1:30 PM ET, October 15, 2005
Navy Memorial Stadium, ANNAPOLIS, MD
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Navy has grown accustomed to games being decided in the final minute.
Lamar Owens threw for 169 yards and rushed for another 110 and Navy won its third straight game, beating Kent State 34-31 Saturday.
The Midshipmen won their two previous games with scores on their final drive.
Joey Bullen kicked a 22-yard field goal with 7:34 left to put Navy ahead 34-24. Kent State pulled within three on Luke Tillman's 10-yard run with 1:42 remaining, but Navy (3-2) was able to run out the clock after the Golden Flashes (1-5) failed to recover an onside kick.
"It wasn't a pretty game, and that would be an understatement," Navy coach Paul Johnson said. "We missed so many opportunities on offense in the first half. But our kids found a way to win."
Each of Navy's games this season has been decided by seven points or less. It was the fourth straight loss for Kent State.
Navy had a season-high 532 yards of total offense, including a season-best 336 yards rushing. The Midshipmen also had four turnovers and were fooled on a fake punt by the Golden Flashes.
"Any time you win, you should be happy," Johnson said.
Navy led 14-10 at the half, but the Midshipmen squandered scoring chances when Owens was intercepted in the end zone and Bullen missed a 40-yard field goal attempt just before halftime.
"There are a lot of kids with their heads down. They are disappointed with the way we played," Johnson said.
Kent State came back to tie the score twice in the second half.
Jerry Flowers scored on a 1-yard run with 11:41 remaining in the game to tie it at 24, but Navy responded just 1:23 later when Owens scored on a 1-yard run, capping a 4-play, 50-yard drive.
Owens was 6-of-10 passing, and Jason Tomlinson has five catches for 115 yards -- becoming the first Navy player since 1998 to record back-to-back 100-yard receiving games.
All four Navy touchdowns came on the ground, with Adam Ballard, Brian Hampton, Karlos Whittaker and Owens all scoring from short yardage.
Michael Machen went 25-of-41 for 292 yards for the Golden Flashes. He threw a 65-yard touchdown to Najah Pruden and connected with Brian Bell for an 18-yard score.
"The old days of Kent State getting beat up and blown out by people are over," coach Doug Martin said. "If you are going to beat us, you better be willing to go down to the last play of the game."
For the first time this season, Navy scored first in a game. Ballard scored on a 4-yard run, capping a five-play drive after a 14-yard punt gave Navy the ball at the Kent State 35.
Hampton's 2-yard run capped a 16-play, 75-yard drive that gave the Midshipmen a 14-0 lead with 5:24 left in the first half.
Kent State cut the lead to 14-10 before halftime. On the next play from scrimmage, Machen hit Pruden for a 65-yard touchdown. The Golden Flashes recovered a Navy fumble on the kickoff, setting up a 45-yard field goal by Travis Mayle.
Bullen kicked a 26-yard field goal to give Navy a 17-10 lead early in the third quarter, but Kent State tied the game on Machen's 18-yard pass to Bell. Navy took the lead again on Whittaker's 1-yard run, which was set up by a pair of 22-yard completions from Owens to Tomlinson and Tyree Barnes.
Kent State tied again it with a 77-yard touchdown drive, kept alive by a fake punt that picked up 16 yards. But an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a kickoff that went out of bounds gave Navy the ball at midfield, and the Midshipmen quickly took the lead for good.
Navy did not punt in the game.
Kent State's Nate Manning was injured on the Golden Flashes' final scoring drive and was taken to a nearby hospital for observation.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-14||9-14|
|4th Down Conversions||3-3||0-1|
|TD||3:46||ADAM BALLARD 4 YD RUN (JOEY BULLEN III KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 35 yards.
|TD||5:24||BRIAN HAMPTON 2 YD RUN (JOEY BULLEN III KICK)|
Drive info: 16 plays, 75 yards.
|TD||5:10||NAJAH PRUDEN 65 YD PASS FROM MICHAEL MACHEN (TRAVIS MAYLE KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 65 yards.
|FG||3:03||TRAVIS MAYLE 45 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 6 yards.
|FG||10:10||JOEY BULLEN III 26 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 56 yards.
|TD||7:17||BRIAN BELL 18 YD PASS FROM MICHAEL MACHEN (TRAVIS MAYLE KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||1:17||KARLOS WHITTAKER 1 YD RUN (JOEY BULLEN III KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 58 yards.
|TD||11:41||JERRY FLOWERS 1 YD RUN (TRAVIS MAYLE KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 77 yards.
|TD||10:18||LAMAR OWENS 1 YD RUN (JOEY BULLEN III KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 50 yards.
|FG||7:34||JOEY BULLEN III 22 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 21 yards.
|TD||1:42||LUKE TILLMAN 10 YD RUN (TRAVIS MAYLE KICK)|
Drive info: 17 plays, 78 yards.