On the most controversial call of the game, Miller hit Aiken down the left sideline at the two-yard line on third down. Aiken made a spectacular grab, secured the ball, got two feet down, turned and dove over the goal line.  After breaking the plane, he landed a yard inside the end zone and the ball came loose.  The officials on the field called it an incomplete pass, however Navy challenged the ruling on the field.  The official in the replay booth confirmed the ruling on the field setting up a third-and-10.  Miller hit Aiken over the middle for eight yards with 22 seconds left giving Navy plenty of time to get the field goal team on the field.
• With eight seconds left, the field goal team was in place. Teague got the ball off fast and high, but it clanged off the right goal post, sending the Mids to their fifth-straight loss.

Navy Vs. Conference USA
• Navy is 25-28-1 (.472) all-time against teams currently in Conference USA.
• Navy, Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF are all future members of the BIG EAST.

The Tar Heel State    
• Navy has 12 players from the state of North Carolina on its roster.
• Sophomore corner Eric Johnson (Fayetteville), sophomore quarterback Greg Bryant (Fayetteville), junior wide receiverHayden Maples (Raleigh), freshman corner Myer Krah (Durham), sophomore safety Chris Ferguson (Angier), freshman slot back Jamaal Williams (Durham), junior wide receiver Brantley Horton (Cleveland), sophomore outside linebackerObi Uzoma (Wake Forest), senior defensive end Collin Sturdivant, junior offensive tackle Adam Geuss (Charlotte), senior offensive tackle Andrew Barker (High Point) and senior wide receiver John O’Boyle (Charlotte).

Navy Quick Hitters
• Opening the year against Notre Dame in Dublin and at Penn State was the toughest opening two games in school history.
• In the last 40 years, Navy has started the year with two opponents from BCS conferences just eight times and only twice (2005 and 1982) did the Mids go on to have a winning record.
• Navy has been the dominant Service Academy over the last decade going 18-2 against Army (10-0) and Air Force (8-2), winning seven-consecutive Commander-In-Chief’s Trophies from 2003-09 and going to eight straight bowl games from 2003-10.
• Navy will join the BIG EAST for football only starting in 2015.
• Since 2003, Navy has won 19 games against schools from a BCS conference.  The 19 wins against BCS schools during that time period are the most in the country by a non-BCS school.  Navy’s wins against BCS schools have come against Vanderbilt (`03, `04), Duke (`04, `05, `06, `07), Rutgers (`04, `08), Stanford (`06), Connecticut (`06), Pitt (`07), Notre Dame (`07, `09, `10), Wake Forest (`08, `09, `10), Missouri (`09) and Indiana (`12).
• Navy’s three losses this season (Notre Dame, Penn State and San Jose State) have come at the hands of opponents that are a combined 17-4 (.810) on the year.  Notre Dame (7-0) is currently ranked fifth in the country, while Penn State (5-2) is receiving votes in the AP Poll (it is ineligible for the USA Today/Coaches Poll).  San Jose State (5-2) was receiving votes before being knocked off by Utah State, 49-27, two week ago.
• Navy’s victory over Indiana last Saturday was the Mids’ first over a Big Ten opponent since winning at Illinois in 1979 and the first win over a Big Ten opponent in Annapolis since defeating Purdue in 1926.
• Navy has 12 players from the state of North Carolina on its roster.
• Navy is 25-28-1 (.472) all-time against teams currently in Conference USA.
• Over the last 11 years, Navy has consistently been one of the nation’s top rushing teams, never finishing lower than sixth.  The Mids are currently 13th in the country in rushing (236.7).
• The Navy defense has given up just 79 points over the last five games (20 quarters plus one overtime), allowing three points to VMI, 12 to San Jose State, 21 to Air Force, 13 to Central Michigan and 30 to Indiana. It is the fewest points allowed over a five-game stretch since 2009.
• For the seventh year in a row, the Naval Academy finished in the top five in the country for graduating NCAA student-athletes on the FBS level.  Navy graduated 100 percent of its student-athletes in six of the 20 NCAA sports reported.  Overall, 96 percent of Navy’s student-athletes that enrolled from 2000-03 graduated.
• Senior outside linebacker Keegan Wetzel scored a perfect 1600 on his SAT and is believed to be the only current FBS player in the country to accomplish such a feat.  He carries a 3.89 GPA in systems engineering and is an Academic All-America candidate and a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete-of-the-Year candidate.  Wetzel has also been a force on the field for the Midshipmen, recording 36 tackles, a team-high 8.5 tackles for a loss and a team-high four sacks.  He has also recovered a fumble and broken up a pass.
• Keenan Reynolds is the first freshman to start at quarterback for Navy since Jim Kubiak started five games in 1991 and is just the third freshman in school history to start at quarterback (the other was Alton Grizzard in 1987). Reynolds is 2-0 as a starting quarterback with wins over Central Michigan and Indiana.  Kubiak won just one game as a freshman starter and Grizzard won two.
• Navy has played 12 true freshmen so far this year, which is tied as the ninth most in the country.
• Navy has had 17 players make their first career starts this fall, which is the fourth most in the country.
• Sophomore punter Pablo Beltran is off to a great start in 2012, averaging 45.1 yards per punt (25 punts). He would stand 10th in the country in punting if he qualified (must average 3.1 punts per game).
• Freshman Nick Sloan is one of just 16 true freshman kickers starting in the FBS this year.  He is 7-for-7 on field goals and 17-for-17 on extra-points. He is one of just two kickers in the country that has not missed a kick all year (field goals or extra-points). The other is Jeremy Shelly of No. 1-ranked Alabama.
• Navy owns a 6-3 record all-time in overtime games, winning six of its last seven.
• Navy owns a 79-43 (.648) record over the last 10 years after posting a 3-30 (.091) mark from 2000-02. The 79 wins are tied as the 21st most in the county during that time period.
• Senior guard Josh Cabral and slot back Gee Gee Greene have started 32 consecutive games for the Midshipmen, while senior linebacker Matt Warrick has started 21 in a row and senior safety Tra’ves Bush 17 straight.
• Navy has turned the ball over 12 times this season (nine lost fumbles and three interceptions) after committing just 15 turnovers in 2011 (nine lost fumbles and six interceptions).  The Mids have not turned the ball over in the last three games.
• Navy is 28-4 (.875) under Ken Niumatalolo when scoring first and 8-20 (.286) when the opponent scores first.
• Under Niumatalolo, the Mids are 22-3 (.880) when leading after the first quarter and 14-21 (.400) when trailing or tied after the first stanza.
• Navy owns a 17-7 (.708) record in games played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium under Niumatalolo and is 19-17 (.528) away from home.
• Niumatalolo holds Navy coaching records for most wins in the first two seasons (18), three seasons (27) and four seasons (32) of a career.

