Stanford ends Navy's home run, 41-38

Home opener is close call, but Midshipmen again come up field goal short

College football

September 11, 2005|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

In the past two weeks, Navy has proved it can be fiercely competitive with opponents from major Bowl Championship Series conferences, but it has yet to surmount that final hurdle.

The bid to step upward to another level of Division I-A football stalled again last night when a stronger, more talented Stanford team controlled much of the second half and notched a 41-38 intersectional victory before 35,670 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The result halted an eight-game home winning streak for the luckless Midshipmen, who kept tantalizingly close only to be disheartened again.

Stanford scored on four of its first five second-half possessions and Navy (0-2) couldn't keep pace with a high-powered offense fueled by the passing of Trent Edwards (21 completions for 235 yards) and the running of Anthony Kimble and Jason Evans (combined 122 yards rushing).

A 65-yard drive to the end zone with the second-half kickoff - capped by Kimble's score from the 3 - gave the Cardinal the lead, and Navy played catch-up the rest of the night.

Navy actually outgained Stanford, which used its quick-strike capability to prevail, scoring on a 93-yard kickoff return from T.J. Rushing - who was sixth nationally in that department last season - and a 46-yard touchdown on a reverse by Gerren Crotchet.

"That was another heck of a football game. It was disappointing. That's two weeks in a row we're in it until the very end. They just made more plays," said Navy coach Paul Johnson.

"It's just frustrating right now," said Navy slotback Marco Nelson, who scored a career-high three touchdowns, the first on a 19-yard return of a fumbled punt. "There are a lot of things we can all do better."

For the second straight game, Lamar Owens, the Mids' starting quarterback, had to leave temporarily because of cramping, this time in the legs.

Owens, whose hands bothered him briefly in last week's 23-20 loss to Maryland, was bottled up on the ground by an aggressive Stanford defense and threw two interceptions, but also passed for 193 yards and a touchdown to Nelson.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned [about Owens]," Johnson said. "We have to come up with a plan if he can't finish."

With reserve quarterback Brian Hampton at the controls, Navy rallied within three when Adam Ballard scored his first career touchdown, but an onside kick was recovered by the Cardinal at the Navy 48 and Stanford's possession ran the clock down to 1:34 remaining.

The Mids couldn't move the ball under Hampton on their last series and Stanford consumed the rest of the time with Edwards taking a knee.

Navy may have unveiled another major slotback threat in Karlos Whittaker, who became the first freshman in program history to rush for 100 or more yards (110). He also scored on a 44-yard run.

"That was a great effort by both teams. It was anybody's game," coach Walt Harris said after winning his Stanford debut. "It was a really tough, physical game. We had trouble protecting against them. They came hard. ... They hit you with everything, the whole kitchen sink. But our players responded."

Halftime produced a 21-21 tie when Greg Sudderth forced Edwards to fumble at the Navy 1 as the clock expired.

But the Cardinal seized the initiative with a 65-yard scoring march to launch the second half, Kimble racing in from the 3. They never lost the lead afterward although the Mids kept coming at them until the end.

It appeared Stanford might blow open the game early in the fourth quarter when Michael Sgroi's first field goal increased the edge to 38-24, but six plays later, the Mids were back in the game on the 54-yard strike to Nelson, who was wide open down the sideline.

But Navy never could get even.

"They worked hard and played their hearts out," Johnson said. "We just made some critical mistakes. We're so young. It was a tough opening to the schedule for this team."

The Mids are off this week before launching their road schedule at Rice on Sept. 24.

Stanford 14 7 14 6 - 41

Navy 7 14 3 14 - 38

First quarter

Stan-Moore 17 pass from Edwards (Sgroi kick), 8:22. Navy-Nelson 19 fumble return (Bullen kick), 2:34. Stan-Rushing 93 kickoff return (Sgroi kick), 2:22. Second quarter

Navy-Whittaker 44 run (Bullen kick), 13:34. Navy-Nelson 1 run (Bullen kick), 5:33.

Stan-Frank 2 run (Sgroi kick), 2:31.

Third quarter

Stan-Kimble 3 run (Sgroi kick), 12:30.

Navy-FG Bullen 39, 10:21.

Stan-Crochet 46 run (Sgroi kick), 3:00.

Fourth quarter

Stan-FG Sgroi 40, 14:47.

Navy-Nelson 54 pass from Owens (Bullen kick), 12:38.

Stan-FG Sgroi 47, 7:13.

Navy-Ballard 4 run (Bullen kick), 2:09.

A-35,670.

Stan Navy

First downs 22 23

Rushes-yards 35-181 54-210

Passing 235 248

Comp-Att-Int 21-33-0 15-29-2

Return Yards 30 19

Punts-Avg. 6-40.2 7-49.3

Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-0

Penalties-Yards 3-35 3-25

Time of Possession 27:47 32:13 Rushing-Stanford, Evans 10-63, Kimble 11-59, Crochet 1-46, Edwards 7-12, Frank 4-2, team 2-(minus 2). Navy, Whittaker 7-110, Ballard 13-37, Nelson 7-34, Campbell 4-13, Hall 6-12, Owens 10-8, Singleton 1-3, McCoy 1-(minus 1), Hampton 5-(minus 6). Passing-Stanford, Edwards 21-33-0-235. Navy, Owens 12-18-2-193, Hampton 3-10-0-55, Kaheaku-Enhada 0-1-0-0.

Receiving-Stanford, Frank 6-45, Moore 3-66, Kimble 3-28, Bradford 2-29, McCullum 2-27, Crochet 2-19, Evans 2-18, Horgan 1-3. Navy, Nelson 4-98, Tomlinson 4-40, Ballard 3-36, Hines 2-22, Barnes 1-34, Campbell 1-18.

Next for Navy

Matchup: Navy (0-2) at Rice (0-1)

When: Sept. 24, 6 p.m.

Radio: 1430 AM

Yesterday: Rice lost to UCLA, 63-21

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