Bowden expected to start against Navy

Army starting quarterback Chip Bowden returned to practice on Wednesday and Black Knight fans around the world sighed in relief. Losing Bowden for the big game against Navy this weekend would have been a disaster. Without Bowden, the Black Knights can't run the option effectively.

That's what Army built its season around. Furthermore, the Black Knights' season is built around Navy, and the Black Knights would have no chance snapping their six-game losing streak against the Midshipmen sans the option.

Bowden, a sophomore, rolled over on his right ankle during practice Monday. He sat out Tuesday's practice with a protective boot on his foot. It appeared that Bowden, Army's second-leading rusher with 566 yards, might be down for the count.

Army coach Stan Brock is tight-lipped, but it appears Bowden will make his ninth start against the Midshipmen (7-4) in Philly on Saturday. As expected, Bowden's back-up, senior Carson Williams, will see time during long passing situations.

Williams, who began the year as Army's starter, has not fared well in Navy games. He completed just 12 of 21 passes for 117 yards last year. In 2006, Williams was 16 of 23 for 151 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Navy's Keenan Little returned one of the picks for 40 yards to give the Midshipmen a 24-7 lead with 5:22 left in the fourth quarter.

In an ironic twist, Williams said after last year's Navy loss, that he didn't think he could run the option if Army switched to the scheme. He even thought about transferring during the offseason. Williams has hung in well during it all, but he isn't the man to start versus Navy, obviously.

Army has to come at Navy with the option and asking Williams to do that all game, effectively, would have been a tall order. On the other hand, Bowden has showed flashes of brilliance during the season. He is a work in progress, but with Collin Mooney running hard for him, this could end up being a defining moment for the young quarterback.

Navy quarterback update: Sophomore Ricky Dobbs and senior Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada are both expected to see time against the Black Knights on Saturday.

There has been no indication on who will start, but it will likely depend on Kaheaku-Enhada's balky hamstring. He partially tore it in August and has been in and out of the lineup all season. Dobbs made his first start in a 16-0 win over Northern Illinois last week and rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Dobbs has never played against Army. Meanwhile, Kaheaku-Enhada, who has had a great career at Annapolis, has had two sub-par starts against the rival Black Knights. In two wins, he's completed three of 11 passes for 18 yards and rushing 29 times for 91 yards, including 14 carries for 27 yards a year ago.

Navy beat Army 38-3 last season and 26-14 in 2006. Top Stories