Defensive Scores    
• Jordan Drake’s 24-yard interception return for a touchdown against Indiana was Navy’s second interception return for a touchdown this year.  Matt Warrick had a seven-yard interception return for a touchdown against VMI in the third game of the season.
• The two defensive scores are the most by a Navy defense in the same season since 2008 when Navy had three defensive touchdowns (Ram Vela interception return against Army, Clint Sovie fumble return against Temple andRashawn King fumble return against Wake Forest).
• It is the first time that Navy has returned two interceptions for a touchdown in the same season since 2004 when David Mahoney (Rutgers) and Josh Smith (Army) turned the trick.

Looking For Four-Straight Wins
• Navy will be looking to win its fourth consecutive game for the first time since the end of the 2010 season when the Midshipmen won four in a row to end the regular season (76-35 over East Carolina, 38-37 over Central Michigan, 35-19 over Arkansas State and 31-17 over Army) .

Keeping The Opponents Off The Scoreboard
• The Navy defense has given up just 79 points over the last five games (20 quarters plus one overtime), allowing three points to VMI, 12 to San Jose State, 21 to Air Force, 13 to Central Michigan and 30 to Indiana.
• It is the fewest points Navy has allowed over a five-game stretch since 2009 when the Mids surrendered a combined 79 points to Notre Dame (21), Delaware (18), Hawai’i (24), Army (3) and Missouri (13).

Navy vs. the BCS / Non-BCS
• Since 2003, Navy has won 19 games against schools from a BCS conference.  The 19 wins against BCS schools during that time period, which have come against 10 different teams, are the most in the country by a non-BCS school.
• Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo has eight wins against teams from a BCS conference since taking over the program at the end of the 2007 season.
• Navy’s 19 wins against BCS schools have come against Vanderbilt (`03, `04), Duke (`04, `05, `06, `07), Rutgers (`04, `08), Stanford (`06), Connecticut (`06), Pitt (`07), Notre Dame (`07, `09, `10), Wake Forest (`08, `09, `10), Missouri (`09) and Indiana (`12).

