Annapolis, Md. – Navy’s running backs were not the only group that got a workout Saturday.
The Midshipmen in the stands also got in quite a few reps, doing push-ups after each of Navy’s six touchdowns.
On the field, the Midshipmen racked up 420 rushing yards on 56 carries to defeat Temple, 42-6 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Four different players scored for the Middies, who own the best rushing offense in the nation.
The loss concluded coach Al Golden’s first season with the Owls. Despite a 1-11 record, Golden took positives from the experience.
“Every game was a learning experience,” Golden said. “If we didn’t learn from this experience, then shame on us and shame on me.”
The game itself wasn’t exactly positive.
The Middies’ option offense proved to be too much for Temple, whose rushing defense entered the game ranked dead-last in the nation, dishing out an average of 261 rushing yards per game.
Navy’s top-ranked rushing offense exceeded that mark by halftime.
Middies quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada and tailback Shun White each scored two touchdowns to lead the Middies ground attack. Kaheaku-Enhada rushed for a team-high 140 yards while White, who finished with 114 rushing yards, became the fifth Middie to rush for 100-plus yards in a game this season.
“We couldn’t find an answer for the toss until the second half,” senior linebacker Ryan Gore said. “They had a good game for us. We just wish we could have had better success than what we had playing.”
The Middies found the end zone on five of their six first-half drives. Kaheaku-Enhada dropped back to pass only six times in the half, as the Middies compiled 263 rushing yards en route to a 35-0 halftime lead.
Golden said his team finally came out ready to play in the second half, but at that point it was too late.
“This isn’t going to be and it wasn’t going to be a one-year fix,” Golden said. “Am I disappointed by the way we played today? Yes. But I’m a little bit encouraged by the way they came out at halftime.”
Freshman quarterback Vaughn Charlton replaced starter Adam DiMichele on the last possession of the third quarter. Charlton then led the Owls on an eight-play, 65-yard drive capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass to junior fullback Josh Bundy.
The Middies quickly responded with a score of their own. With the ball at midfield, White raced 50 yards for the game’s final score.
Two drives later the Owls marched 66 yards to the one-yard line, but ultimately turned the ball over on an interception on fourth-and-goal.
John Kopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.