Navy Sinks LA Tech, 32-14
Sept. 12, 2009
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland - Louisiana Tech built a 14-point lead and then watched it disappear in a 32-14 loss to Navy Saturday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 14-0 advantage less than six minutes into the game compliments of a Daniel Porter three-yard touchdown run and a Phillip Livas 85-yard punt return before Navy scored 32 unanswered points as LA Tech fell to 0-2 on the season.
"We had a great start," said Tech head coach Derek Dooley. "We went out there, threw it around the field as well as we've ever thrown it, went ahead 14-0 but I don't think anyone got complacent. We were playing a good football team, and they punched back.
"It was a four point game at halftime but at the end of the day we were in a three-and-out funk on offense. You are not going to beat anybody going three-and-out four or five times in a row. You are certainly aren't going to beat a good team like Navy doing that, as they eat up the clock with their run game and they don't give you many opportunities."
Tech marched 74 yards on 10 plays on its opening possession as Porter gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead on the three-yard run with 11:15 to play in the first quarter. Quarterback Ross Jenkins orchestrated the drive, completing 6-of-7 passes for 74 yards, including a key 27-yard completion to RP Stuart down to the Navy three-yard line on a third-and-16 play.
After a three-and-out by the Midshipmen, Livas provided the Bulldog faithful an electrifying 85-yard punt return for a touchdown. Livas fielded the punt on the Bulldogs 15-yard line, burst up the middle and then took it outside racing untouched down the Bulldog sideline for an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
"Well, he does what he's been doing for three years now, and it does not surprise us when he takes one to the house," Dooley said. "We just hope he gets a chance and they gave us a chance so we took advantage of it."
The punt return for a score was the third of Livas' career, tying him with Larry Anderson for the most in Bulldog history. It was also his fifth kick return (punt + kickoff) for a score, also tying Anderson for the most in the record book. It was the fifth longest punt return in Bulldog history and Livas' career long.
It was also the first punt return for a touchdown allowed by Navy since Aug. 30, 2001.
However, it would be the final offensive fireworks of the day for Tech which recorded only 167 total yards on the day, only 51 coming in the second half.
Navy made the score 14-3 with 4:31 to play in the opening quarter on a 43-yard field goal by Joe Buckley, the first of his college career.
The Midshipmen cut the deficit to 14-10 late in the first quarter on a 16-yard scamper down the right side by Cory Finnerty. The score was set up after Navy intercepted a Jenkins pass on a play where freshman Lyle Fitte had the pass bounce off his hands and into the air where Jabaree Tuani picked it off.
Navy took its first lead of the game on a three-yard touchdown run by Ricky Dobbs with 11:10 to play in the second quarter. Dobbs run capped a 48-yard scoring drive after Navy took over possession inside the Bulldogs side of the field following a 17-yard punt by LA Tech.
Neither team scored the rest of the half although Navy missed on a golden opportunity when wide receiver Doug Furman got behind the Bulldog secondary but dropped a sure touchdown pass from Dobbs around the LA Tech five-yard line. Navy would miss a short field goal attempt right before the half as the Midshipmen led 18-14.
After both team's offenses were unable to score in the third quarter, Navy put the game away in the final 15 minutes as Marcus Curry scored on a three-yard run and Dobbs added a two-yard run to give the Midshipmen the victory.
Jenkins finished the game 18-of-29 for 156 yards and one interception while Houston Tuminello (4-29), Porter (4-24), Stuart (3-43) and Dennis Morris (3-26) were the leading receivers for the Bulldogs.
For the second consecutive game, Tech struggled on the ground as the Midshipmen - who have led the country in rushing for four straight years - outrushed the Bulldogs 290-11. Porter led Tech with 44 yards on 10 carries.
Curry led Navy with 124 yards on 15 attempts while Dobbs was held in check by the Bulldogs with 47 yards on 25 carries.
Tech opens its home slate Saturday when the Bulldogs host Nicholls State at 6 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium as the game will feature the debut of the brand new 1,500 square foot high definition video board.
Tickets can be purchased at www.latechsports.com or by calling the Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631.
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