Freshman Kicker
• Freshman Nick Sloan beat out five other kickers in preseason camp to earn the job as Navy’s kicker on field goals and PATs.  He made his first career field goal attempt from 26 yards against Notre Dame and also made his only PAT attempt.
• He is 7-for-7 on field goals and 17-for-17 on extra-points for the year. He is one of only two kickers in the country that has not missed a kick (extra point or field goal) this fall.  The other is Jeremy Shelly, the starting kicker for No. 1-ranked Alabama.
• Sloan is one of just 16 true freshman kickers starting in the FBS this year.  His 38 points are tied for the ninth most by a freshman this season.
• He is the first freshman to start at kicker for Navy since 1996 when Tim Shubzda started multiple games, including the opener against Rutgers.  Shubzda connected on four-of-six field goal attempts and all six of his PAT’s as a freshman, splitting time with Jason Covarubbias and Tom Vanderhorst.

Close Calls
• Navy lost five games in 2011 by a total of 11 points.  The five losses by eight points or less were tied for the fifth most in the country and cost the Mids a ninth-consecutive bowl game.
• The Mids are 2-0 this year in close encounters, knocking off Air Force by seven in overtime and beating Indiana by one.
• The Mids are 16-13 (.552) under head coach Ken Niumatalolo in games decided by eight points or less.

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Davis more than folk hero for Orioles in surprising 2012 season

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Luke Jones

Chris Davis might be the best example of what the 2012 Orioles are all about.

Entering the season with untapped potential and more failure than success at the big-league level, both Davis and the Orioles have blossomed in the first 2 1/2 months of the season, surpising critics and even the most optimistic fans in what’s been Baltimore’s best start since 2005.

The 26-year-old Davis has morphed into a fan favorite in his first full season with the Orioles, not only becoming one of the team’s most productive hitters but providing one of the craziest memories in club history when he pitched two innings to earn the win in a 17-inning marathon at Fenway Park on May 6.

Add a broken-bat home run against Pittsburgh last week and his first games in right field at the big-league level this past weekend in Atlanta and you have all the makings of a folk hero in Baltimore.

Much like the 39-27 Orioles, at times, it’s difficult to believe what you’re seeing when watching the designated hitter/first baseman/right fielder/pitching extraordinaire.

But there’s no understating how important Davis’ emergence has been this season, especially with stints on the disabled list by Nolan Reimold, Mark Reynolds, and Nick Markakis. Center fielder Adam Jones has emerged as a superstar by leading the Orioles in batting average, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, and runs scored, but Davis ranks second or third in all five of those categories in becoming a legitimate middle-of-the-order threat in the lineup.

His 12 home runs and 60 strikeouts in 211 at-bats entering Monday night aren’t overly surprising given Davis’ reputation when the Orioles acquired him in the Koji Uehara trade last July, but his .294 average defies what we saw over his last three years in Texas where Davis went from looking like a future star in 2008 to a player fitting the mold of a “Quad-A” hitter before being dealt.

The raw power has never come into question — evident by his broken-bat homer to right field off Pittsburgh reliever Tommy Watson last Wednesday — as Davis hit 17 home runs and batted .285 in 295 at-bats during his rookie season with the Rangers in 2008. However, the left-handed slugger quickly earned the reputation of a hitter who struck out too much, didn’t walk enough, and struggled to handle plus-fastballs in the major leagues. Those flaws led his batting average to plummet to .238 in 2009 and .192 in 2010, causing Davis to bounce back and forth between the Rangers and Triple A in his final three years in Texas.

It was difficult to project Davis as anything more than a less-patient, less-powerful version of Reynolds entering the season, which didn’t speak highly for his potential when considering how flawed Reynolds is as a player.

In 2012, Davis hasn’t made any dramatic changes to his overall approach — 60 strikeouts to just 13 walks — but his improvement against plus-fastballs has led to the substantial increase in average. A career .204 hitter in 255 career at-bats against power pitchers (those in the top third in the league in strikeouts plus walks) entering 2012, Davis has handled them at a .286 rate in 42 at-bats this season.

