Navy Football 2008 No. 3 Duke 41 Navy 31. Observations from an Olde Poolie

Navy Football 2008 No. 3 Duke 41 Navy 31. Observations from an Olde Poolie
On a sunny, hot (90+ degrees) and humid day in Durham, NC before 25,000 fans, the Midshipmen played well in the first half but, after losing FB Eric Kettani and QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada they could not sustain any offense in the second half and fell to Duke’s passing game. Duke, under new coach David Cutcliff, made adjustments on defense, and played well to earn their second win of the year. It was 100 degrees on the field.
Navy kicked off and Duke, behind the passing of QB Lewis, moved down the field and scored in 12 plays on a 27 yard pass. Navy started on the 17. On the third play, FB Kettani - Navy’s leading rusher last year - pulled a hamstring and missed the rest of the game. The Midshipmen made a close first down then Shun White took a pitch-out and scampered 73 yards for a TD. Duke 7 Navy 7 midway through the first quarter. Duke mounted another drive but settled for a 46 yard field goal to lead 10 - 7. On their next possession Navy was forced to punt after three downs. Duke bobbled the punt and Navy recovered on the nine yard line. On second down from the 11 Enhada connected with slot back Greg Shinego for a TD. Navy 14 Duke 10 as the quarter ended.
On Duke’s next possession their field goal attempt was tipped and missed. Starting on their 20, the Midshipmen moved to the 33 then Shun White, with day light in front of him, missed a pitch-out that a Duke defender scooped up and ran in for an TD. Duke 17 Navy 14. Navy gained 70 yards to the Duke 17 then Harmon kicked a FG to tie the game 17 - 17 with 1:27 left on the clock. Navy kicked off, stopped the Blue Devils, then got the ball on the Duke 45 with less than a minute to play. Four plays later slot back Bobby Doyle took a pitch-out and raced 17 yards for a TD. (Before the TD QB Kaheaku-Enhada left the game exhausted.) Navy 24 Duke 17. Navy kicked off. Duke completed two passes to Navy’s 40 yard line then kicked a 52 yard FG at the whistle. Navy 24 Duke 20.

Navy bobbled the kick-off starting the second half and started on their 12. Three plays and punt gave Duke the ball at the 50. The Midshipmen forced a punt that rolled to the Navy one. Again Navy punted and Duke started on Navy’s 38. Six plays later Duke scored on a 5 yard pass to lead 27 - 24. On their next possession Navy moved to it’s own 38 and on fourth and one decided to go for it. Duke held and took over. This time Duke needed seven plays to score and extend the lead to 34 - 24 with 1:45 left in the quarter. Navy got a good kick-off return to the 37. On their seventh play QB Bryant threw a screen pass to WR Barnes who went 68 yards for the score. A key block was thrown by Shun White. Duke 34 Navy 31 at the end of the quarter.
The Midshipmen could not get their triple-option going in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile Duke connected on a 49 yard pass to stretch the lead to 41 - 31 with 10:41 to go. The Midshipmen had the ball for two more possessions. Threw an interception on the first then unable to move effectively later.
Duke is an improved team. Navy did fine while Enhada was at QB but back-up Bryant could not sustain much of an offense in the second half. The 68 yard screen pass to Barnes was the highlight. Duke was crowding the line of scrimmage and Olde Poolie wonders why Navy did not pass more - on first down situations. Duke had 317 yards passing on 25 - 36 and only 36 yards on the ground. Navy had 207 yards on the ground and 150 passing on 8 - 10 -1. White led Navy with 112 yards on 15 carries. The coaching staff had to substitute frequently - especially on defense - as the heat was a factor. Center Ricky Moore left the game from heat problems. Poor field position in the second half did not help.
Next Week Navy hosts Rutgers in Annapolis for a 3:30 pm kick off. The game has been sold out for several weeks. Five USNA class are having five-year reunions. Those planning to attend the game should consider arriving a little early as the parking lot will be full.
Rutgers has had Navy’s number for the last three years and soundly trounced the Midshipmen at Homecoming two years ago 34 - 0. This year the Scarlet Knights have gotten off to a bad start losing at home on national TV to both Fresno State 7 - 24 and on Thursday night to North Carolina 12 - 44. They have a veteran QB plus experienced receivers. They will certainly be eager to get a “W” at Annapolis. This is a BIG game for Navy as the schedule gets even more difficult with Wake Forest and Air Force on the road. Air Force is undefeated and beat Houston 31 - 28 yesterday. Army had the day off.
2008 Navy Schedule
Aug. 30 Navy 41 Towson 13
Sept. 5 at Ball State 35 Navy 24.
Sept. 13 at Duke 41 Navy 31.
Sept. 20 Rutgers 3:30 (CSN)
Sept. 27 at Wake Forest TBA
Oct. 4 at Air Force 4:00 pm
Oct. 18 Pittsburgh 3:30 pm (CSN)
Oct. 25 SMU 3:30 pm (CSN)
Nov. 1 Temple 3:30 (CSN)
Nov. 15 Notre Dame (Balt.) 12:00 Noon (CBS)
Nov. 25 at Northern Illinois (Tues) 7 pm (ESPN2)
Dec. 6 Army (Phil.) 12:00 Noon (CBS)

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