Broadwater dashes Navy to finish line Fill-in QB's 61-yard run, his 4th scoring play, caps rally, drops Colgate, 42-35

October 18, 1998|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Charlie Weatherbie vividly recalls the first time he saw a picture of Brian Broadwater in uniform as a freshman at the Naval Academy last year.

"He reminded me of Roger Staubach," said the Navy football coach.

Yesterday, Broadwater, making his first career start in place of injured junior Steve Holley, gave a superb impersonation of the former Heisman Trophy winner in leading the Midshipmen to a dramatic 42-35 victory over Colgate.

The rangy sophomore from Elizabethtown, Pa., rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns, including his game-winning 61-yard sprint with 61 seconds left. He also completed eight of nine passes for 165 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Trailing the Division I-AA Red Raiders (4-2), 35-21, at the start of the fourth quarter, Broadwater directed scoring drives of 92, 54 and 99 yards to break Navy's three-game losing streak.

He produced a 35-35 tie throwing a 54-yard strike to fellow sophomore Ryan Read with 8: 56 left. Read caught the ball in stride at the Colgate 20 and won the race to the end zone.

The final Navy touchdown wasn't that easy.

A Colgate punt rolled dead on the Navy 1, from where Broadwater began the winning 99-yard march. His 10-yard keeper on third-and-four from the Navy 7 kept the drive alive. Two more first downs pushed the ball to the Colgate 49 before a clipping penalty forced the Mids back to their 39, facing first-and-22.

"I called a draw play we had run earlier," Broadwater said. "I took three steps back, but there was nowhere to run. I just danced around until I found some room. Once I broke free, I already had my blockers downfield and I pretty much ran untouched from there."

Said Weatherbie: "When he took off, I said to myself, 'Hey, now we're in field-goal range,' and then I yelled, 'Wow, he's going to score a touchdown!' "

The winning dash set off a wild celebration at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. But the homecoming crowd of 28,504 had to hold its collective breath while Colgate staged a last-ditch effort to force overtime.

Junior quarterback Ryan Vena (20-for-35, 377 yards, three touchdowns) almost got the job done. Starting from his 20 and battling the clock, he moved the Red Raiders in rapid fashion to a first down at the Navy 15 with 22 seconds left.

All afternoon, the combination of Vena and senior flanker Corey Hill had bedeviled the Navy secondary. In fact, Hill registered a school-record 274 yards with his 14 receptions while also becoming Colgate's all-time career receiver with 181.

But Vena's first two passes in this critical situation were aimed at senior split end R. J. Gregory. He hurried the first throw and it fell short. The next one was broken up by cornerback Enrico Hunter, who barely missed an interception.

Vena then turned to Hill, but threw the ball out of reach on third down. Now with the clock down to six seconds, everyone in the stadium expected Vena to be searching the end zone for Hill.

"[Secondary coach] Dale Pehrson warned me not to let Hill get inside me," said weak safety Jamie Doffermyre. "But Hill ran a tough route and got to the inside. I saw the ball and thank God, I got a hand on it."

The final gun sounded, ending the wild shootout that produced a total of 1,199 yards. Navy's 680 yards, which included 111 yards rushing by Jon Limbert and 98 by Matt Harden, broke a school record, topping the old mark of 653 posted against the same Colgate in 1970.

Weatherbie refused to diminish the importance of the victory by Navy (2-4) over a Division I-AA team.

"Believe me, Colgate can score on anyone," he said of the Red Raiders, who came in averaging 36.5 points and 520 yards. "They'll probably be a playoff team.

"Coming back to win the way we did in the fourth quarter showed a lot of faith and character by our guys.

"During the course of a season, there will usually be three or four games like this. Winning the first one makes it a lot easier the next time."

Next for Navy

Opponent: Boston College

Site: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

When: Saturday, noon

Record: 3-3

Yesterday: Lost to No. 23 Syracuse, 42-25.

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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