Davis has also handled left-handed pitching at a far more successful clip, batting .327 in 53 plate appearances against southpaws in 2012 after hitting only .236 against lefties in 275 career at-bats entering 2012.

While his high strikeout and low walk totals aren’t indicative of a hitter that will continue to hover around the .300 mark, Davis has been a model of consistency through his first 57 games this season. Aside from an abysmal seven-game stretch in May in which he went 3-for-28 and struck out 14 times, the left-hander has consistently sat somewhere between .290 and .310 as we reach the final two weeks of June. His .355 batting average for balls put in play indicates Davis has been fortunate, but it’s actually lower than the .366 combined clip he posted last year for the Rangers and Orioles.

When seeing the ball well, Davis shows exceptional power to straightaway center and the opposite field has eight of his 12 home runs have traveled in either of those directions.

After Markakis was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a broken hamate bone, manager Buck Showalter turned to Davis to hold down the No. 3 spot in the order as the Orioles were depleted even further offensively. He’s hit only .206 in 34 at-bats batting third, but the lineup shift could present an interesting decision for Showalter when Markakis returns — projected to be some time during the next homestand, according to the right fielder.

Should Davis remain around the .300 mark, would you consider keeping him in the third spot and moving Markakis to the No. 2 slot? The move would allow Showalter to drop J.J. Hardy in the order, which would make sense with the shortstop hitting only .253 despite 11 home runs.

Whatever the Baltimore skipper decides, it’s a good problem to have.

For a team suffering its fair share of injuries and not receiving the same power numbers it enjoyed from Reynolds a season ago, Davis’ emergence has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the season.

His willingness to do whatever is asked of him reflects the spirit of the 2012 Orioles.

Need someone to pitch? Not a problem.

You want to put me in right field in a National League ballpark, even though I’ve never played there in the big leagues? Sure thing.

Whatever it takes to win.

Much like watching the Orioles, you keep waiting and wondering if it’s going to last, but Davis has given no indication of slowing down any time soon.

And he just might be realizing the potential so many saw in him when he first arrived in the big leagues.






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For one night anyway, Roberts looked as though he’d never left

Posted on 13 June 2012 by Luke Jones

He has a few more gray hairs and now sports an oversized batting helmet with double ear flaps, but the rest of Brian Roberts looked very much the same in making his long-awaited return to the Orioles in an 8-6 win over the Pirates on Tuesday.

For anyone who’s followed the second baseman’s long, painful road to recovery from concussion-related symptoms over the last 13 months, simply seeing his name on the lineup card was enough to feel good for the 34-year-old who’s spent the last 12 seasons in Baltimore.

What Roberts provided in his first game back was simply the icing on the cake as he went 3-for-4 and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in his first major league game since May 16, 2011. But make no mistake, the veteran infielder was never satisfied with simply making it back to the diamond, especially with the Orioles playing their best baseball in seven years and entering the evening a game behind the first-place New York Yankees in the American League East.

The last thing Roberts wanted to do was mess up what’s been a good thing in Baltimore, as he admitted to having bad dreams the night before returning to the Camden Yards diamond.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Roberts said. “I wasn’t expecting three hits. I was just trying to go out there and — as cliched as it sounds — try to have good at-bats and try to do something that would help us win a game. I really didn’t want to be part of coming in here and losing five or six in a row. That was probably my biggest fear more than anything.”

The tests came immediately as Roberts singled in the first inning after the kind of six-pitch at-bat the leadoff hitter was famous for over his many seasons with the Orioles. He then proceeded to dive back into the bag on a few pickoff attempts.

He slid hard into second base to break up a potential double play in the eighth, showing no hesitation in his approach as many wondered if he would.

You can only take away so much from one game, and the Orioles and their fans will continue to hold their breath on whether the concussion symptoms resurface as they did early in the 2011 season. But Roberts passed another test with flying colors in his first game back, looking as aggressive and capable as ever.

“I think he’ll pick his spots,” said manager Buck Showalter, who plans to use Roberts at second base every day unless circumstances dictate otherwise. “But this game’s challenging enough physically. I’ve seen a lot of guys have more trouble injury-wise when they’re playing at a different clip. I don’t think you’re going to see Brian change a lot of things that he does that makes him what he is.”

