Navy gives Lantz points, but not win, 42-28

Tulane throws for 442 as Mids fall to 0-8 in debut

November 11, 2001|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The head coach changed, but the result stayed the same at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium yesterday.

On the 226th birthday of the Marine Corps, one of its own, Rick Lantz, took over command of a Navy football team that couldn't stop Tulane's combined air-ground assault and lost, 42-28, before 31,456 spectators.

The defeat was the ninth straight and 15th in the past 16 games at home for the Midshipmen (0-8), who have only Notre Dame and Army left to play in their quest to avert a winless season.

Twenty-two Navy seniors made their final home appearances in a game of sudden momentum switches and laced with the disappointment that has marked most of their final two years.

Navy did manage to amass season highs in points, rushing yards, first downs and plays against a generous Green Wave defense that has allowed an average of 40 points and nearly 500 yards per game.

Conversely, the Midshipmen permitted a stadium-record 442 yards passing to Tulane quarterback Patrick Ramsey, who broke Shaun King's school record of 70 touchdown passes, and three scoring catches to Roydell Williams, equaling the stadium record.

Running back Mewelde Moore pitched in with 131 yards on the ground and nine receptions for 130 more yards and became the first Tulane player ever to surpass 100 in both categories in the same game.

But the numbers didn't tell the whole tale in a game that produced a lot of offense, as anticipated.

"I thought we would have come in here and played better," said Navy quarterback Brian Madden, who ran for a career-high 201 yards and three touchdowns. "The change was good for this football team. They did an excellent job of preparing us and I thought that would put us over the top.

"Everybody felt confident. We had our opportunities and let them slip away. But we fought our hearts out."

The first turning point came when Navy was taking the opening kickoff inexorably toward the end zone, but stalled at the Tulane 28. Lantz scorned the field-goal attempt into the wind and a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

On its next three series, the Green Wave used a combined 20 plays to cover 167 yards and score three times for a 21-0 lead.

Still, the Midshipmen fought their way back into the game by converting a key penalty and Gene Reese's 26-yard punt return into two Madden touchdowns to shave the margin to seven at the half.

But Navy underwent another horrendous stretch at the start of the second half.

First, Tulane marched 80 yards in eight plays, reaching the end zone on a 10-yard slant pass from Ramsey to Williams. Then, Navy --trailing 28-14 -- slugged it out all the way to the Tulane 4, where Madden lost the ball on a fumble.

"Someone slipped a hand in from the back end," Madden said.`Their turnover deep in our territory really helped us out," Tulane coach Chris Scelfo said. "It was obvious it was a momentum game at times."

With 96 yards to cover, Ramsey required only five plays to account for another touchdown, hitting Williams for the final 62 after he had beaten the Navy secondary.

Three plays later, Lynaris Elpheage intercepted Madden and ducked and feinted his way 48 yards to the end zone, giving Tulane a 42-14 cushion.

Navy restricted the Tulane offense to a field-goal attempt --which Seth Marler missed to break a string of 17 straight conversions -- for the rest of the game.

But the four-touchdown margin proved insurmountable.

"We turn the ball over and then there is like a terrible letdown," said Lantz, who succeeded Charlie Weatherbie, fired after six-plus seasons. "We can't worry about those things. We have to know how to respond no matter what happens. We let one play bother two."

Madden said "a little shoulder problem" affected his passing (10 for 32 with two interceptions). "I must have thrown 20 balls over guys' heads.

"I'm sure these fans are tired of coming here and seeing losses. I would be. We should applaud them for supporting us each week."

Tulane 14 7 21 0 -- 42

Navy 0 14 7 7 -- 28

Next for Navy

Opponent: Notre Dame

Site: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.

When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

Record: 3-5

Yesterday: Idle

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