- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 11, 2005

ANNAPOLIS — For the second consecutive week, Navy’s offense proved it could move the ball against a stingy defense from a BCS conference. A poor defensive performance and an injured starting quarterback in the second half proved all too familiar as well for the Midshipmen.

Stanford took control of a shootout in the third quarter and hung on 41-38 in front of 35,670 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

“We had a hard time getting them stopped, and we had a hard time being consistent on offense,” Navy coach Paul Johnson said. “I never really felt like we were out of the game, but we just didn’t get it done at the end.”

Senior quarterback Lamar Owens passed for 193 yards for Navy (0-2), but for the second consecutive game missed time with cramps. Owens had a cramp in his hand against Maryland but returned for the final two series. He missed a series in the third quarter before leaving for good midway through the fourth with leg cramps against the Cardinal (1-0).

Backup Brian Hampton led an 80-yard touchdown drive to cut Stanford’s lead to a field goal with 2:09 remaining. The Cardinal recovered the ensuing onside kick but were unable to run out the clock. However, Hampton’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete with 53 seconds left to seal the loss.

“Yeah [I’m worried about Owens]. I’d be lying if I wasn’t,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to come up with a plan for that. He can’t finish a game. I thought Hampton did some things when he was in there. We’ve got to get him ready to play.”

The Cardinal scored on their first three and four of their first five possessions to open the second half after the score was knotted at 21-21 at halftime. Anthony Kimble capped a run-dominated drive with a 3-yard dash on Stanford’s first drive after the break.

Wide receiver Gerren Crochet — an injury replacement after starter Evan Moore left with a dislocated hip late in the first half — scored on the next possession via a 46-yard reverse.

A 47-yard field goal from Stanford kicker Michael Sgroi with 7:13 left in the fourth quarter proved to be the winning score. Navy’s offense racked up 458 total yards, but the defense yielded 416.

Stanford rushed for 181 yards, 100 more than it averaged last season.

“Coach [Walt] Harris did a good job. He pretty much did the same stuff he did at Pitt,” Navy linebacker Rob Caldwell said. It was Harris’ first game as Stanford’s coach. “We watched a lot of film and knew what they were going to do. We just didn’t execute. We missed tackles, and we missed assignments.”

Navy slotback Karlos Whittaker rushed for 110 yards on seven carries, becoming the first plebe to eclipse the century mark in a game in program history. Senior slotback Marco Nelson finished with 155 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns. The first came on a 19-yard fumble return after fellow starting A-back Reggie Campbell dislodged the ball from Stanford punt returner David Marrero.

The ball was knocked away from a pile of players by another starting offensive player, wideout Mick Yokitis.

“You can make a play on every down, special teams or whatever,” Nelson said. “There is an opportunity to score or get better field position, so you’ve got to go 100 percent and try to make a play.”

Nelson also scored on a 1-yard run and a 54-yard pass from Owens. It was Owens’ first career touchdown pass.

Notes — The crowd was the fourth largest in stadium history. … Navy has a weekend off before playing at Rice on Sept.24.

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