Navy lost another game last weekend, but finally discovered its offense.
If there is a carry-over from the school-record 724 yards the Midshipmen amassed in a 50-38 loss to Tulane, they may be on the brink of their first victory when Wake Forest visits Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Saturday for the final home game of the season.
"I've never been involved in a game like that," said coach Charlie Weatherbie. "Gain 724 yards and not win. I was impressed with the way the offense moved and converted on fourth down. With two minutes to go, I could see in the players' eyes that they believed they were going to find a way to win the football game. We have to play with the same attitude, same demeanor, this week."
Six turnovers and 15 penalties were the main culprits in the ninth defeat for winless Navy, which also surrendered a raft of big pass plays to the Green Wave. Since Wake Forest is an extremely young team that has allowed nearly 450 yards and 34 points a game, the Midshipmen have a chance for another offensive explosion.
"It showed that if we execute well, we can get lots of yards and points," said sophomore wide receiver Dominic Bailey. "We were just proud and excited with the way we executed, but even with all that yardage, it takes something away when you lose."
Navy set three additional school offensive records in New Orleans: quarterback Brian Broadwater's 417 total yards; 99 offensive plays, and 36 first downs. In addition, the team became the first Division-IA squad in four years to not punt the entire game and lose.
Navy will honor 28 seniors before the game, including starters Broadwater, Ron Winchester, Chad Adams, Hoot Stahl, Scott Swantner, Brian Williams and Josh Bock from the offense and Brad Wimsatt, Justin Jordan and Chris Lepore from the defense.
Unofficially, the Midshipmen will be meeting arch-rival Army before a friendly gathering at PSINet Stadium Dec. 2, but this is the seniors' swan song in Annapolis.
"We've already talked about that," said Bailey. "We want the seniors to go out with a win, the sweet taste of victory in their mouths."
Wake Forest has three prominent Marylanders on its two-deep, including starting offensive tackle Blake Henry (Loyola) and backup defensive tackle Da'Vaughn Mellerson (Mount St. Joseph). ... Lepore's brother, Steve, transferred to Wake Forest from Northwestern and will be eligible to play basketball next season. ... Anybody attending the football game Saturday can take their ticket stub to Alumni Hall and see a basketball doubleheader free. ... Former Navy coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Ben Carnevale will be honored at halftime at the stadium. ... Broadwater went nine games without an interception before suffering two at Tulane.