For Navy, tonight's game against Kent was by no means perfect. For a team badly in need of a confidence boost following last week's demoralizing loss to Georgia Tech, however, a 48-28 win over the Golden Flashes was close enough.
Though the Midshipmen were again soft in pass defense and fell flat on special teams, they racked up 586 yards in total offense, including 399 rushing, in evening their record at 1-1 and handing the Golden Flashes (0-2) their 15th straight loss.
Junior quarterback Brian Broadwater had probably the most complete game of his young career, completing 14 of 18 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown and rushing 24 times for 137 yards and two touchdowns.
On this night, however, three early turnovers that led to 21 Navy points played the biggest role.
"Our number one goal coming into the game was to fly and make things happen," said defensive end Brad Wimsatt, who forced one fumble and recovered another. "It completely demoralizes a team when they give up a turnover."
The first came on the tail end of Kent's opening drive, when Shawn Shoemaker fumbled on an end-around after getting hit by free safety Chris Lepore. Wimsatt recovered at Kent's 42.
Navy then had little trouble moving the ball with its ground game, as Broadwater and fullback Raheem Lambert (17 carries, 99 yards) carried six straight times for 38 yards, with Broadwater scoring on a five-yard keeper around the right side to put the Midshipmen ahead, 7-0, with 9 minutes 50 seconds left in the quarter.
After stopping the Golden Flashes on their next drive, the Midshipmen took over at Kent's 32 and scored four plays later on Broadwater's pitch to John Vareen, who scored from four yards out to make it 14-0 with 6:02 left in the quarter.
On Kent's next possession, it again failed to hold onto the ball when Wimsatt forced quarterback Jose Davis to fumble in the backfield. Gino Marchetti recovered for Navy at the Golden Flashes' 31.
Navy quickly took advantage, as Broadwater hit Travis Williams with a 16-yard pass and, four plays later, fullback Marlon Terrell bowled in from the 3, giving the Midshipmen 21 points in just over six minutes and a commanding 21-0 lead 11:40 into the game.
"Any time your defense can create turnovers and your offense can capitalize, I think that can take the air out of the team on the other side of the ball," Navy Coach Charlie Weatherbie said.
Later in the half, leading 21-7, it was yet another Kent miscue that led to Navy's fourth touchdown of the half. After a Navy drive stalled midway through the second quarter, Shawn Shoemaker fumbled away Tray Calisch's punt following a hit by Mike Wiedl.
Calisch recovered at Navy's 40, and eight plays later Broadwater scored on a quarterback keeper from the 2, making it 28-7 with just over six minutes before halftime.
"For whatever reason, maybe it's immaturity, we don't seem to handle adversity well," Kent Coach Dean Pees said. "It seems to almost totally deflate us when we have a turnover or penalty at a critical time."
The 28 points were the most Navy had scored in a half since putting up 35 two years ago, also against Kent.
The Golden Flashes, led by quarterback Jose Davis (20 for 36, 279 yards and two touchdowns) later took advantage of a Navy mistake. Following a roughing-the-punter call against Lepore, Davis connected with Gavadza for a 66-yard touchdown.
Kent later added a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Shawn Shoemaker, though the final outcome had long since been decided.
NAVY vs. Boston College
Site: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis