Exit an opening

After Kaheaku-Enhada's departure, Dobbs leads comeback

Navy Rewind

November 03, 2008|By Don Markus | Don Markus,don.markus@baltsun

Shortly after Navy quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada reinjured his hamstring and left Saturday's game against Temple with five minutes to go in the third quarter, many fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium did the same.

Those who departed early missed what Kaheaku-Enhada saw from the sideline - the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in school history.

With sophomore Ricky Dobbs looking more and more like the quarterback of the present rather than of the future, and with some help from the Owls, the Midshipmen stunned Temple, 33-27, in overtime.

Asked whether the team made any major adjustments in overcoming a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit, linebacker Clint Sovie said: "No changes; it was just heart. Our team is full of heart. We just kicked it into gear and started playing. We played our hearts out."

Kaheaku-Enhada's departure was a key to the comeback. Had the senior not reinjured the hamstring that had kept him out for much of the season, the triple-option offense would have likely continued to struggle with a quarterback who had no burst.

"He was pretty emotional on the sideline because he wanted to help us win," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said of Kaheaku-Enhada, who played Saturday after missing the two previous games and five this season. "He gave us everything he could."

Leading 14-7 when Kaheaku-Enhada left, and 21-7 a few minutes later, Temple (3-6) took a 27-7 lead after an interception thrown by Dobbs helped set up an additional touchdown with a little less than 14 minutes left in the game.

"Fortunately, Ricky had gotten some significant playing time last week against SMU," Niumatalolo said. "He has been in there before. He kind of started off a little shaky; he missed some reads. But just like the rest of our team, he continued to fight."

Dobbs, who rushed 42 times for 224 yards and four touchdowns while not attempting a pass after replacing Jarod Bryant against Southern Methodist, showed other parts of his repertoire against Temple.

He showed his arm and his ability to stay in the pocket.

On what Niumatalolo called "probably the biggest play of the game," Dobbs hit a 15-yard completion to fullback Eric Kettani from the Temple 37 under tremendous pressure.

"The guy was coming off the edge," Niumatalolo said. "If he hits Ricky in the mouth, there's no telling. Unbelievable job of getting his head around and completing the ball. He played great."

One play later, Dobbs fired a 22-yard strike to T.J. Thiel for a touchdown.

The comeback was on.

By the time Dobbs was done, he had connected on five of six passes for 87 yards, had rushed for 47 yards on 13 carries, had made a heads-up pitch to Kettani near the goal line for a touchdown and scored the game-winner from 1 yard out in overtime after wide-open Temple tight end Steve Maneri dropped a pass in the end zone.

"You couldn't have picked a better scenario to speak of the heart and character of our seniors as it was today," said junior linebacker Ross Pospisil, who forced the fumble that Sovie ran in to send the game into overtime. "You'd like to see us honor them with a big blowout win, but I think this game more so honored our seniors. Sending them off, I don't think you could have had a better ending."

Replay

The fumble recovery for a 42-yard touchdown by Sovie, who missed most of last season with a foot injury that threatened his career. It was also the fifth time in six games that Pospisil forced a turnover.

Erase

The 49-yard touchdown passes from Temple's Adam DiMichele to Bruce Francis. DiMichele completed 21 of 28 passes for 340 yards, and Francis had five receptions for 151 yards.

Fast forward

The 6-3 Midshipmen, who accepted an invitation to the EagleBank Bowl at RFK Stadium, have Saturday off before playing Notre Dame (5-3) at M&T Bank Stadium on Nov. 15.

NAVY VS. NOTRE DAME

Nov. 15, noon,

M&T Bank

Stadium

TV: Chs. 13, 9

Radio: 1090 AM

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