Tomorrow's 1:30 p.m. game between Navy (0-7) and Tulane (2-6) at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium is one of the most intriguing matchups of the season. Both are coming off lopsided defeats and desperately need a win.
When Tulane coach Buddy Teevens arrived from Dartmouth College, where he led the Big Green to two Ivy League titles, the 1992 schedule appeared to be not as tough as in 1991, when the Green Wave's only victory was over Navy at home, 34-7.
But, like the Mids, Tulane faced opponents such as No. 3 Alabama, No. 9 Boston College and No. 19 Mississippi State and improving teams Iowa State and Memphis State. It did defeat Southern Methodist and Nevada. After Navy, however, it concludes its schedule at No. 6 Florida State and Louisiana State.
Throw out last week's 62-20 disaster against Memphis State, and Tulane may not be the team that Navy coach George Chaump wants to play "like it's the opening game of a new season."
The Midshipmen haven't beaten Tulane in six tries, all previous games having been played in New Orleans.
The inaugural game in 1949 ended in a 21-21 tie during George Sauer's final season at the helm (3-5-1). One of the bright spots of that year was the beginning of quarterback Bob Zastrow's career that ended with him being one of the top 10 passers at Navy.
Navy and Tulane have met one mutual opponent this season in Boston College. The Eagles defeated the injury-plagued Mids, 28-0, early in the season and defeated Tulane, 17-13, two weeks ago in a physical battle that left the Green Wave limping against Memphis State.
Teevens' offense features a two-back set with fullback Clarence Miller attempting to become the second Tulane player in 40 years to rush for more than 2,000 career yards.
Wilbert Ursin, who burned the Mids last year with three touchdown catches, is about to repeat as one of the top 10 pass receivers in the nation.
Shawn Meadows, a JuCo transfer, has emerged as the starter at quarterback. One of the nation's premier punters, Chip Clark, is averaging 41.6 yards on 47 punts.
For the third consecutive week, Navy will start the same backfield, with Jason Van Matre at quarterback, Duke Ingraham and Cleavon Smith at tailback and fullback, respectively, and Jimmy Screen as the flanker. Ends Kevin Hickman and Tom Pritchard are the receivers.
On defense, free safety Chad Chatlos was selected to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference All-East Division I-A weekly honor roll for the third time last week. Lineman Bob Kuberski and linebacker Javier Zuluaga anchor the defense that held up well in the second half of the 38-7 loss to Notre Dame.
There are no Maryland natives on the Tulane roster, but Navy wide receiver Jimmy Screen is from Baton Rouge and is the son of its mayor, Pat Screen. The fast-improving Screen is becoming one of Navy's bright lights this season. He chose Navy over Tulane and LSU.
The Mids lightweight football team continues its quest for the Eastern Lightweight Football League title tonight by taking on Princeton at 7 at Turf Field. Navy is in a tie with Army for first place and is going after its 20th ELFL championship.
The Navy lightweights close out their season next Friday night at home against traditional rival Army.