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Naval Offensive

QB Madden gains 177 yards to sink Army

This article was originally published on December 5, 1999.

Forty-one times yesterday, Brian Madden took the snap from center and darted to the right or dashed to the left, repeatedly declining the opportunity to pitch to a trailing back and get momentary relief from swarms of hostile Army defenders.

Madden, playing in his first Army-Navy game, gladly accepted the punishment and led the Midshipmen to a 19-9 victory over the Cadets before a Veterans Stadium sellout crowd of 70,049 who watched the 100th meeting between the service academies.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound sophomore quarterback from Lawton, Okla., used his 41 rushes to gain 177 yards and score Navy's only touchdown on a 2-yard run in the first quarter. In the process, he extended his own academy record for most consecutive 100-yard rushing games to five.

Showing the toughness he exhibited as an unbeaten Oklahoma state champion wrestler in high school, Madden flew into the teeth of the Army defense time and again behind a veteran offensive line that ended up leading the nation's top rushing team this season.

"He can probably play both ways," Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie said after the Midshipmen narrowed Army's advantage in the series to 48-45-7. "He could play linebacker. He could play fullback. He's a heck of an athlete. He's a tough, strong young man. He's very determined."

Madden, named the game's most valuable player, was happy to give all the credit to his teammates in the trenches.

"The offensive line has done a great job all year," he said. "We have some great players and some great leaders up front. It was easy for me. All I had to do was execute and not make any stupid mistakes."

Navy (5-7) did great in the mistakes department; Army (3-8) did not. The Midshipmen had no turnovers, while the Cadets lost the football four times - on three fumbles and an interception.

"We made too many mistakes in a close game like this to be successful and give us a chance to win," Army coach Bob Sutton said. "Even late in the game we had an opportunity to come back, but the fumbles derailed us."

Navy scored twice off turnovers - on field goals by Tim Shubzda, who kicked four to tie an Army-Navy record. Two of the Cadets' fumbles came in Midshipmen territory, including one at the Navy 15 that was recovered by defensive end Gino Marchetti.

Marchetti, who said he may or may not be a distant relation to the former Baltimore Colts great of the same name, pounced on two fumbles. Marcus Jackson fell on a muffed punt, and linebacker John Chavous applied the finishing touch with a fourth-quarter interception.

"I couldn't pick a better way to go out," said Chavous, a senior playing in his last game. "I told a couple of guys on the sidelines that I was going to get an interception. I couldn't believe I predicted what was going to happen."

"Our defense deserves a big pat on the back," Madden said. "They kept us in the game and did a great job."

For excitement, the contest did not match the pageantry surrounding the 100th Army-Navy game, which included bands, parachute jumpers, and the presence of four Heisman Trophy winners: Army's Glenn Davis and Pete Dawkins, Navy's Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach.

That was because of defense. Both units hunkered down and gave up yardage grudgingly. After Madden capped a 67-yard drive with Navy's lone touchdown, the Midshipmen had their share of problems with Army's defense. In fact, their field goals capped drives of only 21, 39, 21 and 36 yards.

After Shubzda's 35-yard field goal, which was set up when Jackson claimed the muffed punt catch attempted by Army's Imani Dupree, made it 10-0, Army scored its first points on Matt Parker's 44-yard field goal with 1 minute, 10 seconds left in the first half.

A one-touchdown halftime deficit would have been manageable for Army, but Navy's John Vereen returned the kickoff to his own 44, giving the Midshipmen a chance to answer the field goal before the break. Which they did, on Shubzda's 34-yarder with 16 seconds remaining.

Shubzda's 38-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter gave the Mids a 19-3 lead. The Cadets then marched 60 yards for their only touchdown, on a 2-yard throw from Joe Gerena to tight end Shaun Castillo on fourth and goal with 4:47 to play, but they never threatened again.

And when it was over, and the alma maters of the two teams were performed, the Midshipmen had only their third series win in the 1990s. But it was a memorable milestone made possible, in part, by the sandy-haired kid from Oklahoma.

"We were just playing a football game today," Madden said. "The fact that it was the 100th was built up. It's a great rivalry, but we couldn't think about it. But to win the 100th was great. I can tell my grandkids I played on a team that won the 100th Army-Navy game."