If you’re a fan of redemption stories, you couldn’t help but smile seeing Roberts run onto the field after knowing how he even struggled to live a normal life at different points over the last year. It was an ordeal no amount of money — even the $10 million paid to Roberts annually — could cure despite the ignorant cries of those questioning his integrity and desire to play at various points during his recovery. The infamous occasion in which Roberts struck himself in the head with a bat in late September of the 2010 season was a mistake, not a premeditated scheme on which to hold a grudge as some detractors elected to do based on misplaced frustration.

Many inside and outside the organization understandably doubted whether Roberts would ever play again, wondering if his symptoms would ever dissipate or were part of a greater medical issue at work. It was human nature to try to examine what was happening — even with minds such as mine that were uneducated about the brain — but Tuesday should eliminate any doubts about the Baltimore second baseman’s will to play.

One three-hit night doesn’t mean the Orioles once again have the Brian Roberts of old, but it was another successful step — the latest of many the infielder has taken in recent months — for him to reclaim his regular spot as the club’s leadoff hitter and regular second baseman. And his reemergence would make the Orioles a better team than what they’ve already been over the season’s first 2 1/2 months.

For Roberts, the biggest example of feeling like a normal member of the club may have come in the moments after the game when center fielder Adam Jones — the ringleader for post-game antics — offered the shaving cream pie to the second baseman’s face in what’s become a customary practice after wins.

“After I wiped it off, all the fans were cheering around me,” said Roberts, whose voice cracked subtly at a few points during his post-game press conference. “I got a little emotional again. Talk about being a part of a team. I hadn’t felt like that in a long time.”

It was the perfect ending to a heartwarming night for the second baseman, who was greeted with a standing ovation by the sparse crowd at Camden Yards during his first at-bat.

Despite months of everyone — Roberts included — wondering if such a moment would ever take place, there he stood, ready to step in against Pittsburgh starter Brad Lincoln.

He was simply a baseball player again, no longer a cheerleader relegated to the dugout or the guy unable to move from his couch after another frustrating spell of dizziness.

“It took me a second to gather myself,” said Roberts in describing the warm reception. “It was very special and much appreciated. That’s for sure. Everyone has been so good to me here in my career. The fans have been so great and supportive of me the whole time.”

It was good to see that support on display once again.

And even better to witness the successful night that followed for the Orioles second baseman.

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Roberts to begin minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday

Posted on 22 May 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 7:30 p.m.)

BALTIMORE — A day after second baseman Brian Roberts expressed optimism that he was closer than ever to a return, the Orioles announced he will begin a long-awaited rehab assignment on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old Roberts will report to Double-A Bowie to begin a minor league rehab assignment, which the club hopes will lead to his return after a year-plus layoff. Roberts last played in a game on May 16, 2011 at Fenway Park.

“[I’m] excited, scared, a little bit of everything,” Roberts said. “It’s been a long time coming for sure. Sometimes it feels like two days and sometimes it feels like 10 years, but I’m extremely excited.”

Under major league baseball rules, Roberts has a maximum of 20 days for a rehab assignment as a position player. Manager Buck Showalter and Roberts said he will likely take the full amount of time before being activated.

Roberts will play second base and receive two or three at-bats in his first couple games. He also expects to serve as the designated hitter on occasion and will have some days off mixed in as well. Roberts said he’s viewing the 20-day period as his version of spring training.

He’s embracing the reality of once again playing baseball — even in the minor leagues — after simply struggling with his overall quality of life at different points over his recovery time.

“When there’s days where you’re laying on the couch and you really can’t even function, you’re not necessarily even thinking about baseball,” Roberts said. “There were days that [playing again] never even crossed my mind. I was just trying to get back to a normal life. As we continued to progress, I still had doubts about playing baseball, but I had more confidence in being able to live a productive and enjoyable life. Now, I’m beginning to think that playing baseball at a high level is a reality as well.”

The 20-day period would end on June 11, meaning Roberts could be in the lineup when the Orioles welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates to town for an interleague series on June 12.

 Listen to Roberts’ entire interview with the media prior to Tuesday’s game right here.

