Bob Tata kicked a school record four field goals and a spirited Navy defense limited Boston College to 92 yards last night as the unbeaten Mids recorded their third victory, 19-8.
Tata, who did not miss, included a 48-yarder in his collection, matching Steve Dykes' Navy distance record. But an even more memorable boot was his first, a 37-yarder that landed atop the right post and caromed to the left, earning official sanction.
"I never saw anything like it and I kick 100 a day," Tata said, cradling the game ball he was presented by cocaptain Bill McConkey. "It was a cheapie. But the 48-yarder was very fulfilling. It's the only record here I ever cared about. Maybe now they'll stop calling me a chip-shot artist."
Tata's other field goals were from 32 and 41 yards as he became the first man in Navy's 99-year football history to kick four in a game.
While the stumbling Navy offense was bailed out by Tata, the Mids' defense was making BC look like a caged Eagle. Boston College did not cross the 50 under its own momentum and managed only four first downs, including its touchdown.
The Eagles managed less than two yards a play, lost four of six fumbles, had one punt blocked and averaged only 28.3 yards on nine others.
When BC made its initial first down with two minutes left in the first half, the homecoming crowd of 24.082 responded with a standing ovation. Much of the rest of the evening, it showered boos on the inept Eagles.
While Navy was building a 3-0 record for the first time since 1963, BC was dropping to 0-3 for the first time since 1960. It also was Navy's first victory here since 1962 and its first over BC in five meetings under Coach George Welsh.
"This was something special," McConkey said. "Over the years, they've intimidated us here."
Boston College did nothing to intimidate anyone last night, but there was always a feeling that it might erupt. Navy led by only 13-0 at the half, although it was given the ball seven times in the Eagles' territory.
Asked if he was concerned by the failure to capitalize on more opportunities, Welsh said, "Damn right, I was worried. You never know how many chances you're going to get."
BC fumbled away the ball on its first scrimmage play, but quarterback Bob Leszczynski threw an interception on Navy's second. Then the Mids' Charlie Meyers, who had battled the flu all week, blocked a punt and recovered the ball at the BC 13.
On third down from the six, Leszczynski hit tight end Curt Gainer in the right flat for the Mids' only touchdown. It was the first collegiate score for sophomore Gainer, starting in place of suspended Carl Hendershott.
Tata's 37-yarder made it 10-0 after A.B. Miller recovered a fumbled handoff at the BC 23. Tata added the 31-yarder seven plays after a 15-yard BC punt stopped at the Eagles' 33.
The 48-yarder followed fullback Dan Conway's third lost fumble of the game, early in the third period.
Navy then committed three turnovers on three straight offensive plays. Leszczynski lost the ball at the BC seven, threw an interception at the BC 40 and Mike Sherlock fumbled at the Navy 13, with sophomore defensive back Doug Alston of Washington's Carroll High making the recovery.
Luckless starting quarterback Jay Palazola had departed with a shoulder injury and it was freshman Dennis Scala who capitalized on BC's only possession in Navy territory.
Scala flipped an eight-yard pass to Paul McCarty, ending Navy's string of 11 consecutive scoreless quarters. On the two-point conversion attempt, which failed after a Scala pitchout, the quarterback was roughed. Given a second chance, Neil Green dove the 1 1/2 yards to make it 16-8.
It was sweat time for Navy, but the Mids' offensive line suddenly dominated the Eagles' big defenders and Navy drove 35 yards in eight running plays to put Tata in range of his 41-yard, against-the-wind clincher.
Perhaps the best decision Navy made all night was to take that wind and kick off after winning the toss. It put BC in a hole that is fumble fingers could not escape.
Among Navy's defense heroes were Miller and John Merrill, nine tackles each, and Thunder Thornton and Tom Paulk, eight apiece. Thornton also recovered a fumble and batted down two passes.
"We had a good pass rush and made some good hits," Welsh said. "We took a step up today. BC has good athletes and is a lot more physical than the other teams we played."