Saturday, November 18, 2006

Navy Grounds the Owls

To the casual observer, Saturday afternoon's match up between Navy (7-3) and Temple (1-10) at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium might have been a ho-hum affair. No one told that to Navy's 35 seniors or the rest of the Midshipmen who rolled to a 42-6 victory over Temple.

33,927 fans watched Navy use a total team effort from the opening kickoff to overwhelm the Owls and jump out to a 35-0 halftime lead. Navy's defense came ready to play limiting the Temple offense to just 13 yards rushing and 83 total yards in the first half. Navy's top ranked rushing offense was clicking on all cylinders amassing 263 yards rushing and 298 total yards in the half.

Navy finished the game with 420 yards rushing for the day and 455 total yards.

The victory broke a two game home losing streak. The Mids haven't lost two consecutive games in Annapolis since the 2002 season when they went 0-5 at home.

Navy's offense continued their efficient style by scoring a touchdown on their opening drive of the game. That TD, an eight yard scamper by backup quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, was the ninth consecutive scoring drive resulting in a touchdown for the Mids' first team offense. Navy never relinquished the lead.

Navy's seniors and their parents were honored before the game in what was their final game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Special teams senior standout Anthony Piccioni had mixed feelings about today's game.

"To be honest, it hasn't really hit me yet. I've tried not to think about it because it hurts too much to think all of this is going to be gone," Piccioni said. "We've all put our whole heart and soul into this program. Along the way, we've had so many good times together. I just can't imagine what it's going to be like without football and these guys."

Piccioni's father, Sam, tries hard not to think about what the future holds for his son. "With the Iraq situation, it's tough on Naval Academy parents. We've said a lot of prayers recently."

The same holds true for all parents of not only Navy football players, but also those from Army and Air Force.

Navy head coach Paul Johnson decided to use two different 12th Mids to cover kicks during Saturday's game.

Rich Lippincott and Clint Desjarlais alternated on the kick off team had the honor of wearing number 12, as 1963 Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach has given his permission for his number to be unretired once per year for the 12th Mid. Neither player was in on a tackle.

Navy will next face Army in two weeks at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Mids have already accepted a bid to play in the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte against an ACC team.

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