Mids Play Host to Wake Forest on Homecoming Weekend
Emmett Merchant was one of four Navy players to pick off Riley Skinner in the Mids' regular-season win over the Demon Deacs.
Oct. 19, 2009
Setting the Stage
Meeting for the 11th time including the third in less than a year, Navy (5-2) and Wake Forest (4-3) are set to square off Saturday afternoon in Annapolis in a contest that will be televised by CBS College Sports.
Craig Bolerjack (play-by-play) and Randy Cross (analyst) will call the action from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (34,000) beginning at 3:30 pm.
The Navy Football Radio Network will provide more than six hours of coverage starting at 1:30 pm with its pregame show on 1430 WNAV (Annapolis) hosted by Pete Medhurst, Joe Miller and Wiley Baker.
The Navy Football Pregame Show will get underway at 2:30 pm with Bob Socci, Omar Nelson, John Feinstein and Pete Medhurst setting the scene from Annapolis, followed by game action beginning at 3:30 pm. Sirius Satellite Radio (Ch. 152) will also carry the Navy broadcast.
Following the contest, Pete Medhurst and Joe Miller will recap the day's events in a 60-minute postgame show live on 1430 WNAV.
Navy is trying to win five-straight games for the first time since 2004 when the Mids started the year 5-0.
Junior quarterback Ricky Dobbs is No. 1 in the nation in touchdowns scored (16) and points per game (13.7). He is tied for seventh in the country in points responsible for (16.3 pts/gm). His 16 rushing touchdowns are tied for the second-most in school history, just four off the record set by Chris McCoy in 1997. The NCAA record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback is 23 set by Chance Harridge of Air Force in 2002 and tied in 2007 by Tim Tebow of Florida.
Navy is vying for a record fifth-straight NCAA rushing title this year. Prior to Navy's current streak of four in a row, no team had ever won the rushing title more than twice in a row. The Mids are currently No. 5 in the country (279.0 yds/gm).
Navy, who has played a pair of overtime games in 2009, has won five straight overtime games, which is tied for an NCAA record for consecutive overtime wins.
Navy is the least penalized team in the country, averaging 3.7 penalties per game. The Mids rank second in yards penalized per game, averaging 31.7 yards per contest.
Navy and Florida are the only two teams in the country that rank in the top 20 in third down efficiency on both offense and defense. The Navy offense ranks 12th in the country in third down efficiency (.490), while the defense ranks seventh in the country (.282).
Navy has won 35 of its last 38 games when scoring first. The Mids have lost seven of the last eight games when the opposition scores first.
Pregame festivities will get underway at 1:15 pm with the Navy Football Team Walk.
Originating at the Blue Angel in the southwest corner of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, the team will make its way down the sidewalk and through NavyFest before walking up the drive to the stadium. Fans are encouraged to line up on both sides of the sidewalk to cheer for the team.
The march-on of the Brigade of Midshipmen will take place at 3:11 pm.
Saturday's fly-over will feature two F/A-18 Super Hornets from the VX-9 "Vampires" from China Lake, CA. Piloting the lead aircraft will be Lt. Mark "Warren" Huber, USNA Class of 2001. His Weapons Systems Officer is Capt. Dan "Cheese" Doster, celebrating his 25th reunion with the Class of 1984. The wing aircraft will be piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Christian "Wilson" Sewell, USNA Class of 1999. His Weapon Systems Officer is Lt. James "Lamar" Lomax, USNA Class of 2002. Ground coordinators include Weapons Systems Officer Lt. Barcley "Potsea" Stamey, USNA Class of 2002 and Lt. Col. Richard "Wyatt" Silong, USAF.
Members of the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial All-Stadium team will be honored at halftime. The defensive line and linebackers will be recognized in the season-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the first game played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Navy owns a 36-22 (.621) all-time record on Homecoming weekend.
The Mids have lost three-straight Homecoming games and have been outscored in those games 120-45 (40-15). Navy lost to Rutgers in 2006 (34-0), Wake Forest in `07 (44-24) and Pitt in `08 (42-21).
Navy's last Homecoming win was in 2005, a 49-21 victory over Tulane.
The Mids have produced an 11-13 (.458) all-time record against FBS teams on Homecoming, including just one win in the last seven games.
Navy's last win over a BCS opponent on Homecoming was in 1996 when Navy blew out Duke, 64-27.
Navy Versus The BCS/Non-BCS
Since 2003, Navy owns a 13-19 (.406) record against schools from a BCS conference and an impressive 43-8 record (.843) against non-BCS foes.
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo is 11-1 (.917) against non-BCS squads.
Navy's 13 wins against BCS schools since 2003 have come against Vanderbilt (2003), Duke (`04), Vanderbilt (`04), Rutgers (`04), Duke (`05), Stanford (`06), Connecticut (`06), Duke (`06), Duke (`07), Pitt (`07), Notre Dame (`07), Rutgers (`08) and Wake Forest (`08).
Navy's eight losses against non-BCS schools since 2003 have come at the hands of TCU (`03), Delaware (`03), Tulane (`04), Tulsa (`06), Ball State (`07), Delaware (`07), Utah (`07) and Ball State (`08).
The Last Time ...
Wake Forest 29, Navy 19 Dec. 20, 2008 | RFK Stadium | Washington, D.C.
Wake Forest outscored Navy, 22-6, in the second half to rally for a 29-19 victory over the Midshipmen in the inaugural EagleBank Bowl at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.
Wake quarterback Riley Skinner was named the game's most valuable player, completing all 11 of his pass attempts for 166 yards and one touchdown.
Navy jumped out to a 13-0 lead thanks to field goals of 40 and 47 yards by Matt Harmon and a 50-yard return of an Alphonso Smith fumble by senior cornerback Rashawn King.
The Demon Deacons took their first lead of the game on their first drive of the second half, driving 73 yards on 10 plays (nine of those plays were runs) in 5:17. Adams scored from five yards out to make the score 14-13.
Wake's Rich Belton converted a Kaheaku-Enhada fumble into a 35-yard touchdown run with 54 seconds remaining to put the game away.
Cardiac Mids Do It Again
Joe Buckley's 24-yard field goal in overtime gave Navy a thrilling 38-35 come-from-behind victory over SMU in front of 22,203 fans, including former President George W. Bush.
It was Navy's second overtime win in three games and it was the Mids' fifth-straight overtime win dating back to 2007.
The Navy offense was held to just 100 yards of total offense in the first half (84 rushing, 16 passing) as the Mids trailed the Mustangs, 21-7, at the intermission.
The Mids gained 51 of those 100 yards on the first drive of the game, as Navy took a 7-0 lead thanks to a 31-yard touchdown run by Marcus Curry.
However, SMU stormed back to score three-straight touchdowns to take a 21-7 lead. Zach Line scored on touchdown runs of three and six yards, while Sterling Moore recovered a Ricky Dobbs fumble and returned it one yard for a touchdown.
Both teams traded punts to start the second half before Navy cut the SMU lead to 21-14 on a three-yard touchdown run by junior fullback Vince Murray.
Dobbs tied the game at 21 on Navy's next drive, scoring on a 12-yard touchdown run.
SMU answered with a touchdown of its own on the final play of the third quarter when Bo Levi Mitchell hit Terrance Wilkerson with a six-yard touchdown pass to put the Mustangs back on top, 28-21.
Murray ripped off a career-long 52-yard run on Navy's next series to get the ball down to the SMU 23. Two plays later, Murray scored from seven yards out to tie the game at 28.
After the Navy defense forced a punt, the Midshipmen drove 42 yards on five plays with Dobbs scoring his second touchdown of the day to make the score 35-28.
SMU, however, would answer once again and force the game into overtime as the Mustangs covered 84 yards on 15 plays to tie the game at 35 on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell to Aldrick Robinson.
In overtime, Navy won the toss and chose to play defense and SMU strangely decided to play at the end where the Navy crowd was located and where there was a stiff cross breeze that both kickers would have to kick into.
SMU running back Shawnbrey McNeal was tripped up by Navy linebacker Ross Pospisil for a loss of one on first down and then Mitchell threw two straight incomplete passes. SMU kicker Matt Syzmanski's 43-yard field goal sailed wide right, setting up Navy with a chance to win the game.
The Mids moved the ball down to the seven-yard line as Dobbs carried the ball five times and Murray once. On fourth down, Buckley nailed the 24-yard field goal to give Navy the win.
Murray led the Mids with a career-high 141 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Dobbs rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries, while Curry had 72 yards and a touchdown on four carries. Dobbs completed four of his nine pass attempts for 68 yards.
Ram Vela and Tyler Simmons led the Navy defense with seven tackles each. Simmons added a tackle for a loss and a pass break up. Clint Sovie had six tackles, while Pospisil, Wyatt Middleton and Kevin Edwards had five tackles each.
Navy has won four-straight games for the first time since 2007 when the Mids won the final four regular-season games of the year (Notre Dame, North Texas, Northern Illinois and Army). The Mids also won four-straight in 2005 and `-6.
