Navy Coach George Welsh worried all along that the three-week layoff between his team's last game and today's Army-Navy meeting would have an adverse effect on his team and aid Army.

He was right.

Army bottled up Navy and came away with a 3-3 tie at Veterans Stadium.

"Our offense didn't seem to have its timing. We were off. We made a lot of silly mistakes," Welsh said.

Army used the three weeks to its advantage. The Cadets had lost their last four games and during the hiatus some key defensive players had a chance to get healthy, namely defensive back Dale Love and linebacker Dan Kessler.

They put in a new defense that prevented Navy's Eddie Meyers from getting outside. Meyers gained 119 yards, but needed 32 carries to do it and his longest run was only 12 yards.

"Of course we keyed on him," said safety Mike Williams, who had an interception and six tackles. "We gang-tackled him and hit him as hard as we could everytime because when he's out of the game they aren't the same team."

"They were getting a lot of back penetation," Meyers said. "On our sweeps and even some of the off-tackle plays they were penetrating and catching me from behind. We just couldn't get out into the open field."

Welsh agreed. "Army defended us very well," he said. "They played us man-to-man on the wide receivers and they brought their safety up sometimes and that bothered us. This was one of our poorest offensive showings."

The Midshipmen scoffed at any suggestions that they were looking past the Cadets to their Dec. 30 date with Ohio State in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.

"We never look past Army," Welsh said. "I didn't even allow anyone to talk about Ohio State."

"We were ready and rested and not looking past them at Ohio State," agreed middle guard Tim Jordan, who had seven tackles and two fumble recoveries. "We just couldn't get going."

Navy's Steve Fehr, who kicked one field goal, giving him 18 for the season, a school record, said Welsh consulted him before sending him out to attempt a 49-yarder which would have won the game with 2:28 to play.

"He asked me if I could kick it from there and I told him that if the wind stopped swirling I could," Fehr said.

"It didn't stop. I hit the ball well, but it got up in the air and died."

The Midshipmen were faced with a fourth down and eight situation at the 32 at the time.

"We had to try the field goal," Welsh said. "The odds of making the first down weren't good and that's in Fehr's range if the conditions are right."

Welsh said he would give his players another week off before they start preparing for Ohio State.

"Final exams start Thursday, anyway," he said.