Zay Jones caught 12 passes to become the all-time FBS career leader, but that was one of the few highlights for the East Carolina football team Saturday in a 66-31 beatdown at the hands of Navy. Jones broke the old record of 387 catches, set just two seasons ago by former teammate Justin Hardy, on a five-yard out pattern late in the second quarter. The senior receiver accounted for 212 receiving yards and two long touchdowns from first-time starting quarterback Gardner Minshew, it wasn’t nearly enough to offset a Navy triple option offense that rolled up 480 rushing yards. With the win, Navy (8-2, 6-1) clinches the American Athletic Division West Division title and will host the league’s championship game on Dec. 3. Despite the lopsided final margin, the Pirates (3-8, 1-6 AAC) actually got off to a strong start, jumping out to a 17-7 lead on a pair of Minshew touchdown passes and a 43-yard field goal by Davis Plowman. But the momentum shifted shortly after Jones made his eighth catch of the game to break Hardy’s record. The game was stopped for a short ceremony in which a banner commemorating the event was unfurled and Hardy — in attendance thanks to a bye week for his Atlanta Falcons — congratulated Jones in person. Once Navy’s offense finally got cranked up, ECU was at a loss to stop it. That’s nothing new, however, in their last four wins against the Pirates, the Midshipmen have averaged 60.8 points per game. That includes a 76-35 rout in 2010. This one was nearly as bad, thanks to the running of Navy quarterback Will Worth. Worth rushed for 159 yards and four touchdowns while fullback Shawn White added 150 yards and three scores to help Navy pull away. 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.
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