After two rough games, QB scores three times

ANNAPOLIS -- The first two starts of Trey Miller's career came against Notre Dame. The third was at Penn State. On Saturday the junior quarterback finally found himself in a fair fight.

Facing Virginia Military Institute, things didn't go exactly as planned as Miller fumbled three times in the first 20 minutes and saw his freshman backup warm up on the sidelines. But Miller remained under center and scored three touchdowns, sparking Navy to a 41-3 victory before a home-opening record crowd of 35,671 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

It was only VMI (1-3) of the FCS, but the victory still was a positive step for Navy (1-2) after it struggled in two lopsided defeats. Sophomore fullback Noah Copeland (20 carries, 126 yards), senior slot back Gee Gee Greene (eight carries, 79 yards), and Miller (17 carries, 116 yards) propelled the triple-option attack, which produced 510 yards, including 403 on the ground.

Miller's highlight came early in the fourth quarter when he shed a tackler in the backfield, side-stepped another and hurdled a third on his way to a 40-yard touchdown run. He also completed seven of 14 passes for 107 yards.

The defense was even more effective as the Keydets never penetrated the Navy 25. Big plays were provided by linebacker Matt Warrick, who had a 7-yard interception return for a touchdown, and cornerback Quincy Adams, who added a one-handed interception. Linebacker Brye French (eight tackles) and safety Tra'ves Bush (seven tackles) were mainstays. Linebackers Jordan Drake and Keegan Wetzel each contributed a sack as Navy limited VMI to 222 yards.

Miller hasn't had it easy, working with four different centers since preseason. Junior Thomas Stone got his first starting assignment Saturday, and on the Mids' first possession, he and Miller botched an exchange and VMI recovered. Two more Miller fumbles later and Navy was mired in a 3-3 tie.

But Miller persevered, scoring on a 7-yard carry that was set up by a 36-yard blast by Greene, to put Navy ahead for good. In the third quarter, Miller fueled a 66-yard drive with a 15-yard pass to Shawn Lynch and then capped it with a 1-yard touchdown dive.