• Jordan Simal

ECU @ NAVY Game Notes

Nov. 20, 2021

3:30 p.m.

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD


ECU dominated on the ground in their game-opening drive behind the legs of freshman running back Keaton Mitchell, who had 49 yards on just his first four carries to begin the game. He culminated the Pirates' drive with a 10-yard run to put ECU up early.

The drive went 75 yards on six plays, lasting 2:46.

NAVY 0, ECU 7.

Navy's senior running back Carlinos Acie took off on a 14-yard run to start off the first Navy offensive drive of the game, which stayed strong on the ground to begin the contest. A 27-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Tai Lavatai to senior wide receiver Mychal Cooper brought the Mids to the ECU six-yard line. The two connected again on a four-yard pass for the touchdown.

The drive went 78 yards on 10 plays, lasting 5:13.

NAVY 7, ECU 7.

The Pirates' offense picked up right where they left off, finding early success through the air on a 24-yard pass from junior quarterback Holton Ahlers to wide receiver Audie Omotosho. Ahlers saved his best play for last, however, as he found sophomore wide receiver Tyler Snead for a 40-yard touchdown to quickly give ECU the lead again.

The drive went 78 yards on seven plays, lasting 4:03.

NAVY 7, ECU 14.


Navy began the second quarter, with its running game still on fire. A 20-yard run by sophomore running back Kai Puailoa-Rojas carried the Midshipmen to the ECU 10. Then Lavatai threw his second four-yard touchdown pass of the day, this one to senior slotback Chance Warren to tie the game.

The drive went 75 yards on 11 plays, lasting 6:45.

NAVY 14, ECU 14.

Still in a shootout, the Pirates continued to dominate the Navy defense both on the ground and through the air. A key five-yard run on fourth down by freshman running back Rahjai Harris kept the Pirates’ drive alive and would lead to a 37-yard field goal by redshirt freshman kicker Owen Daffer to put ECU ahead once again.

The drive went 58 yards on 12 plays, lasting 5:44.

NAVY 14, ECU 17.

Navy responded with key runs from Acie and Warren before ECU committed a roughing the passer penalty that brought the Midshipmen to the Pirates’ 37-yard line. Just four plays later, senior fullback Isaac Ruoss found the endzone on a 19-yard touchdown run to give Navy its first lead of the game.

The drive went 70 yards on seven plays, lasting 3:18.

NAVY 21, ECU 17.

With the Navy defense seemingly holding back the ECU offense for the first time in the game, a 54-yard pass from Ahlers to sophomore wide receiver C.J. Johnson was paired with a critical face mask penalty against the Navy defense to set up the Pirates inside the Midshipmen red zone. On a 4th and 2 at the Navy four-yard line, the Pirates would find the endzone on a short pass from Ahlers to junior tight end Ryan Jones.

The drive went 85 yards on seven plays, lasting 1:53.

NAVY 21, ECU 24.


After going three-for-three on offensive possessions in the first half, the Navy offense was stuffed by ECU on their opening drive in the third quarter. The Pirates, looking for their first sizable lead of the evening, effortlessly drove down the field against the Navy defense.

Ahlers opened the quarter going six-for-six for 45 yards and had a hot hand coming out of the half, leading the Pirates all the way downfield to the Navy two-yard line. Unfortunately for ECU, Ahler’s first incomplete pass of the game was a shot to the endzone on fourth down, leading to a turnover on downs for ECU.

NAVY 21, ECU 24.


Following a punt by ECU, Navy needed just one play to retake the lead, as Acie raced 90 yards to the house for his first career touchdown.

The drive took only 13 seconds to end in a score.

NAVY 28, ECU 24.

Ahlers and the Pirates were quick to start moving the football again, converting on an early fourth-down to move to the Navy 40. Ahlers hit Snead for a big 18-yard completion to get ECU into the red zone but the Navy defense held. Daffer came out to attempt a 25-yard field goal and sink it, cutting Navy’s small lead to just one point.

The drive went 58 yards on 11 plays, lasting 5:16.

NAVY 28, ECU 27.

Similar to their last touchdown, Navy wasted absolutely no time scoring in response, as freshman slotback Maquel Haywood ran back the ensuing kickoff 98 yards to give Navy a touchdown lead once again.

NAVY 35, ECU 27.

Just as they had in the first half, ECU responded right back to the Navy score with a touchdown of their own. This time, Ahlers found Snead for a 28-yard touchdown connection and then found Johnson for the two-point conversion to tie the ballgame with five minutes left.

The drive went 70 yards on seven plays, lasting 3:32.

NAVY 35, ECU 35.

Lavatai and the Navy offense were unable to score on the ensuing drive, allowing the Pirates to take over at their own 21-yard line. On 2nd and 9 from the 22, Ahlers dropped a 46-yard bomb into the hands of Snead to get all the way down to the Midshipmen 32-yard line.

With the game tied and just 0:04 on the clock, Daffer, the ECU kicker, hit a 53-yard field goal to win the game for ECU on Navy’s Senior Day.

The drive went 44 yards on four plays, lasting 1:11.


Rushing Stats:


Carlinos Acie: 6 rushes, 155 yards, 1 TD

James Harris II: 14 rushes, 57 yards, 0 TDs

Tai Lavatai: 13 rushes, 51 yards, 0 TDs

Isaac Ruoss: 6 rushes, 32 yards, 1 TD

Chance Warren: 4 rushes, 30 yards, 0 TDs

Kai Puailoa-Rojas: 1 rush, 20 yards, 0 TDs


Keaton Mitchell: 18 rushes, 94 yards, 1 TD

Holton Ahlers: 7 rushes, 48 yards, 0 TDs

Rahjai Harris: 10 rushes, 16 yards, 0 TDs

Passing Stats:


Tai Lavatai: 4 attempts, 4 completions, 37 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs


Holton Ahlers: 32 attempts, 27 completions, 405 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT

Defense Stats:


Eavan Gibbons: 10 tackles

Rayuan Lane: 10 tackles


Bruce Bivens: 9 tackles