Navy's 467 yards ground Kent, 38-24 Holley rushes for 188, Dingle for 151 to lift Mids

September 20, 1998|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

After an eight-minute feeling-out period, Navy and Kent got down to the task of playing football last night, and defense turned out to be a minute part of the process.

Behind the rushes of quarterback Steve Holley and fullbacks Irv Dingle and Matt Harden, Navy (1-1) picked up 467 yards on the ground while thumping the Golden Flashes, 38-24.

Kent, in no way a match for the Mids moving the ball overland, was nonetheless a worthy opponent with its passing. The visitors moved the ball 359 yards through the air as quarterback Jose Davis hit 26 of 43 throws.

Most of them were directed to wispy wide receiver Eugene Baker (6 feet 2 and 165 pounds), who had 13 receptions for 227 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, Baker, whose 34 scoring receptions ranks sixth on the NCAA list, had 15 catches against the Mids.

The teams combined for 900 yards total offense. It wasn't until Dingle plunged over from the 1-yard line five minutes into the fourth quarter, giving Navy a 38-17 lead, that the game appeared be in the win column, however.

Still, Davis was in there pitching, hitting Baker with a 24-yard scoring pass with six minutes still remaining. At this point, Navy's defense stiffened -- finally.

"You could see the difference in Steve Holley tonight," Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie said of his quarterback, who rushed for 188 yards on 29 carries. "He was much more confident running the offense and he consistently got the ball into the right people's hands."

The right people turned out to be Dingle, who had 151 yards rushing and two TDs on 19 carries, and Harden, who had six carries for 77. Navy completed one pass for 7 yards, perhaps to prove that it is not a completely landlocked team.

Weatherbie had said during the week that he was hoping for 400 yards of offense and 40 points and his team ended up with 474 and 38. Not bad forecasting.

"What was great," said the coach, "is we kept our intensity throughout. And while the offense was moving the ball, the defense did a great job most of the night."

Great job, surrendering 426 yards on 69 plays, an average of 6.2 yards per play? "Well, the defense did give up some big plays we weren't happy with," he admitted.

Kent State coach Dean Pees mused about how much better the game might have been if his lads could have mustered some sort of grand attack. "Our rushing was nonexistent," said Pees, whose squad has yielded 1,027 yards on the ground this season, while gaining 161. "We've just got to stay the course and make the guys we've got better. We play hard but we don't always play smart."

Kent (0-3) got the early lead on a 33-yard field goal. Navy led after the first quarter, tackle Doug Howard recovering a Dingle fumble in the end zone.

The teams traded lengthy drives, with Navy on top at intermission, 17-10.

Holley rushed for a pair of scores around a Davis-to-Baker 53 yard pass to give Navy a 31-17 advantage after three periods. Dingle's second score and Baker's second TD finished the scoring.

Next for Navy

Opponent: Tulane

Site: Superdome, New Orleans

When: Saturday, 3: 30 p.m.

Record: 2-0

Yesterday: Idle

Pub Date: 9/20/98

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