Akron-Navy Football -- Because of an editing error in Sunday's editions, the University of Akron was identified as a Division I-AA school. Akron is in Division I-A. (Published 10/15/90)

ANNAPOLIS, OCT. 13 -- Senior fullback Dominic Flis made his first collegiate touchdown memorable, running 17 yards for the fourth-quarter score that lifted Navy to a 17-13 victory over Division I-AA Akron today.

The Midshipmen (3-3) achieved almost total superiority in the second half after four turnovers contributed to a 13-7 halftime deficit. The Zips (3-3-1) were unable to forge a first down in their last five possessions and were limited to 67 yards after intermission.

It was a remarkable performance by a Navy defense that began the game without three starters and saw a fourth, nose guard Andy Kirkland, leave with a sprained right knee in the second quarter.

Also sharing the credit was a Navy offensive line that had not played well in earlier games. The Midshipmen controlled the line of scrimmage in the second half, when they had possession for more than 20 minutes.

Quarterback Alton Grizzard, replaced as the starter by Gary McIntosh, finally took the reins midway through the third quarter and guided a ball-control offense in which he threw only three times in 39 plays.

The ground game was dictated largely by a knee injury that forced flanker Jerry Dawson to the bench in the second quarter, after he had caught a career-high seven passes for 92 yards.

"When you can pound and run, that's the tough part of football," said Navy Coach George Chaump. "Our guys pounded and blocked well after adversity set in. We had to go away from our original game plan after Dawson got hurt, because we couldn't count on three wideouts any more."

After he took over with the 13-7 deficit, Grizzard drove the Midshipmen to second and one on the Akron 7, but three plays lost a yard as Chaump passed up the field-goal possibility.

Navy got the ball back and wound up fourth and five at the Akron 16. This time Frank Schenk kicked a 34-yard field goal to close the gap to three points.

A clipping penalty wiped out a potential first down and Akron punted again. It took Navy nine plays, two of them flat passes worth 11 yards and the rest on the ground, to go 72 yards for the game winner.

Flis broke free up the middle, cut to his right and was all alone as the weary Akron defense broke down.

"I saw the hole to the right and I was all alone," he said. "We were running two tights {tight ends} down there and we just overpowered them. We'd had them on the field a long time, they were tired and we had everything going.

"But it's the guys up front who deserve the credit more than me. Tony Gilless, Mike Davis, Dan Dunaway, Bob Friedman, Dave Lillefloren, Greg Hlatky and Dave Berghult just moved everybody out of our way. They were great today."

Stymied on its next possession, Akron got a 68-yard punt from Daron Alcorn that backed Navy into a hole. When the Midshipmen punted back, the Zips were at the Navy 49, only their second trip past midfield in the second half.

On third down, linebacker Brad Brown picked off one of Jeff Sweitzer's passes and carried it back 27 yards to the Akron 38.

From there, the Midshipmen ran out the clock in 11 plays, with Grizzard making a key seven-yard gain on fourth and two at the 30.

"We just kept using the same three plays over and over and our offensive line made them work," Grizzard said.

"The reason we won this game was the offensive line. The last few games they've been making mistakes, but they played a lot better today. Anything we asked for, they gave us."

Akron Coach Gerry Faust, 5-0 against Navy when he coached at Notre Dame, was perplexed by the Zips' six turnovers and lack of zip in the second half.

"The humidity got to us and we didn't have good field position in the second half," he said. "Our defense was on the field too long. Every time we got something going we stopped ourselves with a penalty or a dropped pass.

"It was very frustrating. It's the toughest part of coaching. The kids don't want to fumble and throw interceptions. What do you do, tell them to stop?"

That was exactly what Chaump told his Midshipmen, after a first half that added four turnovers to the 12 Navy had committed in its two previous games.

"Coach {Chaump} stressed at halftime that we didn't need more fumbles," said fullback Kwame Moultrie, who gained 104 yards in 19 carries before leaving with a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter.

"We knew we'd get the yards. We just concentrated on putting two hands on the ball."

Navy also adjusted defensively after Akron totaled 227 yards in the first half.

"We came out with the option more in mind," said Brown, who also recovered a fumble in his first collegiate start. "We were getting caught inside in the first half, so we concentrated on getting outside and plugged them up. We just didn't want to get beat outside."

Each team lost a fumble at the opponent's 1-yard line in the weird first half. Each had the kicker make a touchdown-saving tackle. On successive plays, each fumbled the ball away at the Akron 41.

Navy took a 7-0 lead on a seven-yard pass from McIntosh to Berghult, McIntosh's first scoring pass since the fifth game of 1988.

Akron tied it on a 16-yard run by tailback Marcus Reliford, climaxing an 80-yard drive on which Reliford gained 41 in seven carries.

The Zips took a 13-7 lead on a five-yard run by tailback Doug Lewis. It was the second play Joe Little's 44-yard punt return to the Navy 19.