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Now Navy's expectations become more manageable

So much for all the talk of Navy perhaps chasing a perfect regular season. That lofty goal came crashing down on Monday after a 17-14 loss to Maryland at M&T Bank Stadium in which the Midshipmen appeared allergic to scoring.

While Coach Ken Niumatalolo and his charges are taking no moral victories from a second straight season-opening loss by a narrow margin, the Midshipmen in a way have less pressure on them for the rest of the season. Instead of aiming for a BCS bid, they can turn their full attention now to what all along was a more attainable objective of winning the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy and going to a bowl game for an eighth straight time.

"Football is just like life. You're always going to have a little setback here and there," senior co-captain and safety Wyatt Middleton said. "This is a hard loss. You've got to give it to them. They played great today. Maryland really came out, and they played great. For us we have to keep looking forward and move on."

That process includes taking the many positives from the game, most notably outgaining Maryland 485-272 overall and 412-261 on the ground. The Midshipmen held a nearly two to one advantage in time of possession, and they had little difficulty moving the ball in the middle of the field. They even converted on third down and 17 early in the third quarter when fullback Vince Murray ran up the middle for 27 yards.

The fact that Navy was even competitive, much less poised to win at the end, shows just how far the program has come since the lean years a decade ago. Back then if the Midshipmen had failed 5 of 7 times in the red zone and lost three fumbles, there would have been zero chance for them to win. That was just the opposite tonight, when on its final possession of the game, Navy moved to the 1 before quarterback Ricky Dobbs was stopped on fourth and goal.

“I hate to put it this way but I think this probably could have been the best thing to happen to us right here because we definitely came in with some high expectations for ourselves," Dobbs said. "It just lets us know we still have to stay focused no matter what because everything is not always going to go as planned. What we planned to do, it’s not always going to be that way, and it’s just making us stronger for down the road.”

By Gene Wang  |  September 6, 2010; 10:09 PM ET
Categories:  Ken Niumatalolo , Wyatt Middleton  
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Next: Mike Schupp out indefinitely with ACL injury

Comments

LOLS. without the option this team aint nothing. without the qb this team aint nothing.

and everyone knows that. there are no athletes or smart players on this team, except for dobbs. and he makes everything go round. sorry for the hate. but even the navy fans know it.

Posted by: sanjuan1227 | September 6, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

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