On a day when Navy's defense came up with numerous big plays, its offense's inability to make one left them with a 14-10 loss to Boston College before 34,052 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The Midshipmen (1-2) rushed for 253 yards, 116 by quarterback Brian Broadwater. However, they failed to convert on 12 of 13 third-down situations for the game and two fourth-down situations in the final six minutes.
"We executed to get the ball down there, but we didn't execute once we got inside the 20," Broadwater said.
The loss spoiled a stellar effort by Navy's oft-maligned defense, which forced two turnovers, recorded four sacks and gave up its fewest points in 14 games.
But for all of those accomplishments, it provided little resistence when Navy needed it most. After Broadwater gave Navy a 10-7 lead with a one-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, the Eagles (2-0) needed just 1 minute 59 seconds to complete a six-play, 73-yard touchdown drive that culminated in Carlton Rowe's six-yard run with 7:39 remaining.
"We win ugly, but we win," said Boston College Coach Tom O'Brien, whose offense sputtered much of the day. "We had it when we needed it, and that's all that counts."
The Midshipmen, who saw place kicker Tim Shubzda shank a 22-yard field goal attempt and hit the left upright on a 51-yard try earlier in the game, then came up short twice on fourth down.
The first was a fourth and two from their 42-yard line with 5:26 left. Broadwater was sacked by the Eagles' Frank Chamberlin. Then, after a 41-yard field goal attempt by Boston College's John Matich hit the right upright, Navy came up empty when Broadwater's pass on fourth and 13 from Navy's 37 fell short with 50 seconds left.
"Offensively we moved the ball, but we didn't make the plays when we needed to," Broadwater said.
"We had a chance to win this football game several ways," Navy Coach Charlie Weatherbie said. "We could've made two field goals. We could've made touchdowns instead of even kicking field goals. We could've stepped on them when we got ahead 10-7."
Navy moved the ball well early but didn't get much to show for it.
Led by Broadwater, who had a 39-yard gain on the game's opening drive and passed to Dre Brittingham for a 38-yard gain on the second, the Midshipmen sliced through the Eagles defense for 126 yards on their first two possessions, but came away with just three points. After missing from 22 yards, Shubzda made a 25-yard field goal.
Boston College, meanwhile, took the lead on its first possession, when quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, on a play-action pass, found DuJuan Daniels, a converted defensive back participating in his first play from scrimmage as a wide receiver, alone down the middle for a 64-yard touchdown.
Boston College attempted to extend its lead on the final play of the half, but Navy's Shaka Martin blocked Matich's 39-yard field goal attempt.
In the fourth quarter, the Midshipmen moved ahead, 10-7, with a 12-play, 68-yard drive, taking advantage of a 15-yard personal foul penalty against defensive back George White that put the ball on the Eagles 7. After failing to score on three straight keepers, Broadwater, on a fourth down from the 1, finally got into the end zone with a carry around the right side with 9:44 left.
It wasn't enough.
"I couldn't be more proud of the guys I played with out there today," Navy nose guard Gino Marchetti said. "It's something I'm going to remember forever. There were at least 18, 19 guys playing their butts off nonstop out there. Everybody stepped up and made a play. We were striving for perfection--we just came up a bit short."