- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 20, 2005

ANNAPOLIS — Paul Johnson’s sideline tirades directed at Adam Ballard have garnered a lot of attention this season. Navy’s coach still found something to yell at his new starting fullback about yesterday, but he had to be pleased with the overall performance.

Ballard, a 6-foot-1, 240-pound sophomore starting in place of the injured Matt Hall, bulled his way to 167 yards, and the Midshipmen pulled away from Temple late to win 38-17.

“I hear what [Johnson] says and not how he says it,” said Ballard, who couldn’t remember the purpose of yesterday’s yells. “He could whisper it to me, and I’d take it the same way. When he comes and gets in my face on the Jumbotron or on national television, I just listen to what he says and try not to make the same mistake.”

The yardage total and Ballard’s 29 carries were season highs for the team. He had just 180 yards coming into the game, but Ballard established himself as the go-to ball carrier early in front of 30,261 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

He rumbled through the middle of the Owls defense for a 44-yard gain in the first quarter, and his 33-yard catch-and-run set up the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Ballard sealed the contest with a 4-yard plunge for his lone touchdown of the game.

“I was really pleased with how Adam Ballard played,” said Johnson, who has gotten on Ballard this season for running the wrong way or missing blocking assignments. “That last run on the goal is what we need all of the time. He just put his head down and wasn’t going to be denied.”

The win means Navy (6-4) is bowl eligible for the third consecutive season, and Temple (0-11) has its first winless season on the field since 1959. The Mids have never been to three straight bowl games, a feat that almost certainly will happen. Johnson said he and athletic director Chet Gladchuk will sit down and discuss the postseason options, but the Poinsettia and Liberty bowls appear to be the favorites.

Temple had its chances to take control of the contest. The Owls had lost their first 10 games by an average of 37 points, but this contest was tied at 17-17 in the fourth quarter. Temple kicker Ryan Lux missed a 41-yard field goal on the game’s first drive and had a 29-yarder blocked by Navy’s Andrew Tattersall with the score knotted at 17-17.

The Owls moved the ball effectively in the first half, crossing midfield on each of the team’s five possessions. The 381 total yards of offense matched a season high for the Owls.

Temple had not led in a game beyond the second quarter but took a 17-14 lead into the half after Lux nailed a season-long 42-yard field goal as time expired.

“[At halftime] I told them I was embarrassed,” Johnson said. “I told them we can play better than that — that and a few other things.”

Quarterback Lamar Owens and slotback Marco Nelson, two of Navy’s 18 seniors in their final home game, rushed for 84 and 83 yards, respectively. Owens did not have his best day throwing the ball, completing four of 11 for 120 yards — including a 62-yarder to Nelson that set up a field goal.

Owens punctuated his 11-yard touchdown run that put Navy ahead 31-17 by bowling over Temple safety Garrett Schultz just before the goal line.

“That’s just something we’ve been trying to work on — keeping the pads low,” Owens deadpanned with Ballard sitting beside him. Ballard’s pad level is another thing that has drawn Johnson’s ire. “I just try to bring the power like nobody else.

“I think it is more fun to run over guys, so I might just start trying to run over everybody,” the 5-9, 185-pound Owens attempted to say with a straight face, before cracking a smile.

Notes — Freshman slotback Karlos Whitaker left the game in the first half with a left knee injury. He will have an MRI tomorrow. … The Mids did not score on their opening possession of the second half for the first time in seven games. … Kicker Joey Bullen set a Navy record with 39 extra points in a season. He is perfect on point-after attempts.

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