Mids again target Green Wave as the cure for winless blues COLLEGE FOOTBALL

November 07, 1992|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

Last year, it was a game approached by Navy and Tulane with great anticipation, pitting at the time two of four winless teams left in Division I-A football. But instead of Navy leaving New Orleans with its first win of the season, the team came out completely flat and fell to 0-9 following a 34-7 loss.

"It was a great opportunity to play in a great stadium [the Superdome] in a great town," recalled Navy defensive lineman David Shaw. "But instead it was probably one of the worst games of last year. We're not giving any excuses about the way we played. But we really were a better team than that."

Navy will get a chance to prove it's better today when the still winless Midshipmen (0-7) play host to Tulane (2-6) at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. After watching the Green Wave perform a victory dance on the turf of the Superdome after its only win of last season, the Midshipmen will attempt to even the score and end its reign as the only winless team in all of Division I-A football.

"I still think about that game a lot, especially this week," said Shaw, probably recalling how Tulane scored touchdowns on its first four drives in opening a 28-7 halftime lead. "We have that little burning fire inside of us to push us through the week."

But whether that burning fire translates into a fiery performance on the field remains to be seen.

Navy will be a well-rested team. Instead of practice and pre-game meetings that are the norm for Fridays before games, Navy coach George Chaump gave the team off yesterday.

Chaump is hoping the rest will assist a team that has failed to score in the first quarter this season and has been outscored in the first half of games this season, 157-10. The rest might be coming at the right time against a Tulane team that allowed 35 points in the first quarter of last week's 62-20 loss against Memphis State. It was a difficult defeat for the Green Wave, which a week before played well in a 17-13 loss to No. 9 Boston College.

"We had been very competitive, but we were just flat from the opening series [against Memphis State]," Tulane coach Buddy Teevens said. "We didn't play with emotion. And we're not good enough to beat anybody if we don't play with emotion."

Teevens, in his first year at Tulane after five seasons at Dartmouth, is cautious mainly because of the tough schedule Navy has played.

"They're a tremendous football team, although it's not reflected in the win/loss column," Teevens said. "I'm sure they view us as an opponent that they can win against. It should be a competitive ballgame."

Chaump, who has been saying this game begins the start of the second season for the Midshipmen, said Tulane should not be judged on its 42-point loss last weekend.

"Don't be fooled by 62-20, be impressed by 17-13 against Boston College," Chaump said. "I'd rather look at them as the team that nearly beat Boston College. They're not a bad football team at all."

But still, Tulane's two wins have come against Southern Methodist and Nevada -- not exactly football powerhouses. For Navy, after seven straight games against winning football teams, the Tulane game and the remaining contests against Vanderbilt, Rice and Army, should serve as a more realistic indicator of exactly where the team stands.

"We're 0-7 and we have four left," Shaw said. "We're going to take the last four games like its four games on the road to the Super Bowl.

"We have the big game against Army at the end. And we want to be 3-0 going into there."

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