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Navy rushes for 512 yards in 56-28 win over ECU

Navy rushes for 512 yards in 56-28 win over ECU

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) Keenan Reynolds rushed for three touchdowns and threw for two more, and Navy had a season-high 563 total yards in a 56-28 rout of East Carolina on Saturday.

Gee Gee Greene had 131 yards rushing while Reynolds scored on runs of 1, 1 and 2 yards. The Midshipmen quarterback also had TD throws of 15 yards to Casey Bolena and 20 yards to Geoffrey Whiteside while improving to 3-0 as Navy's starter.

Marcus Thomas added a 17-yard touchdown run and Noah Copeland scored from 5 yards out for Navy. The Midshipmen (5-3) rolled up a season-best 512 yards rushing and won their fourth straight. Playing on a field that was soaked because of the approaching Tropical Storm Sandy, Navy scored on eight of its 11 possessions.

Vintavious Cooper rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown and Reggie Bullock added two touchdown runs for the Pirates (5-4).

East Carolina was favored by a field goal and entered with one of Conference USA's top defenses, but gave up a season high in yards rushing well before halftime. It was Navy's biggest day both on the ground and on the scoreboard since its last visit to Greenville in 2010 - when it had 521 yards rushing in a 76-35 rout.

Navy pulled away by scoring the first five times it touched the ball in the second half. Reynolds ran in from 2 yards out to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Lance Ray fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Whiteside recovered at the East Carolina 29. Four plays later, Reynolds hit Bolena over the middle for just his second completion of the day to make it 35-14 with 8:09 left in the third. He added a 1-yard scoring sneak to push it to 42-14.

Reynolds's earlier 1-yard scoring run put the Midshipmen ahead for good at 21-14 with 2:04 to go before the break, and capped a first half in which their triple-option offense was nearly unstoppable except when they stopped themselves.

Navy gained positive yardage on all but four offensive plays in the half - including the final snap, when Reynolds took a knee - and its 244 yards rushing at the break were nearly 100 more than the most the Pirates had allowed in any full game this season.

East Carolina turned Navy's only mistake - Chip Thompson picked off Reynolds in the end zone - into the 2-yard touchdown run by Bullock that briefly tied it at 14. It came after Shane Carden pulled the Pirates to within 14-7 with a 9-yard scoring pass to Justin Hardy on the first play of the second quarter.

Carden finished 19 of 29 for 194 yards with an interception.

Navy was clicking early, producing touchdowns on its first two possessions. First, an untouched Thomas capped the Midshipmen's opening series by bursting through the right side to make it 7-0. Navy then went up by two touchdowns for the first time with 4 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter on Copeland's 5-yard scoring run.

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Lamar Jackson received congratulatory postgame texts from Doug Williams, Randall Cunningham

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USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson received congratulatory postgame texts from Doug Williams, Randall Cunningham

Lamar Jackson's first NFL start against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday will go down as one of the most memorable days of his career.

Going 13-of-19 for 150 yards in the air while rushing for 117 yards on 27 attempts is a pretty solid day for a rookie quarterback

With several days to reflect, one of Jackson's favorite parts of the 24-21 win was the congratulatory texts he received from two former quarterbacks.

"I got a text from Doug Williams and Randall Cunningham congratulating me," Jackson said Wednesday. "So, that was pretty cool."

Williams, who became the first African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins in 1987, and Randall Cunningham, who had a long career with the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, and Ravens, are seen as trailblazers by Jackson.

The rookie QB noted that he has been in contact with the two prior to earning the starting job in Week 11.

"Those are the guys that paved the way for us," Jackson added.

"Without those guys, you know, we probably wouldn't be in the situation we are [in]. So, hats of to those guys. Them congratulating me, from the GOATS, I'm like, 'yeah, that's cool.'

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Capitals return home still short-handed, but with momentum after strong road trip

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USA Today Sports Images

Capitals return home still short-handed, but with momentum after strong road trip

The Capitals return home to play the Chicago Blackhawks (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington) after a successful road trip (3-1-0), but will still be without forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie (upper-body injuries), who remain day-to-day, according to coach Todd Reirden.   

Here are four things to watch:

Holtby’s back

After missing three games with an upper-body injury of his own, Caps goalie Braden Holtby was thrown into the fire down 4-2 at Montreal on Monday. But he played lights out and matched Habs goalie Carey Price save-for-save, finishing with 22 as Washington rallied for a 5-4 overtime win. Holtby now feels good enough as he will start against the Blackhawks tonight. In his past four appearances, Holtby has stopped 116 of 122 shots on goal.

New-look Blackhawks

Chicago’s slow start cost Joel Quenneville his job on Nov. 6. An NHL coach getting fired is rarely news. But when it’s a guy who’s been in his post for more than a decade and has won three Stanley Cups it is still jarring. The results are mixed since Jeremy Colliton took over. Chicago lost his first two games behind the bench, but is 2-0-2 in its past four games. That’s a small step in the right direction, but the Blackhawks are in sixth place in the Central Division.

Wilsonnnnn!!!!!

This was supposed to be the day Tom Wilson returned to the lineup after his 20-game suspension. An arbitrator cut that short last week so Wilson played on all four games of the road trip and had a goal and four assists. Not a bad start. Wednesday he gets his first home game of the year and what should be a raucous reception from the faithful at Capital One Arena. 

Old mates

On Monday, the crowd at Bell Centre booed former Canadien Lars Eller, who promptly took the puck up ice and scored the game-winning goal in overtime. It was a great moment for a player who felt Montreal gave up on him way too soon when trading him to the Capitals. Michal Kempny knows how he feels. 

Languishing on the bench for most of last season in Chicago as a healthy scratch – he played just 31 games - Kempny sees his old team for the first time since helping Washington win a Stanley Cup. Quenneville is gone, but the defenseman would love to show the rest of the organization trading him was a mistake. 

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