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Navy Home Football Games To Kick Off At 3:30PM, Air On CBS Sports Net

Posted on 25 April 2012 by WNST Staff

Navy Home Football Games To Kick At 3:30 PM And Will Be Televised Live By CBS Sports Network

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—The five home games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium will kickoff at 3:30 PM and will be televised live by CBS Sports Network.

Navy will kick-off the 2012 season on Sept. 1 in Dublin, Ireland against Notre Dame.  The game will be played at Aviva Stadium, located in the heart of Dublin, and marks the first time the stadium has hosted an American football game.

It will also be the first time in program history that Navy has opened up against Notre Dame and the second time the two teams have met in Dublin.  Navy played the Irish at Croke Park in Dublin in 1996.   The game will be broadcast by CBS Sports and kick at 2:00 PM in Dublin, which is 9:00 AM on the East Coast.

After a week off, the Mids will travel to Happy Valley on Sept. 15 to take on Bill O’Brien’s Penn State Nittany Lions.  It will be the first meeting between the two schools since 1974 when Navy shocked Penn State in State College, 7-6.   A kickoff time has not yet been announced by Penn State and the BIG Ten Conference.

VMI comes to town on Sept. 22 for the home opener at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It will be the ninth meeting between the two schools and the first since 2003 when Navy defeated the Keydets, 37-10, in the season opener.

The Mids will have revenge on their minds when San Jose State comes calling on Sept. 29. Last fall, the Spartans eliminated the Midshipmen from bowl contention with a 27-24 victory in San Jose.

Navy will travel to Colorado Springs, Colo. for the first leg of the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy on Oct. 6.  The Falcons won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy last year thanks to a 35-34 overtime victory over Navy in Annapolis.  Air Force and the Mountain West Conference have not yet released a game time.

The Mids will travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich. the following week, as Navy will play at Central Michigan on Friday, Oct. 12 at 8:00 PM ET on ESPN2.  It will be the first time Navy has played at Central Michigan and the first time Navy has played in the state of Michigan since 2006 when the Mids beat Eastern Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Indiana Hoosiers come to Annapolis the following week (Oct. 20) for Homecoming.  It will be just the third time in school history that the two teams have met and it will be Indiana’s first trip to Annapolis.  The Hoosiers will be the first Big 10 team to play at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium since Northwestern beat Navy in 2002.

East Carolina will play host to Navy on Oct. 27 in Greenville.  The Pirates knocked off Navy last year in a thriller, 38-35. East Carolina and Conference USA have not yet announced a game time.

Navy and Florida Atlantic will meet on the gridiron for the first time the following week as new head coach Carl Pelini brings his Owls North to Annapolis on Nov. 3.

Navy will make its first trip to Troy, Ala. on Nov. 10 when the Mids take on the Troy Trojans. Navy defeated Troy last year, 42-14.  Troy and the Sun Belt Conference have not yet announced a game time.

The home finale takes place on Nov. 17, when Dennis Franchione and the Texas State Bobcats come to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Senior Day.

The 2012 Army-Navy Game Presented by USAA will take place at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 8.  Navy leads the all-time series, 56-49-7, and has won a series-record 10-consecutive games against the Black Knights.  CBS has not announced a game time as of yet.

Season tickets are on sale now for $180.   Standing room only tickets for the grass hill located at the North end zone of Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium are $100 for the season and the Billy the Kid Package (age 12 and under) is $60 forstanding room only tickets for the grass hill.  Children two and under do not need a ticket unless the child is occupying a sea. You can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY or by going to www.navysports.com.

For information about how to get CBS Sports Network, including a full programming schedule, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com  

2012 Navy Football Schedule
Sept. 1                        vs. Notre Dame (Dublin, Ireland)
Sept. 15            at Penn State                               
Sept. 22            VMI
Sept. 29             at San Jose State
Oct. 6                        at Air Force
Oct. 13                        at Central Michigan
Oct. 20                        Indiana (Homecoming)
Oct. 27                        at East Carolina
Nov. 3                        Florida Atlantic
Nov. 10            at Troy
Nov. 17            Texas State
Dec. 8                        vs. Army (Philadelphia)

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Arrieta Roughed Up By Pirates in Final Spring Start

Posted on 31 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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Hunter Strong In Orioles Win Over Pirates

Posted on 26 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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Markakis Returns But Arrieta Rocked In Orioles Loss

Posted on 14 March 2012 by WNST Staff

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