Drawing a blank

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Navy just locked up a sixth straight winning season for the first time in a long while (try since 1952 to 1961) with a victory out in the cornfields at Northern Illinois.

What was surprising was just how the Midshipmen did it – with a shutout (16-0).

It’s not unfair to say offense is Navy’s forte, and that it has been throughout the Mids’ nice little run this decade. Sometimes the defense is pretty good and there are blowouts aplenty. Sometimes, like last year, the defense is not very good and you see scores of 46-43, 48-45, 59-52, 46-44 and 74-62 in a seven-game span.

Granted two of those games went overtime. But Navy’s defense was AWOL at times.

Not tonight, though. Not while posting the program’s first shutout since a 29-0 blanking at Tulsa in 2004.

Just for fun, I thought I’d look up all of Navy’s shutouts in the last decade. That turned out to be a very short list, since that Tulsa victory was the only game that made the cut. The list of the last 20 years wasn’t much more extensive.

So instead, how about the last 30 years? Here they are, grouped by decade and including game sites:

2004: Navy 29, @Tulsa 0

1994: @Navy 7, Lafayette 0

1986: @Navy 45, Dartmouth 0
1986: @Navy 41, Lehigh 0
1983: @Navy 30, Lehigh 0
1981: @Navy 27, William & Mary 0
1981: @Navy 24, Eastern Kentucky 0
1980: @Navy 21, Boston College 0

1978: Navy 28, Army 0 (Philadelphia)
1978: @Navy 9, William & Mary 0
1978: Navy 30, @Connecticut 0
1978: Navy 32, @Virginia 0

So there it is. That’s a whole lot of shutouts against teams that eventually landed in the former Division I-AA. And tonight makes two road shutouts in the last 30 seasons.

Not bad work at all, especially since it ensured the Mids can still match their 8-4 regular season from last year – if they can take care of Army on Dec. 6 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

Patrick Stevens

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