Worst of the winless, Navy trounced, 34-7 1-9 Tulane scores on first four drives

November 10, 1991|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Sun Staff Correspondent

NEW ORLEANS -- On a night when Navy got off to its worst start in history, it was only fitting that it put forth perhaps its worst performance of the season last night against Tulane.

Both teams entered the game without a victory, but Tulane looked like a ranked team, scoring touchdowns on its first four drives of the game -- three of the scores touchdown passes from Jerome Woods to Wilbert Ursin -- on the way to a 34-7 win before 23,322.

For Navy it was the super disaster at the Louisiana Superdome, as the Midshipmen dropped to 0-9, matching a school record for losses in a season. It also marked the worst start, surpassing the 1948 team, which dropped its first eight games before tying Army in its season finale.

Tulane (1-9) won for first time this year and stopped a 10-game losing streak dating back to last season. The Green Wave upped its record against Navy to 5-0-1.

Navy's 38-0 loss at Notre Dame was expected, but this defeat came out of nowhere even though Tulane has played six ranked opponents this season.

Sure, Tulane's schedule was the eighth-toughest in America -- tougher than all but one of the top 10 teams -- but at the same

time Tulane has been shut out three times and had not scored more than 28 points until last week's 38-28 loss at East Carolina.

From every aspect, it was a total team defeat for Navy. On defense, the secondary was burned and the pass rush contained. Offensively, quarterback Jim Kubiak overthrew wide-open receivers and spent much of the night on his back as a result of a blitzing Green Wave defense.

After failing to score after halftime, Navy has now failed to score in the second half since the Bowling Green loss in the fourth game of the season. For the season, Navy has been outscored, 136-20, in the second half.

As it has done eight times in nine games, Navy scored first. It drove 71 yards on 10 plays on its initial drive, with Brad Stramanak scoring on a 1-yard run to give Navy a 7-0 lead.

But that would be the highlight of the night for the Midshipmen.

Tulane drove 73 yards on its first possession, ending with a 17-yard pass from Woods to wide receiver Ursin to tie the score with 6:06 left in the quarter.

That was only the beginning of the barrage. After stopping Navy on four plays, Ursin caught an 8-yard pass from Woods to make it 14-7. After the two hooked up again for 8 yards on the next drive to make it 21-7, the combination's three-touchdown streak was finally ended when running back Harold Dennis (eight carries, 50 yards in the first half) spun away from Navy defensive tackle Ches Snider on the way to a 17-yard scoring run and a 28-7 lead with 4:54 left in the half.

Tulane's 28 points in the half marked its game high for the season, and the four scoring drives averaged seven plays and 70 yards. The only reason the Green Wave didn't score on all its possessions was because Woods was intercepted with 41 seconds left and, after getting the ball back two plays later when Kubiak was intercepted, Woods dropped to one knee to mercifully end the half.

Woods, who had alternated at quarterback with Billy Duncan during the last month, completed 11 of 15 passes for 173 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Ursin's first-half numbers were five catches for 72 yards.

Navy trailed despite having a seven-minute advantage in possession. Kubiak completed 12 of 15 passes for 108 yards, but was intercepted once and lacked mobility in the pocket as evidenced by four sacks for a loss of 32 yards.

An indication of just how bad things were for Navy came on the team's third series with the team down 21-7. With a first-and-10 from the Tulane 41, Kubiak handed off to B.J. Mason, who rolled left and completed a pass to wide-open plebe wide receiver Michael Jefferson, who could have walked the final 20 yards for a score. But Jefferson was out of bounds when he caught the ball, the pass was ruled incomplete and the drive ended two plays later when Kubiak was sacked.

NOTES: Until Dennis scored at the end of the second quarter, Ursin had scored 5 straight touchdowns for Tulane dating back to last week's 38-28 loss to East Carolina. . . Tulane flanker Steve Ballard's 31-yard catch in the second quarter was the longest reception of his career. Also recording personal bests for Tulane were linebacker Jeff Dean (first career sack) and linebacker Shane Wiegand (first career interception).

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