Proctor Makes a Splash in Debut

Kriss Proctor and Vince Murray combined for 264 of Navy's 338 total yards, all on the ground, to lead the Mids over Wake Forest 13-10 on Saturday in Annapolis. The victory moves Navy (6-2) one game shy of qualifying for its record seventh consecutive bowl game. The Demon Deacons, who were led by senior quarterback Riley Skinner's 173 yards and one touchdown, fell to 4-4 on the season.

Proctor was making his first career start in place of the country's leading scorer, junior quarterback Ricky Dobbs, who sat out the game with a knee injury. The sophomore faced to pretty large hurdles even before the first snap of the game. First, the Mids were trying to break a three-game losing streak on Homecoming - their last win coming in 2005 against Tulane. And instead of playing the game on a nice, crisp autumn day, Proctor's first start was welcomed by a torrential rain storm, complete with wind gusts over 40 mph throughout the game.

Neither obstacle seemed to bother the California native as he orchestrated Navy's triple option offense to near perfection albeit without even attempting a pass. It was the second time in two seasons the Mids managed to accomplish that feat...and win. The also did not throw a pass in last season's 34-7 victory over SMU.

Proctor and the ground game did receive help though from a few teammates, including kicker Joe Buckley, whose 50-yard field goal late in the first quarter opened up the scoring and gave the Mids a 3-0 lead. Aided by the aforementioned wind, Buckley's kick was a career long.

Wake Forest returned the favor and answered Navy's last drive of the first quarter with an impressive 9 play, 47 yard one of their own to open the second quarter. They capped it off with a 40-yard field goal by Jimmy Newman.

On their next possession, Proctor led Navy on a clock-eating 6:19 drive that featured a nifty 35-yard run by fullback Vince Murray. However the drive stalled after a questionable chop block penalty against the Mids and Navy settled for a 41-yard field goal attempt by Buckley. The junior made the kick...into the wind...and in the middle of a monsoon to give the Mids the lead, 6-3. A lead that would stand going into the locker room as the next four drives resulted in no points.

With rain still coming down in buckets to start the third quarter, Proctor led the Mids on am impressive 73-yard drive, 40 of those yards coming when he kept the ball and raced to the end zone for his fourth score of the year which put the Mids up 13-3.

For a defense that had seen the Mids offense, four times in the last three years, Proctor was doing a great job of keeping the Demon Deacons off-balance.

"Its impossible to be where you want to be against them. Last year we saw them twice, but typically we get them once a year. And to try and get your kids ready to play this offense in three or four days is a nightmare for coaches," said Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe.

According to Grobe, he was hoping that Proctor's first start would have led to some mistakes.

"He did a very good job. We were hoping to get some more turnovers in the game. Sometimes an inexperienced guy puts the ball on the ground more," said Grobe.

Grobe got his wish after the Mids defense stopped Wake Forest on fourth down. Proctor once again marched the Mids into the red zone, this time aided by Alexander Teich's 31-yard run. However, this time, Proctor fumbled the ball on second down at the Demon Deacon's 2-yard line.

The fumble, which prevented the Mids from putting the game away, almost brought Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo to do the unthinkable...utter a curse word.

"I didn't swear, but I said some things I probably shouldn't. You just have to take care of the ball. To his defense, the fullback missed his block, so that was the guy who hit Kriss. We shouldn't have been in that position. We should have punched it in a few plays before," said the normally word-cautious Niumatalolo.

However, Navy's defense once again answered the call, forcing Wake Forest to punt on their next possession. The unit was led all day by its linebacking corps, especially Tony Haberer and Ross Pospisil, who combined for 16 tackles, 2 sacks, and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Navy's defense managed to keep Wake Forest out of the end zone until Skinner found Devon Brown for a 15-yard touchdown with 7:41 left to play.

With the score 13-10, Navy had a chance to put the game away if it made a few first downs, but their drive stalled. However, Kyle Delahooke, who was spectacular all day, boomed a 68-yard punt into the end zone, which allowed the Mids defense to take over with 80-yards behind them.

A holding penalty and three incompletions forced Wake Forest to punt the ball back to Navy with just over 2 minutes left in the game. Two third downs later, Murray, who finished with a career high 175 yards, rumbled 42 yards to seal the deal.

The win was the third in four games for the Mids by 3 points and it left their coach searching for the right words to describe his resilient team.

"Once again our kids leave me speechliess. That's a great football team we played. Our kids played well. We battled the whole game and our defense was really strong at the end."



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