ANNAPOLIS -- Going into its opener with a throwing quarterback it had long sought and a revamped defense, Navy (( was excited and confident about the 1992 season. There was even talk locally of a possible upset of No. 23 Virginia.
All the fever disappeared quickly in Saturday's 53-0 loss to visiting Virginia, in which Navy starting quarterback Jim Kubiak suffered a dislocated right shoulder that will keep him out three ,, to six weeks. Now, Navy coach George Chaump has to hope that the embarrassing defeat doesn't have a demoralizing effect on his players.
Fortunately for the Midshipmen, it would be hard to imagine things getting worse than their worst loss since a 70-14 whipping Michigan in 1976. It was also Navy's worst shutout defeat since a 54-0 loss at Michigan in 1925.
"[Virginia] showcased some fine athletes, they played well and you saw the results," Chaump said. "I admire the way our kids played hard at the end. I strongly believe in what we're doing. We just have to prove it in future games."
There was no proof Saturday night, when things went downhill for Navy as soon as Bobby Goodman hit Pete Allen on a 49-yard scoring pass on Virginia's first play from scrimmage.
Goodman (14 of 22 for 306 yards) spent the rest of the night dissecting the Navy secondary, and ended up with a school-record five touchdown passes.
A major concern for Navy a year ago was its vulnerability to the big play, and that problem continued in the opener. Four of Virginia's eight touchdowns were on plays of 45 yards or more, and two other plays from scrimmage covered 40 or more yards.
In all, Virginia racked up 557 yards in total offense, the seventh most ever against Navy.
"On some of the long passes we were on the coverage," said Navy defensive back Chad Chatlos. "But we just didn't make the big play."
Neither did the offense, which managed only 148 yards and was able to take just two drives past midfield. A lot of the planning for the season was based on the contributions of Kubiak, who was injured while attempting to make a tackle after his second interception.
"It was his first game and maybe we put too much on him," said Chaump of Kubiak, who completed only six of 15 passes for 35 yards before being relieved by senior Brian Ellis. "I still think he has the makings of an outstanding quarterback."
But now he's out for at least three weeks, leaving the job in the hands of Ellis, who, because of the injury, gets the job he has wanted for so long.
"I feel for Brian because we gambled and gave Jim all of the work," Chaump said. "That's a gamble all coaches take."
Ellis, who completed four of 12 passes for 49 yards, said he should improve with the extra practice he'll have this week.
"I was ready but I didn't show it [Saturday]," Ellis said. "For me, I'll get more time in practice and that will help. By practicing you can eliminate mistakes, and that's what I'm going to do."
Things apparently won't get any easier for Navy, which will travel to play Boston College on Saturday. The improved Eagles (2-0) were 49-0 winners over Northwestern on Saturday.
"We just have to set our alarm a little earlier and stay a little later to do what it's going to take to win a football game," Chaump said.