CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA — CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- There had to be an anxious moment on the Navy sidelines yesterday on the game's second play from scrimmage when Jim Kubiak was sacked by 249-pound Virginia defensive end Matt Mikeska.
It had been almost a full year since Kubiak was last hit during a game. That was also against Virginia, when he was knocked out with a separated shoulder in the third quarter of a 53-0 loss.
Yesterday, Kubiak was able to get up. More importantly, he withstood the heat from an aggressive Virginia team and finished the game.
"It was kind of a hump game for me -- coming off a year's absence," Kubiak said.
Kubiak completed 23 of 41, but his passes were short, resulting in 150 passing yards. His long completion of the game was 15 yards, and he was intercepted twice.
"The protection was a little bit shaky in the beginning, and as the game progressed, I got more time," Kubiak said. "Against Virginia, we figured we'd get the short stuff, and they're a good defense. I think we're going to get the downfield stuff after people realize they're going to have the play the short stuff."
Split end Damon Dixon caught 10 passes, tying an academy record for most receptions in a game. He shares it with three others. The latest was Dave King (10 catches for 179 yards) against Notre Dame in 1976. Dixon totaled 63 yards.
After rushing for an average of 169.7 yards last season, the Midshipmen had 66 yards in 21 attempts yesterday. Take away Jason Van Matre's 31-yard run in the first half, and that's 35 yards in 20 attempts -- or 1.75 yards a rush.
"I think we'll run more in the future, and I think we'll be all right," Van Matre said. "That was a real good team we played today, and probably the best defense we'll face this season."
Navy linebacker Javier Zuluaga, who finished 15th in the nation with 13.3 tackles a game last season, had 12 yesterday to lead the Mishipmen.
A career run
Virginia quarterback Symmion Willis had the longest run of his career with his 48-yard scoring rush in the third quarter. His previous longest run was 45 yards, which also resulted in a touchdown in last year's win over Navy.
Welsh sees errors
Apparently it takes a lot to please Virginia coach George Welsh, who wasn't entirely thrilled with his team's performance.
"I don't know what was wrong on offense," Welsh said.
"We weren't precise, there were too many penalties [eight for 49 yards] and we missed some blocks and some pass protection.
"If we don't make three big plays, then it's a close game in the fourth quarter. There was not that much difference between those two teams. The difference was that we had more athletes."