Krug Seizes Opportunity in 35-17 Irish win; Powlus Out For The Season With Broken Arm
By MIKE NORBUT
SOUTH BEND, Ind–There’s never been any question about it. Ron Powlus has always been Notre Dame’s starting quarterback. Tom Krug, unless blessed with continuous flashes of brilliance that could possibly convince Lou Holtz to sit his star recruit, would always be reserved to a backup’s role.
When Powlus left the field Saturday after being thrown to the ground on a sack by Navy’s Fernando Harris, the team suddenly became Krug’s.
And the junior capitalized on the opportunity, leading the Irish to a 35-17 comeback win over an undisciplined Navy squad.
“For three years, I went to bed the backup quarterback at Notre Dame,” said Krug, who was 5-of-8 for 90 yards and two touchdowns. “But these are not the circumstances I wanted to play under. Ron is one of my best friends and one the best players I’ve ever seen.”
Powlus’ suffered a fractured humerus on the play, which will keep him out 4-6 months. The break, about four inches above the elbow in his left arm, may need surgery if a cast cannot keep it steady. Powlus will probably miss spring practice, let alone the bowl game.
“This is not an uncommon injury among athletes,” said Dr. Will Yergler, head of the sports medicine program at Notre Dame. “But I’ve never seen a fractured humerus in a football player in my 22 years.”
While it wasn’t the type of situation that anyone wanted to acknowledge, it was a real one nonetheless.
“I feel sick about it,” Holtz said. “But I still told the team that we have to find a way.”
Leaders came out of the woodwork following the injury, which served as a wake-up call for a team that trailed the Midshipmen 17-14 at halftime.
“All our bowl hopes, everything was riding on this game,” fullback Marc Edwards said. “We all offered Tom some words of encouragement, and we knew everyone was going to have to step up their play a little bit.”
Krug opened it up right away, throwing bombs to Charlie Stafford and Derrick Mayes on his second and third attempts. The pass to Mayes went for a 42-yard touchdown and put the Irish ahead for good at 21-17.
“All week we thought we could deep on them on the corners,” Krug said. “It was great. It got me loose and gave me some confidence.”
The rest of the team followed suit.
“The defense did step up,” cornerback Allen Rossum said. “We came together as a team and put Navy away.”
A Lyron Cobbins interception on Navy’s ensuing possession once the Irish had taken the lead gave Notre Dame the ball at the Midshipmen’s 36.
Three plays later, Krug found Mayes again, this time on a three-yard timing pattern in the right corner of the end zone.
“I think when you have more plays and more snaps, you can open your offense a little more,” Krug said. “You can use your tools a little bit better.”
The ball then started rolling in Notre Dame’s favor, as they stopped Navy on downs before executing a seven-play, 60-yard drive that culminated in an Autry Denson 24-yard run.
It was quite a change from the first half, when the Irish were burned frequently by the Midshipmen option before being saved by penalties that negated several Navy scoring chances.
“We’re the least penalized team in the country,” Navy coach Charlie Weatherbie said. “I think we had more penalties in the first half than we had all year.”
Two sure touchdowns, a near score and an Irish turnover in the fourth quarter were all negated by penalties on the Midshipmen. And even with the mishaps, Navy dominated the first half.
The Midshipmen racked up 301 yards of offense in the first half, compared to only 132 for the Irish.
There was no rusher that excelled, but the option as a whole seemed to confuse the Irish defense initially, as it was against Army.
“You can’t really get into the option until the second half,” Rossum said. “You just have to get into the frame of mind to stop it.”
Notre Dame wasn’t there on Navy’s first drive. The Midshipmen breezed down the field in six plays and 1:50, taking a quick 7-0 lead on a Ross Scott 15-yard touchdown run.
At Notre Dame StadiumNovember 4, 1995Attendance: 59,075Navy 7 10 0 0 - 17 Notre Dame (8) 7 7 14 7 - 35 NAVY--R. Scott 15 run (Covarubias kick) ND--Wallace 8 pass from Powlus (Cengia kick) NAVY--Fay 3 run (Covarubias kick) ND--Powlus 1 run (Cengia kick) NAVY--FG Graham 21 ND--Mayes 42 pass from Krug (Cengia kick) ND--Mayes 3 pass from Krug (Cengia kick) ND--A. Denson 24 run (Cengia kick) NAVY ND First downs 24 15 Rushes-yards 54-202 43-165 Passing yards 231 154 Sacked-yards lost 2-9 3-19 Return yards 19 8 Comp.-Att.-Int. 18-31-2 9-16-0 Punts 3-42.0 8-34.4 Fumbles-lost 3-3 1-1 Penalties-yards 7-61 6-77 Time of possession 32:32 27:28 RUSHING:Navy-Cannada 15-56, Fay 26-53, R. Scott 3-42, W. Smith 1-24, Schemm 2-12, Dingle 2-7, Nelson 3-4, McGrew 1-4, Bryant 1-0.Notre Dame-A. Denson 16-115, Edwards 11-46, R. Farmer 2-11, Kinder 5-10, Spencer 2-4, Krug 1-0, Powlus 6-minus 21. PASSING:Navy-Fay 18-31-2-231.Notre Dame-Powlus 4-8-0-64, Krug 5-8-0-90. RECEIVING:Navy-Heaven 6-97, Schemm 5-35, McGrew 2-30, Butts 2-29, R Scott 2-19, M. Scornavacch 1-21.Notre Dame-Mayes 4-81, Wallace 2-6, Stafford 1-38, Edwards 1-30, Chryplewicz 1-minus 1.