2000 game a warm memory for Mids

Last time rivalry came to town, Navy beat Army in chilly thriller

College Football

November 29, 2007|By Sandra McKee | Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER

It was a cold, blustery, 30-degree day in Baltimore on Dec. 2, 2000. Many in the crowd could no longer feel their faces or toes by the time Navy wrapped up a thrilling 30-28 victory over archrival Army.

But on the field at what is now M&T Bank Stadium, Navy senior quarterback Brian Broadwater felt only the warmth that came with victory.

"From what I heard, it was one of the coldest games to watch in a long time," said Broadwater, now a lieutenant based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, near Fresno, Calif., where he is a flight officer.

"Interestingly, I don't think it had any effect on any of the players and did not bother me," he said via e-mail. "We had been 0-10, and it was the best feeling ever, to fight all game long and have the game come down to the wire and Navy being victorious. ... It was a feeling of relief to finally enjoy a victory."

That Army-Navy game, played before 70,685, was the first in Baltimore since 1944. It was also the first won by Navy here and the last played before the terrorist attacks of 2001 made the future of the players more hazardous.

Saturday, the Army-Navy game returns to Baltimore for the first time since that 2000 game, to which the two teams brought a combined 1-19 record.

Then-Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie had walked into the stadium to look around before his team took the field and hustled back to the locker room, not to get away from the cold but to warn his players about what they were going to see.

"It was such a great venue," said Weatherbie, whose current Louisiana-Monroe football team just finished a 6-6 season, its first non-losing season since 1993. "That's what I remember. I remember going into the locker room and telling the players not to get caught up in the JumboTrons, those big screens. I told them we were there to play a game, not watch it."

Weatherbie said at the time that the game had more peaks and valleys than he could remember in an Army-Navy meeting.

There were seven touchdowns, three field goals, 58 points and seven turnovers. There also were two calls that went against Army in the last 2:44 that could have changed the result.

There were outstanding performances by Broadwater - 121 yards rushing and 88 passing - and by Army running back Michael Wallace, who had 19 carries for 159 yards to go over 1,000 yards for the season.

"I don't think I've ever been colder coaching a game than I was that day," then-Army coach Todd Berry said. "But that game meant so much on so many levels."

Berry had recently lost his father, Ruben, a longtime successful coach at Northeastern Oklahoma Junior College who had taught him the significance of the Army-Navy game.

"I must have been about 11, and we always watched the Oklahoma-Nebraska game," said Berry, now assistant head coach for offense at UNLV. "But that afternoon, the Oklahoma game was going against Army-Navy, and my dad insisted we watch the academies. He said we should see it because `that's the way the game should be played.' "

The 2000 game was Berry's first. He wanted a win for his father and because a win against Navy cures a lot of ills for a 1-9 team.

But that day, in the end, was Navy's. The Mids intercepted two passes and recovered three fumbles. One of the recoveries was by Navy co-captain Brad Wimsatt, who scored to give the Mids a 27-7 lead late in the third quarter.

The momentum shifted when Army defensive back Ben Woodruff picked up a blocked punt and scored. Berry changed quarterbacks, and Army found its footing in the fourth quarter behind backup Curtis Zervic, who went 9-for-15 for 99 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

It was anyone's game, but in the final 2:44, with Army trailing by two points, officials ruled that an onside kick recovered by the Cadets had been touched before the ball had traveled the required 10 yards.

With 1:33 to play, Army defensive back Andrew Burke bumped into Navy kicker David Hills on a missed 43-yard field-goal attempt after the ball was kicked. The disputed penalty gave Navy a first down, and the Mids ran out the clock.

"In would be interesting in these days of the replay to look at that onside kick again," Berry said. "I saw it rerun about seven times on the news that night, and I've yet to see anyone touch that ball."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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