Navy routs Temple 42-6, Army on Deck

ANNAPOLIS- The only drama on Senior Day at Navy Marine Corps Stadium this Saturday was provided by a bunch of children in the north end of the stadium. Utilizing torn pieces of cardboard, hundreds of kids trampled on each other as they slalomed down the hills in the grassy areas overlooking the end zone. Luckily nobody appeared to get hurt.

Meanwhile on the field, Temple looked as if they were running up hill all day against Navy's stingy defense as the Midshipmen earned their 8th victory of the year with a 42-6 drubbing of the Owls (1-11).

 

Navy's offense, at least in the first half, was equally as impressive, as they rolled up 263 yards on the ground en route to a 35-0 lead at the intermission.  It was a good thing that Navy (8-3) got a big lead because their offense fell asleep for most of the second half, which will give Coach Paul Johnson something to complain about over the next two weeks as the Mids prepare for arch-rival Army.  After the game, though, Johnson took the blame for the offense's performance in the second half. 

 

"I probably did a poor job at halftime keeping our kids focused," remarked Johnson. 
"I think we clearly lost focus there in the third quarter a little bit.  But all in all, forty-two is more than six…but there are certainly a lot of things we can improve on and get better at."

 

One person who will probably be given a pass from Johnson will be sophomore quarterback Kaipo Kaheaku-Enhada who rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns. 

 

Two other players who should probably go without much critiquing will be the 12th Mids, Rich Lippincott and Clint Desjarlais.  Showing surprising speed and the ability to take a good hit on the chin, both Lippincott and Desjarlais did a respectable job covering kicks in what has become an annual tradition in Annapolis.  During one of the kicks it even appeared as if Desjarlais was able to induce a 10-yard holding penalty on Temple.

 

"I thought (the 12th Mids) were running down the field pretty hard.  A couple of times they almost got in on the play," said Johnson.  "It's fun for them and it's fun for us."

 

Shun White, who only touched the ball seven times, made the most of his chances, accounting for 114 yards and two touchdowns as Navy's triple option was just too much for the young and inexperienced Temple defense. 

 

On the other side of the ball, Navy's defense did not allow Temple's offense to get a first down until there was just over five minutes left in the first half. 

 

"Anytime you can hold a team to six points, that's a positive.  I thought (the defense) played really well, especially in the first half," said Johnson.

 

Overall, the Owls only managed 13 rushing yards on 27 carries.  And while Temple did throw for 216 yards, most of that yardage came after the game was out of reach.  Navy's defense also generated a season-high six sacks.

 

All in all, it was not a bad send-off from Navy Marine Corps Stadium for the Navy seniors.  However, according to one of them, senior linebacker Tyler Tidwell, there is still one big milestone yet to be achieved.

 

"The one thing we want to be remembered for is to be the first Naval Academy football team to go undefeated against the other service academies.  We know Army is going to come out like they do every year, fired up.  Especially this year because they know that they can spoil that goal for us."

 

Navy now has two weeks to prepare for the Black Knights, who were thumped by Notre Dame 41-9 on Saturday to fall to 3-8 on the season.

 

Game Notes

 

- After establishing himself as the fullback of the future last week, Eric Kettani talked it up a bit with the media in comparing himself to starter, Adam Ballard.  In the Annapolis Capital, Kettani was quoted as saying that he thought he "might be a little more shifty" than Ballard, and that he's "got better hips and a little more speed" than the junior starter.

 

Ballard, who only practiced twice before the Temple game, was alternating carries with Kettani in the first half on Saturday.  However, during one play Ballard dropped a screen pass which would probably have resulted in a touchdown.  On the subsequent drive, the same play was called, but this time Kettani made the grab.  Kettani probably lost any bragging rights though over Ballard when he fumbled later in the game.

 

- Temple now has 10 months to review film of this game before they prepare for their opening game next season, which ironically, is against Navy.

 

- For fun, I'd say that Navy will be a 16-point favorite against Army.

 

- Perhaps Navy Athletic Director should try to manipulate the football team's schedule so the Midshipmen's opponents would increase in difficulty as the season goes on.  In the past four years, the Mids are 9-1 after November 13th, with the lone defeat coming against Texas Tech in the Houston Bowl.  In 2008, Navy plays Notre Dame on November 15th!!  Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself, but after a game like this, can you blame me?


Temple quarterback Adam DiMichele (13) pitches the ball as he is hit by Navy's Tyler Tidwell during the second quarter of a college football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006, in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Matthew S. Gunby)

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