Lock of the Irish on Navy continues, 58-21

October 30, 1994|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Three years ago, Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, former president of Notre Dame, caused a brief uproar on this idyllic campus by suggesting it might do the spirit good to allow the Naval Academy to win occasionally in the country's oldest -- and most lopsided -- intersectional football rivalry.

But this was hardly the time to ask coach Lou Holtz, stewing over consecutive losses to Boston College and Brigham Young that dropped the Irish to 4-3 and out of the Top 25 rankings, to be compassionate.

"I respect George [Chaump, Navy coach], but right now, I have absolutely no empathy for anybody," he said. "I'm only interested in winning."

And his team displayed the same single-mindedness yesterday in the rivalry's 68th year, routing the Midshipmen, 58-21, before a joyous crowd of 59,075 green-clad rooters. Lightly played sophomore running back Emmett Mosley rushed for 84 yards and four touchdowns to emerge as Notre Dame's newest hero.

But it was the unusual gamesmanship between the coaches -- friends since they were both assistants at Ohio State in 1968 -- in the closing minutes that dominated the questions in the post-game news conference.

After Navy scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to trail 51-21, a series occurred that could damage the Holtz-Chaump relationship.

Holtz began the controversial sequence by calling for a fake punt at the Navy 39, with running back Marc Edwards scooting to the 10.

"I just wanted to let people know we had that play," said Holtz.

Notre Dame then seemed content to run out the clock, with fourth-string quarterback Gus Orstein kneeling on consecutive plays.

Chaump countered by calling two timeouts.

"I wanted to give as many of my kids as possible a chance to play in this famous stadium," he said.

Holtz responded by having Ornstein throw two straight passes, the last with 38 seconds left finding tight end Leon Wallace for the final score.

"Maybe [Holtz] had to prove to the Notre Dame faithful he could throw a touchdown pass to a tight end," said Chaump. "That and the fake punt is his business. Maybe that's what Notre Dame needs to get back in the national picture."

Holtz said he apologized to Chaump as they walked off the field.

"George told me it didn't matter if they lost 51-21 or 58-21, but I felt real bad about it," Holtz said. "George is a great guy. All I really wanted to do was run out the clock."

The bottom line was that the Irish had whipped Navy for the 31st straight time in this series dating back to 1927. It left them one shy of the collegiate record set by Oklahoma against Kansas State (1937-1968).

Like last October at the Meadowlands, when Navy led 24-17 at halftime, the Irish had to survive an early shock. On their first possession, the Mids (1-7) smartly marched 64 yards on five plays, with Jim Kubiak completing the drive with a 32-yard pass to sophomore flanker Ross Scott.

But the Irish quickly proved that the oddsmakers were not far off in making them 41-point favorites.

They scored the next 51 points before the Mids could recover.

By halftime, Notre Dame had exploited Navy's porous defense for 38 points. Even minus two of their best running backs -- seniors Lee Becton and Ray Zellars -- the Irish ran for 267 yards.

Notre Dame was almost as effective passing with four different quarterbacks. Despite a sore left ankle, sophomore Ron Powlus threw two touchdown passes in the first half to junior flanker Derrick Mayes, who repeatedly picked on Navy cornerback and co-captain Chris Hart.

On his first touchdown catch, Mayes shrugged off Hart on the Navy 27 and pranced into the end zone to grab a 34-yard toss.

Mayes picked on Hart again in the second quarter, losing him completely in the end zone to catch a 20-yard pass from Powlus, who did not play in the second half.

When the Irish weren't punishing Navy's defense, the Mids were busy self-destructing. Under a heavy rush in the second quarter, Kubiak threw right into the midsection of defensive tackle Alton Malden, who returned it 4 yards for Notre Dame's fourth touchdown.

Holtz then called a trick play on the two-point conversion attempt, with Edwards taking a pitch, sweeping right and lofting a pass to Powlus in the end zone.

But Holtz, who had admitted losing sleep in recent weeks over his team's fall from grace, had a brief pang of conscience. By the middle of the third quarter, Ornstein, low man on the depth charts, was running the offense for the first time.

"I really didn't expect to play," said Ornstein. "It was all just like a blur."

Holtz said beating up on the Mids was tough to assess.

"I don't think you can get a good measurement," he said. "This game was really over at halftime. All I know is that we're a lot

better than we were two weeks ago."

NEXT FOR NAVY

Who: Tulane

When: Saturday, at New Orleans

Record: 1-7

Yesterday: Lost to Maryland, 38-10

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