Navy gives seniors going-away gift: 45-21 win

QB Madden runs for 3 TDs as Mids ride Green Wave to victory in final home game

November 14, 1999|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Navy's 30 senior football players received a majestic send-off yesterday.

Winless at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for more than a year, the Midshipmen turned their final home game into a pickoff party and cruised away from pass-mad Tulane, 45-21, to keep alive their chances for a .500 season.

Navy intercepted five of Tulane's 56 passing attempts, blocked a punt for a touchdown and totally dominated the second half to capture its first home victory since a 42-35 decision over Division I-AA Colgate on Oct. 17 of last year.

An adjustment played a big role in the outcome as the Mids (4-6) exceeded their 1998 win total and snapped a five-game losing streak in Annapolis.

Tulane befuddled the Navy defense early with its no-huddle offense, throwing often and scoring touchdowns on three of its first five possessions.

But by the time the Green Wave had its second first down of the second half, Navy had exploded for 24 points to break away from a 21-21 tie and make the rest a formality.

"We had to catch up with the speed of the game," Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie said. "They do a good job of spreading you out and trying to play basketball [running up points] out there. Everybody has to get used to it, the coaches have to get signals in quicker, and the defensive line has to be ready to rush."

Their offense undermined by three lost second-quarter fumbles in Tulane territory, the Mids played almost flawlessly the final two quarters.

Interceptions by Gary Lane, Bas Williams and Davede Alexander led to two of quarterback Brian Madden's three short touchdown runs in the third quarter and a 38-yard field goal by Tim Shubzda early in the fourth. For one of the few times this season, everything jelled for an extended stretch.

A liberal substitution policy on both sides of the ball also aided Navy's cause.

"It seemed like the coaches called a great game," said center Terrence Anderson. "It was like we were one step ahead of [Tulane]. We used nine offensive linemen while the game was in question. We had fresh guys pounding on them all the time. The rotation really helped."

Lane's interception set up a 10-play, 55-yard scoring drive that pushed Navy in front to stay. Madden scored from the 9. Williams picked off the next Patrick Ramsey attempt and, two plays later, Madden rushed for another TD, this one from the 1.

The next touchdown followed a Tulane punt as Navy's defense continued to deny even a first down. Madden culminated a 10-play, 68-yard advance by scoring from the 2. Then, Alexander's pick set up Shubzda's field goal that put it away with 10: 40 remaining in the game.

In losing its fourth straight, the Green Wave (3-7) was plagued by turnovers. The five interceptions by Ramsey equaled a Tulane record and raised the team's season giveaway total to 33.

"Navy didn't make any changes," Tulane linebacker Jerry Phillips said. "All they did was tighten their chin straps, and they gave it us."

The Mids rushed for a season-best 420 yards, the most since the Colgate game last year, with Madden collecting his third consecutive 100-plus effort (144 yards) since becoming the starter.

Sophomore fullback Raheem Lambert eclipsed the 100 mark for the first time in his career with 101 yards.

"I think we played well on offense the entire game," said Madden. "Little things bothered us in the first half, but we knew they weren't going to stop us."

Defensively, senior end Gino Marchetti rumbled in for his first career touchdown after Shaka Martin blocked a punt on the final play from scrimmage in the first quarter.

"I was going to fall on it, but at the last second I picked it up and 10 minutes later [from 10 yards out] made it to the end zone," Marchetti said. "I almost fell down."

Senior Jamie Doffermyer (Arundel) garnered his first career interception at the Navy 8 to squelch Tulane's late comeback attempt.

"People were giving me stuff on the sidelines about `show time,' " said Doffermyer.

"But it was a special memory to watch Davede get to interceptions, and Gary Lane, who's played little, come in and get a big pick. That's what I'll remember."

Alexander, a junior, said the underclassmen made it of "utmost importance" to win for the seniors. "You love them to death. It's easy to ask us to win a football game."

"They [underclassmen] played for us and laid it on the line," said Marchetti. "Words can't describe the effort they put out. It was phenomenal."

Next for Navy

Opponent: Hawaii

Site: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu

When: Saturday, 11 p.m.

Record: 6-3

Yesterday: Played Fresno State.

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