The last time Navy won five-consecutive games was in 2004 when the Mids started the year 5-0 with wins over Duke, Northeastern, Tulsa, Vanderbilt and Air Force.
Scouting The Demon Deacons
Wake Forest enters Saturday's contest with a 4-3 record, though it is winless (0-2) on the road.
Wake Forest has defeated Stanford (24-17), Elon (35-7), NC State (30-24) and Maryland (42-32), while dropping decisions to Baylor (24-21), Boston College (27-24, OT) and Clemson (38-3).
The Wake Forest offense is ranked 81st in rushing offense (131.1 yds/gm), 26th in passing offense (259.4 yds/gm), 52nd in total offense (390.6 yds/gm) and 73rd in scoring offense (25.6 pts/gm).
The Wake Forest defense is ranked 56th in rushing defense (130.1 yds/gm), 84th in pass defense (233.9 yds/gm), 67th in total defense (364.0 yds/gm) and 65th in scoring defense (24.1 pts/gm).
Quarterback Riley Skinner is 20th in the nation in passing efficiency (151.3 yds/gm).
Navy vs. The ACC
The Midshipmen own a 105-87-5 (.546) all-time record against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Navy has faced an ACC team in 20 of the last 21 years, including each of the last six seasons.
Vote For Dobbs for the Davey O'Brien Award
The Davey O'Brien Foundation announced on Sept. 9 that the fan vote for the 2009 Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® is open. Fans can register and cast their vote for their favorite quarterback by visiting www.VoteOBrien.org.
Fans can register and vote by visiting www.VoteOBrien.org. Each fan must complete an online registration in order to cast a vote. Once registered, voters may vote as often as once daily while voting is open.
The Fan Vote will be combined with the results from The O'Brien Selection Committee, an elite group of journalists, commentators, broadcasters and former winners. The 2009 winner will be announced on The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards Show airing Dec. 10 on ESPN and will be honored at the 33rd Annual Davey O'Brien Awards Dinner held at The Fort Worth Club on Feb. 15 in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award® (The O'Brien) honors the nation's best college quarterback of the year and inspires student-athletes to triumph both on and off the field. By recognizing and honoring athletes who excel in both sports and academics while exhibiting strong character and leadership, The O'Brien aims to help instill a lifelong moral fiber in each candidate.
Navy's Magic Man
Quarterback Ricky Dobbs has worked magic at quarterback for the Mids dating back to last season.
His 16 touchdowns this year are the most in the country and tied for the second-most rushing touchdowns in school history.
He is tied for fifth in single-season total touchdowns (rushing and receiving).
The NCAA record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback is 23 set by Chance Harridge of Air Force in 2002 and later tied in 2007 by Florida's Tim Tebow. Chris McCoy's 20 in 1997 are the third most in NCAA history.
He is also No. 1 in the country in points per game, averaging 13.7 points per contest.
He is the only quarterback in the country ranked in the top 39 in points per game. Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour and Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt are tied for 40th in the country, averaging 7.7 points per game.
He is tied for seventh in the country in points responsible for per game (rushing and passing touchdowns), averaging 16.3 points per game.
He has scored at least one rushing touchdown in seven-consecutive games, which is tied with Napoleon McCallum for the fourth-best streak in school history. Additionally, he has scored at least one rushing touchdown in all eight of his career starts.
He has played a role in 19 of the Mids' 30 touchdowns this year (16 rushing, three passing).
He has scored four rushing touchdown on three different occasions during his career, including two this year. No other Navy player has more than one-career four-rushing touchdown day.
His 24-career rushing touchdowns are tied with Aaron Polanco and Joe Bellino for sixth on the Navy all-time list.
Has four-career 100-yard rushing days, which is tied for the sixth most by a quarterback in school history.
Junior fullback Vince Murray rushed for a career-high 141 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries against SMU in just his second-career start.
Murray is the first Navy fullback to rush for over 100 yards this year and the first since Eric Kettani rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown against Army last year.
Murray's 141 yards rushing are the most by a Navy fullback since Eric Kettani rushed for 175 yards on 19 carries in Navy's 24-17 upset of Wake Forest last year.
Buckley On Fire
The last three weeks have been memorable for junior kicker Joe Buckley.
Buckley won the kicking job the week of the Air Force game and then went out and nailed all three field goals, including a career-long 47-yarder at the end of the half as well as the game-winning 38-yard field goal in overtime.
Against Rice he made all nine of his extra-point attempts, which tied for second all-time for most extra points in a game.
Against SMU, Buckley booted a 24-yard field goal in overtime to give Navy a 38-35 victory over the Mustangs.
Buckley has nailed four-consecutive field goals and is 23-for-23 on extra points this season.