- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 14, 2001

ANNAPOLIS For the second straight week, Navy found itself in a winnable football game. And for the second straight week, Navy's offense faltered in the fourth quarter.
The Midshipmen's defense stripped Rice of the ball with 1:40 to play and returned the fumble to the Owls' 47-yard line, but Navy could not run an effective two-minute offense. The Mids went backward on their last possession and fell 21-13 on homecoming before 29,106 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Last week Navy had the ball and was down six points to Air Force in the game's waning minutes befoe turning over the ball. Navy has lost eight straight, 14 out of 15 at home and 15 of 16 overall.
"Our offense has had two opportunities in a two-minute situation and has not got it done," coach Charlie Weatherbie said.
It looked like Rice (5-1) would kill the clock after Navy (0-5) cut the lead to eight with 8:02 remaining. The Owls took the kickoff and marched 50 yards on 12 plays. But Navy linebacker Eddie Carthan stripped Rice running back Vincent Hawkins, and safety Matt Brooks returned the ball 36 yards to the Rice 47.
"We thought we could run the clock out or at least kick a field goal," Rice coach Ken Hatfield said. "We just fumbled the ball. Navy's only choice was to try and strip the ball out, and they did it."
But Navy quarterback Brian Madden could not capitalize, and made poor decisions in clock management. On first down, he moved out of the pocket and was sacked instead of throwing the ball away or hitting an outlet receiver in the flat.
Navy was flagged for a holding penalty on second down and could not generate any yards on a wide receiver screen on second-and-23. On third-and-long, Madden bounced a pass to receiver Jeff Gaddy when a good throw would have given the Mids a first down.
On fourth down, Madden scrambled for 13 yards, instead of throwing it deep, and the Mids turned it over on downs.
"We make costly mistakes that take away our chances to score," said Madden, who rushed 34 times for 94 yards, the first time in his eight career starts that he has failed to reach 100 yards. "You can't ask for the defense to make a bigger play. As an offensive unit and quarterback myself, we didn't come through, and I think that's what separates us from being a 4-1 team."
Navy's defense shut out the Owls in the second half after allowing three touchdowns in the first two quarters. Rice quarterback Kyle Herm was 6-for-10 for 102 yards passing, finished with 91 yards rushing on 14 carries and accounted for all three scores.
Herm had a 7-yard touchdown run and tossed his first two touchdown passes of the season. The two scoring throws one to running back Robbie Beck and one to receiver Matt Webber exploited Brooks, who was beaten badly to the middle of the field on both.
"We win or lose as a team, but I gave up two touchdowns that cost us," said Brooks, who finished with 10 tackles. "I take the brunt of responsibility for this one."
A winless season is becoming more likely for the Mids, who received two first-half field goals from David Hills. Navy has five games remaining and three realistic chances at a victory at Rutgers on Saturday, Tulane on Nov. 10 and against Army on Dec. 1.
"We have five games left and we need to pull together," said Madden, who threw for 125 yards on 10 of 15 passing, and scored the Mids' only touchdown on a 1-yard run. "Winning will make it fun to play for all of us."

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide