DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Three weeks of hitting teammates in practice
instead of tackling opponents in a game had grown tiresome for
That unusually long hiatus also gave the Midshipmen a chance for
a fresh start.
Lamar Owens ran for 106 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown
with 1:18 to play Saturday to lead Navy past Duke 28-21, giving the
Midshipmen their first win after a pair of frustrating losses to
start the season.
Matt Hall and Karlos Whittaker each ran for scores for the
Midshipmen, while Tyree Barnes added a 33-yard TD catch from Owens
on the final play of the first quarter.
Navy (1-2) hadn't played since Sept. 10, when the Midshipmen
lost 41-38 to Stanford. They were scheduled to play last week
against Rice in Houston, but the game was postponed because of
It was the longest regular-season layoff in program history, and
it gave the players plenty of time to think about Navy's first 0-2
start in four years. But while coach Paul Johnson said he thought
his team looked slow in its return to the field, Owens said he
thought the layoff gave the team a chance to regroup.
The Midshipmen had chances to win their first two games. They
lost 23-20 to Maryland in the opener after the Terrapins scored the
go-ahead touchdown with 1:01 left, and made it close after falling
behind 35-24 after the third quarter against the Cardinal.
"We came out with the attitude that today was the beginning of
our season," Owens said. "We tried to learn from those first two
games and now we just want to keep pressing forward."
This time, the Midshipmen came up with their own late drive to
answer a tying score from the Blue Devils (1-4). And they won
despite committing nine penalties for 74 yards and watching Duke
hold the ball for 39 minutes.
"We overcame a lot of mistakes and a lot of penalties to win
the game," Johnson said. "We came back and that's a credit to our
kids. They found a way to win."
After Duke tied it on freshman Zack Asack's 6-yard keeper and
his 2-point conversion pass to Eron Riley with 3:20 left, Owens
sprinted 52 yards on a keeper to put Navy at the 15. Owens finished
the drive by leaping into the end zone for a 28-21 lead.
Duke had one last chance to tie it, driving to Navy's 24 with 4
seconds left. But David Mahoney broke up Mike Schneider's pass for
Deon Adams in the end zone as time expired.
It was the latest disappointing loss for the Blue Devils, who
fell behind 21-10 going into the fourth quarter of a game they had
every chance of winning.
"We have to be able to finish the deal," Duke coach Ted Roof
said. "We were in position to make some plays and we have to make
those plays. This was a gut-wrencher, the way the kids fought back
and the way it turned out."
Duke led 10-7 on Joe Surgan's field goal midway through the
third quarter before Navy's offense finally got going. On the
ensuing drive, Navy marched 85 yards in eight plays, getting a
52-yard run from Reggie Campbell to set up Whittaker's 5-yard score
for a 14-10 lead with 5:17 left in the period.
Then, after forcing a three-and-out, Navy increased that lead on
the next play when Hall carried up the middle then cut back to the
outside for a 47-yard touchdown and the 21-10 lead.
Duke closed the gap to 21-13 with Surgan's second field goal,
and tied it when Asack directed a 17-play, 66-yard drive lasting
more than 8½ minutes.
Asack, who was making his first start, threw for 111 yards and
ran for 58 while Justin Boyle ran for 64 yards and a touchdown.