Mids, with bowls on their minds, say they can't afford another loss

Wins over Tulane, Irish would bolster credentials

Navy notebook

October 28, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

After a damaging defeat to Division I-AA power Delaware on Saturday, Navy quarterback Craig Candeto believes the Midshipmen can ill afford another loss if they expect to merit serious attention from the bowl-game committees.

"We're still in a good position, but I think we have to win out and then it'll be in the hands of the voters," Candeto said of 5-3 Navy, which faces Tulane at home this weekend. "We've beaten some pretty good teams, and now we have to treat every game like it's our last."

Navy's biggest win to date was a 28-25 decision over Air Force that launched a three-game winning streak that Delaware ended.

But the Midshipmen probably will have to beat Tulane and/or struggling Notre Dame the next two weeks to stay in the picture, and the Irish haven't fallen in the series since Roger Staubach was the quarterback in Annapolis.

After its previous two losses this season, Navy bounced back to pummel Eastern Michigan and then upset the Falcons.

"We've bounced back so far, but we'll see," said coach Paul Johnson. "Let's not get the cart in front of the horse. Everybody was talking grandeur here, but we're still the type of team that if we don't play well, we're going to get beat."

Candeto said he is "still kicking myself" for his costly turnovers against Delaware. "Maybe inside we felt a little too overconfident, but sometimes you learn more from losses than wins," he said.

Air Tulane

Tulane, where Shaun King and Patrick Ramsey prepped for the NFL recently, has another big, strong quarterback in J.P Losman, who has thrown for 2,153 yards and 23 touchdowns, a solid corps of speedy receivers and the ubiquitous Mewelde Moore, the running back who is the second player in Division I-A history to amass 4,000 yards rushing and 2,000 yards receiving in his career. The other was Stanford's Darrin Nelson.

Johnson said both will be first-round NFL picks and that Losman may be the first quarterback selected.

The Green Wave is 3-5 and on a four-game tailspin, but its conquerors have included Texas Christian, Texas and Louisville.

Johnson said he doesn't expect a total pass-fest with Moore in the backfield.

"It depends on what you're doing [defensively]," he said. "But the speed they have makes for a more wide-open game."

If recent history is any indication, the scoreboard will be in for a workout. Tulane won last year, 51-30, when "we lost serve in a 30-20 first half," according to Johnson. Tulane has won the past three games by an average score of 47.7-32.

End zone

Long-ball threat Eric Roberts suffered a sprained right ankle shortly after a 66-yard touchdown reception on Saturday, but he probably will play this week. ... Starting left guard Sean Magee is doubtful with a rib injury.

Next for Navy

Matchup: Tulane (3-5) vs. Navy (5-3)

Site: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis

When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: CN8/WJFK (1300 AM), WNAV (1430 AM)

Line: Navy by 9

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