Navy defense stands and delivers win

Offense has just 1 completion, 4 turnovers

Navy 21 Massachusetts 20

September 10, 2006|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun reporter

Navy football coach Paul Johnson was fuming and frustrated yesterday. After watching his offense bog down with shaky quarterback play and too many turnovers against visiting Massachusetts, after spending three hours shuffling starting quarterback Brian Hampton and backup Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada in and out of the lineup without conclusive results, all Johnson could smile about was the bottom line.

With a big assist from its defense and special teams, Navy overcame a mistake-packed afternoon, starting with a rough outing by Hampton, by doing just enough to win. The Mids rushed for 268 yards, held the Division I-AA Minutemen to 80 yards in the second half and forced two fourth-quarter turnovers to hold on for a 21-20 victory before 30,117 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Navy@Stanford Saturday 10 p.m., 1090 AM, 1050 AM, 1370 AM, 1430 AM

PLAY IT AGAIN

A look at yesterday's game:

What went right / / The defense, which typically takes a back seat at Navy, rose up and stuffed UMass, limiting the Minutemen to six points in the second half. Linebackers Rob Caldwell and Clint Sovie and defensive end John Chan each had nine tackles, and the Mids forced three turnovers.

What went wrong / /Neither starting quarterback Brian Hampton nor backup Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada was especially sharp, but Navy's offense had barely a whiff of rhythm. The Mids turned the ball over four times, and counting a muffed punt it retained, Navy put the ball on the ground eight times.

Defining moment / / Junior slotback Reggie Campbell's 72-yard kickoff return put the Mids in excellent field position, leading to a touchdown that gave Navy a 21-17 lead.

What it means / / Navy is 2-0 for only the fourth time in the past 20 years..

Up next / / Navy travels to Stanford (0-2) on Saturday. The Cardinal edged the Mids in Annapolis last year, 41-38.

[Gary Lambrecht]

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