Blog...White Leads Navy on Record Setting Day
Posted Aug 30, 2008

For four years Navy slotback Reggie Campbell wowed fans with his ability to outrun defenders, dodge tacklers, and rake up huge sums of yardage for Paul Johnson's record breaking offenses. So when Campbell, not to mention Paul Johnson, left the Midshipmen program after the conclusion of last season, it was no surprise that Navy fans grudgingly prepared themselves for a drop-off in production.

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Lead by Campbell's former understudy Shun White, Navy's offense rolled in coach Ken Niumatalolo's first regular season game as a head coach, absolutely shellacking the Towson University Tigers 41-13 before an announced crowd of 31,613 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. White, who came into the game leading an injury depleted Navy slotback group, rushed for a school record 348 yards on only 19 carries, in the process shattering Eddie Meyers' 27 year-old record for rushing yards in a single game. While White's performance was a welcomed sight for Navy's offensive staff, even the insane offensive output from the Memphis-bred senior was not completely unexpected.

"I told [Shun] we were going to give him the ball and ride him as long as we could" said Niumtalolo during the post-game press conference. "The great thing about Shun is that he has overcome so much through working hard. His overall development is something I am proud of. His performance today was not a surprise. We were waiting for it."

Towson, however, was not. The Tiger's, facing an FBS opponent for the first time in program history, focused much of their defensive gameplan around stopping Eric Kettani on the fullback dive, limiting the talented fullback to only 34 yards. While stout up the middle the Tigers could not contend with the Midshipmen on the outside, with Navy's slotbacks and wide receivers repeatedly sealing off the corners for the speedy White, who exhibited his 4.36 40-yard dash speed in turning the corner on numerous occasions. All told, White rushed for touchdowns of 33, 87, and 73 yards, spearheading 558 total rushing yards from Navy's offense during the course of the afternoon.

Perhaps the most impressive element of White's (and Navy's) success during the game was that the offense managed to not skip a beat despite the absence of several key offensive players. Not only was starting quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheeaku Enhada sidelined for the game with a hamstring injury, but slotbacks Greg Shinego, Andre Byrd, and Corey James were also out of the game with various injuries. Coupled with poor offensive line play throughout camp, there were serious concerns going into the opener about the ability of Navy's offense to execute effectively without these key players, questions which backup quarterback Jarod Bryant helped to refute when he scampered to a first quarter touchdown to give the Mids an early lead. Throughout the afternoon Bryant was solid, reading his keys effectively and running the option to near-perfection until a third quarter fumble within the Towson five-yard line halted a Navy scoring drive. Bryant, who later said he didn't play nearly as well as he should have, nevertheless bounced back for the Mids, directing two more second half scoring drives to increase Navy's lead to 38-13. Also key to the success of Navy's triple option offense was the play of White's fellow skill position players, in particular slotbacks Bobby Doyle and Corey Finnerty, who lead the way with great kickout blocks throughout the afternoon. Likewise, receivers Tyree Barnes, Curtis Sharp, and TJ Thiel helped spring White, who displayed more than enough breakaway speed to take advantage of the lanes created by the wide receivers.

While Navy's offense seemed in midseason form by puttng up 602 total yards, the defense showed marked improvement from last year in holding the Tigers to only 13 points. While Navy did give up 330 passing yards to Sean Schafear and the Towson passing attack, the Mids held Towson to a paltry 1.6 yards per carry on the ground, and even showed the ability to put pressure on Schafear, who was sacked three times.

Perhaps the key play for Navy's defense came on Towson's first possession, when the Tigers drove all the way to the Navy 25-yard line before senior cornerback Rashaw King keyed in on a Sean Schafear pass to pick the ball off. The interception helped to stall what appeared to be an early momentum swing in Towson's favor, instead giving the Navy defense a boost and allowing the Midshipmen to go to work on offense.

Navy's defense allowed 13 subsequent points in the first half, as Schafear was able to connect with wide receivers Casey Cegles and Marcus Lee to cut the Navy lead to eleven by the break. Navy's defense didn't let up however, and came back in the second half with a renewed energy and intensity level. Saying that the defense came out in the second half with a "different attitude," Navy linebacker Clint Sovie made good on his lockeroom promise to hold the Towson offense out the scoreboard, leading an exciting group of linebackers in a second half shut-out. When asked how he felt about rotating in and out with fellow junior linebackers Ross Pospisil and Tony Haberer, Sovie (who led the Mids with 8 tackles) smiled and said "it worked real good."

Game Notes: Defensive back Ketric Buffin was a late scratch from the game with a knee injury…Bobby Doyle caught his first career touchdown pass on a 38-yard strike from Jarod Bryant, who threw his first collegiate touchdown pass…Freshmen Jon Teague handled the kickoff duties, striking the ball on six kicks (67 yard average) including a touchback to open the game…Scouts from the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants were on hand for the game, presumably to watch 6'8 Towson wide receiver Tommy Breaux, a player whom Towson SID (need name) told me has "intriguing" upside at the next level. The former basketball star had four catches for 42 yards…Navy fans that stayed around into the fourth quarter were treated to a sneak peak of sophomore quarterback Ricky Dobbs running the option. Granted Dobbs came in against a demoralized Towson defense, but the Georgia looked impressive in limited duty, powering and juking his way to 56 yards on 5 carries…Navy freshmen defensive end Jabaree Tuani was highly effective in spot duty, bullrushing his way to a sack and a half…And before I forget, Annapolis Capital writer Bill Wagner confirmed on the elevator that Nate Frazier is indeed a manbeast…More to come later this week, and don't forget to check out this Monday for complete player notes, storylines, and tidbits from around the MAC East and Independents.

Adam Nettina covers MAC East and Independent football for College

Past Stories:

Despite Injuries, Navy "O" Gearing Up
Gill's Bulls Looking For Bowl in 2008
Best of the Non BCS Quarterbacks
Central Michigan Looks for Repeat
Max Hall, Heisman Candidate?
Business Time for Niumatalolo and Navy
Can a Non-BCS Player Win the Heisman?
Keeping the "Inc" Out of Army Navy
MAC Teams Poised to Strike Back in ‘08
For Navy, Tougher Slate in 2008
Related Stories
Navy, White run past Towson, 41-13
 -by  Aug 30, 2008
Report Card: Navy vs. Towson
 -by  Aug 31, 2008
Blog…Despite Injuries, Navy "O" Gearing Up
 -by  Aug 23, 2008

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