After Saturday, season not likely to be total loss for Tulane, Navy

November 07, 1991|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Evening Sun Staff

ANNAPOLIS -- Tulane coach Greg Davis had no idea it would come to this. Neither did Navy's George Chaump.

The subject is losing, and it is repugnant to both men. Neither has won a game all season. Barring a tie, one of them will Saturday when Navy (0-8) meets Tulane (0-9) in the Louisiana Superdome.

Navy hasn't won since last November when it slipped by Delaware, 31-27. The Middies haven't been branded with an 0-8 record since 1948, when they finished 0-8-1 by rising up to tie unbeaten Army in the season finale.

Tulane stretched its losing streak to 10 with a 38-28 loss to East Carolina last week. The Green Wave's last victory also was a year ago this month, 26-24 over Syracuse. It is of little consolation that the team is well shy of the school record of 17 consecutive losses from 1961-63.

Davis had modest expectations at season's start after Tulane won two of its final three games last year to finish 4-7.

"I never envisioned 0-9," Davis said. "We had six offensive starters back. The problem is we've lost five of those six -- three to injuries and two to academics."

TH The only survivor is junior fullback Chance Miller, the team's rush

ing leader with 475 yards. Miller had 73 yards and a touchdown on a season-high 20 carries against East Carolina to run his career total to 1,612 yards. His 805 last year were the most by a Tulane player since 1981.

After scoring in 152 consecutive games -- which at the time was the fifth longest active streak in Division I-A -- Tulane has been shut out in three of its last seven games.

Davis is quick to point out that Tulane's schedule is no peppered with patsies. Six of the nine opponents have been ranked at some point this season, topped by No. 1 Florida State.

Navy's picture is no less drab. The Middies go out of their way to note that five of their eight defeats have been by seven points or less.

Chaump felt obliged to say that Navy stopped Notre Dame's rushing game last week and was beaten on big pass plays. He thought the 38-0 score was "deceiving."

"Playing as well as we did should give our team confidence in the last three games," Chaump said.

When you're 0-8, you have to strain to find anything comforting. And to find anything positive to say about an upcoming opponent that is 0-9.

"Tulane isn't playing like an 0-9 team," Chaump said. "They're not beaten down and going through the motions."

* A flap developed before Navy's game at Notre Dame when Chaump's locker room comments to the team were mistakenly piped to a TV monitor in the press box. Writers feverishly took notes.

It seems that Navy gave John Dockery, NBC-TV's sideline reporter, permission to listen in the locker room while Chaump spoke so he could get the flavor of things and be able to make more incisive comments during the game. The agreement was that Chaump's remarks wouldn't be aired.

When Navy sports information director Tom Bates heard Chaump's speech on the press box TV monitor, he became enraged. It turned out it wasn't aired anywhere else and NBC-TV apologized, claiming someone had mistakenly hit a wrong button in the production truck.

* Jason Van Matre, who has played quarterback and tailback and is Navy's leading rusher with 447 yards, suffered a bruised knee against Notre Dame. Chaump is "counting on Jason" for the Tulane game, however, and may employ him at both positions.

* Tulane has used a two-quarterback system in the last three games with fifth-year senior Jerome Woods and sophomore Billy Duncan splitting time. Woods, however, played the entire second half against East Carolina and passed for 322 yards, the ninth highest total in Tulane history.

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