Dobbs Shines in Relief for Midshipmen
Posted Oct 25, 2008

Let the comparisons to Chris McCoy and Brian Madden begin.

A week after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Pittsburgh the Naval Academy Midshipmen bounced back yesterday, thoroughly defeating the SMU Mustangs 34-7 behind a four touchdown rushing effort from third string quarterback Ricky Dobbs. The win moves Navy to 5-3 on the year, while the loss drops the Mustangs to 1-8 in June Jones' inaugural season.

The Douglasville, Georgia native rushed for 242 yards on 42 carries in the win, displaying the strength, quickness, and vision which had made many Navy fans openly call for his use after Navy's offense sputtered against Pittsburgh in the October 18th loss. Yet in a game which saw a paid crowd of 31,698 leave en masse after the first half due to torrential rains and swirling winds, Dobbs wasn't the only bright spot for the Midshipmen, who also saw their defense step up to hold the Mustangs off the scoreboard in the first half. Navy yielded just 157 yards of passing (nearly half their yearly average) to the Mustangs, who scored their only touchdown on a short field after a third quarter Navy fumble. Defensive end Matt Nechak and tackle Nate Frazier each recorded a sack for Navy, while Jeff Deliz recorded his second career interception. All told, coach Buddy Green's defense played their most dominating game of the season, limiting SMU to -13 net yards on the ground and only 144 yards of total offense.

The Midshipmen began the game behind senior quarterback Jarod Bryant, who once again was called upon to start in place of injured starter Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, who missed his third consecutive game with a hamstring injury. Bryant was effective in his first series at quarterback, engineering a scoring drive which saw slotback Shun White take a triple option pitch for an early 23-yard touchdown run to put the Mids ahead 7-0. After SMU's second straight three-and-out Navy and Bryant received the ball in Mustang territory again, but on just the fifth play of the series Bryant injured his shoulder on a 20-yard midline run. In his placed stepped the 6'1 Dobbs, who proceeded to take to the ground on five straight plays before plunging in for a two yard score. The touchdown put Navy up 13-0 and put Southern Methodist in a hole from which June Jones' team was unable to recover.

While the Mids effectively blanked the potent Mustang passing attack in the first quarter, SMU received a much needed boost in the latter stages of the third quarter when a botched center-quarterback exchange deep in Navy territory was recovered by Will Bonilla on the Navy 12 yard line. Three plays later SMU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell hooked up with receiver Aldrick Robinson for a four-yard touchdown completion, cutting the Navy lead to 27-7.

Yet the Mids responded on the next possession, as Dobbs again led Navy's offense through the sloppy conditions to widen the gap once again, capping an 80-yard drive with his fourth touchdown run of the afternoon to put Navy up 34-7. In doing so Dobbs became the first Navy quarterback since 2001 to rush for over 200 yards in a single game, when Brian Madden rushed for 201 yards against Tulane.

The Mustangs were unable to answer, as both the weather and the Navy defense stifled Mitchell's attempts to lead the SMU offense down the field for another score. Dobbs would go on to put the game away at the 2:42 mark, yielding to Severna Park native Greg Zingler, who took his first ever snap as a Navy Midshipmen.

The game saw a marked contrast in offensive styles, as the Midshipmen failed to attempt a pass for the first time since 1948. Southern Methodist attempted 28 in the game, with quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell finishing the game with 16 completions and an interception.

With the win Navy moves within one game of achieving bowl eligibility for an unprecedented sixth consecutive year. Navy will take on Temple in Annapolis next weekend.

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