Navy used everyone but the goat today in overpowering William and Mary, 39-3. Sixty-seven blue-shirted players participated and the Midshipmen's principal concerns did not involve the score, but injuries to key players.
Cornerback Eric Wallace apparently was the only player hurt seriously, suffering a separated right shoulder after making a second-quarter tackle.
Wallace, tailbacks Napoleon McCallum (pulled muscles in rib cage) and Rich Clouse (strained hamstring) and middle guard George Herlong (pinched nerve in neck) had departed for the day when Navy rooters in the crowd of 21,354 experienced their major moment of concern, in the third period. Quarterback Marco Pagnanelli was sacked by Mike Murphy and it became very quiet as both players lay on the ground.
"I was going to pass to a back, but he wasn't ready and I looked up and he leveled me," Pagnanelli said later, with only an icepack on his right elbow to indicate he had experienced any problems.
Until being sidelined, Pagnanelli enjoyed a remarkable afternoon. He ran for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion, gained 69 yards in 18 carries and completed 18 of 25 passes for 217 yards.
Navy totaled 559 yards on offense, its high mark of a 3-3 season. The Midshipmen would have had many more points, except for lost fumbles at the Indians' three- and five-yard lines.
Navy scored on four of its six first-half possessions; on the two occasions they failed to score, the Midshipmen were foiled by penalties rather than the Indians. It was 29-3 at intermission and obvious that Division I-AA William and Mary was out of its class.
Navy Coach Gary Tranquill had a few uneasy moments at the start. Tight end Chris Weiler misjudged the yard marker on a pass completion, then the Midshipmen moved without a snap on the ensuing third-and-one play and wound up punting.
With quarterback Dave Murphy completing three straight passes, the Indians got close enough for freshman Brian Morris to kick a 35-yard field goal and Navy trailed, 3-0.
"It seems like our first series is always unbelievable," Tranquill said. "It drives me nuts, like those ghosts in the closet."
Navy's second series eased things a bit. The Midshipmen drove 76 yards in 12 plays, with Clouse taking Pagnanelli's pitchout and covering the last four yards for a 7-3 lead. It was Clouse's only carry of the game.
Pagnanelli completed four of five passes in the drive, which required no third-down conversions. The big gainer was a 24-yard pass to Weiler that put the ball on the 18.
On the first play after Navy's kickoff, cornerback Jon Ross intercepted a pass by Murphy at the Indians' 31 and took it back to the 25. Four plays later, Pagnanelli dove the final yard to make it 14-3.
"That interception really hurt them," Tranquill said. "It was a critical play."
Stan Yagiello replaced Murphy at quarterback and the two alternated the rest of the game. Their combined 21-for-29 completion statistics looked good, but they were sacked six times and in key third-down situations Navy several times tackled receivers for losses. The sacks left William and Mary with only eight yards net rushing.
Meanwhile, Navy padded its margin. The Midshipmen moved 93 yards in 10 plays to make it 22-3 at the one-minute mark of the second quarter. McCallum went five yards around left end for the touchdown, with fullback Bryan Caraveo making the decisive block.
The score was set up by a 38-yard pass from Pagnanelli to unguarded flanker Ken Heine.
On the extra-point try, Pagnanelli fumbled the snap, but rose quickly to beat two pursuing Indians to the right-corner flag for a two-point conversion.
In the first 16 minutes, Navy had possession for 11:16 to the Indians' 4:44.
Taking over at their 22 with 1:59 left in the half, the Midshipmen needed 11 plays to build the margin to 29-3. Pagnanelli swept right end for the final yard with 10 seconds left, after completing four of five passes enroute.
A 29-yard field goal by Steve Young and a 35-yard run around right end by fullback Jim Scannell completed the scoring in the second half, when three lost fumbles prevented the Midshipmen from topping 50.
Scannell, nominally the second-string fullback, has been troubled by injuries the last few weeks. He went in because Caraveo, the fourth-string fullback a couple of weeks ago, had to shift to tailback because of the multiple injuries.
Scannell gained 55 yards in eight carries, Caraveo 82 in 14. Caraveo also caught five passes for 39 yards.
"I didn't like those fumbles, but I thought we played with more enthusiasm and aggressiveness today," Tranquill said. "Finally, we looked like a football team."