ANNAPOLIS Navy interim coach Rick Lantz picked up where dismissed Charlie Weatherbie left off yesterday as the winless Midshipmen dropped their eighth straight game, 42-28 to Tulane, before 31,456 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Lantz, a former Marine who took over for Weatherbie on Oct. 28, made his debut on Senior Day. However, that factor and the emotion of the day, which also marked the 226th anniversary of the Marine Corps, did not help the Mids. Navy has not won at home since 1999, losing nine straight and 18 of 19.
“We had a good week of practice,” senior quarterback Brian Madden said. “Coach Lantz did a good job preparing us. The change brought a change of pace we hadn’t had. … I thought we would have played better. We fought back but … let the opportunities slip away from us.”
Navy’s pass-efficiency defense, which entered the game ranked last in Division I-A, could not stop the Green Wave (3-8). Tulane quarterback Patrick Ramsey completed 36 of 49 for 442 yards and three touchdowns, breaking the stadium record of 406 yards by Navy’s Jim Kubiak in 1991).
Ramsey connected with eight receivers, dissecting Navy’s defense with middle and outside wide receiver screens and flare passes to running back Mewelde Moore, who had nine catches for 130 yards. He also rushed 22 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
“They came out with screens and we thought they would throw it deep,” said Navy safety Paul Clarkson, who had an interception. “We can’t make excuses. … They didn’t test us deep as much as we thought they would, but when they did, more times than not it worked.”
In the loss, Navy set season highs for rushing attempts (56), pass attempts (34), rushing yardage (300) and points (26). Madden carried 33 times for 201 yards and three touchdowns, but Navy could not stop the Green Wave’s offense.
On the first drive of the game, Navy marched 52 yards to the Tulane 28 but faced a fourth-and-10. Lantz decided to go for the first down rather than kick a field goal into a slight wind, but his pass sailed high to Chandler Sims. Tulane took over, and scored touchdowns on its first three possessions. Navy finally scored with 8:42 to play in the half on a 43-yard touchdown run by Madden.
The Mids forced the Green Wave to punt with two minutes remaining in the half, and Gene Reese broke a 26-yard return to set up the Mids’ offense at the Tulane 31. Madden scored on a sneak with 24 seconds remaining, and the Mids entered halftime down 21-14.
Tulane marched 80 yards on the first drive of the second half for a touchdown and never looked back. Madden led a long drive on Navy’s next possession but fumbled at Tulane’s 4 to kill the Mids’ hopes. The Green Wave then went 96 yards, scoring on a 62-yard pass to Roydell Williams his third touchdown of the day for a 35-14 lead.
Madden threw an interception on the Mids next possession, and Lynaris Elpheage returned it 48 yards for a touchdown.
“What was upsetting to me was the letdown we had after we didn’t score,” Lantz said. “We can’t worry about things like that. We have to know how to respond if we make a great play or if we make a bad play. We can’t act like it is a surprise.”