2004 is a year that Navy fans won’t forget anytime soon. The team went 10-2, proved that Navy football was here to stay by repeating as CIC Trophy winners, and finished ranked #24 in both polls. The campaign was capped off with a convincing 34-19 win over a solid New Mexico team at the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco. It was a great game in a great city to wrap up a great season. The win was clinched when the Mids ate up almost the entire 4th quarter with a scoring drive that would last for an NCAA-record 14 minutes and 26 seconds, ending with a Geoff Blumenfeld field goal. Navy fans still talk about “The Drive” as the perfect example of just how soul-crushing this offense can be. What we don’t talk about nearly as much is the play that made that drive possible.

New Mexico had put together a drive of their own and faced 4th and goal from the Navy 1. Kicking a field goal when you’re down by 12 still leaves you needing two scores, so Lobos head coach Rocky Long didn’t hesitate to go for it. Running back D. D. Cox took a handoff and ran to the right, only to be met by a gaggle of Navy’s defensive stars. Cornerback (and game defensive MVP) Vaughn Kelley took him high. Linebacker Bobby McLarin grabbed his legs. Josh Smith came running in all the way from the other side of the formation to get to the ball, and Jeremy McGown stepped up from his free safety position. The referee was knocked to the ground, but when he stood up, he spotted the ball one foot short of the goal line. Navy had held, thanks to the collective effort of some of the season’s most celebrated players. But those guys weren’t alone. Cox was strung out to the sideline, unable to make a cut upfield towards the end zone. And that was thanks to the awesomeness of Jason Monts.

Monts wasn’t the most heralded player on the team, and you won’t find his play reflected on the stat sheet. If there was a stat for being badass, though, this definitely would qualify. When Cox took the handoff, all 6’7″ and 340 pounds of New Mexico tackle Terrance Pennington pulled around the tight end to clear a path to the end zone. Monts met him head on. And despite giving up 6 inches and 120 pounds to the future draft pick, it was Monts that got leverage and moved Pennington backwards. With his lead blocker being pushed back into him, Cox was forced to bounce outside and run toward the sideline, never getting the chance to turn the corner.

We have here a relatively unknown player, refusing to fail, making a play through sheer determination that he probably shouldn’t have been able to make. It wasn’t the most glorious of jobs, but it was his job nevertheless, and he did his part to lead his team to victory. In one play, Jason Monts embodied everything we love about Navy football. And that’s why he gets the nod for the Hall of Awesome.



  1. jgish92

    One of my all-time favorite Navy wins. The type of individual effort that defines Navy football. I also love Polanco’s TD run on the mid-line option play in that game where two tiney A backs make great textbook blocks on bigger players to free Polanco to the endzone.

  2. Dave'69

    Your post allowed me to notice things that I did not “see” during the game. I hope that it will help me to see them in the future.

    While reviewing the recent post on your blog which referenced a Paul Johnson interview, I read the “fan” comments. There was some of the standard discussion about the “boring” triple option with the counter comments pointing out the number of big yardage plays the TO generated for Ga Tech last year. While a 14:26 minute offensive drive ending in a field goal may be boring to some fans, it is one of my fondest Navy football memories. Watching a line that is outweighed by 50 lbs per man control their opponent and watching the camera shots of the New Mexico sideline waiting and waiting and waiting for their chance to get the ball back was exciting! The team received a standing O in my house as the ball passed through the goal posts.

    By the way, does anyone know what the time of the record we broke – i.e. the second longest drive?

  3. rob_a

    I had forgotten about this play. Thanks, as always, for showing the great plays and WHY the occur. As a former coach myself, hoping to get back into it soon, this play is textbook in showing the leverage that is needed to play as well as the leg drive. It was perfect.

  4. rob_a

    This game was beautiful. The weather wasn’t the best, the field was mud, but I don’t remember a time during this game that I was bored.

  5. Rob3rt

    It figures that you would show that video and only talk about how awesome Jason Monts’ play was, while completely ignoring the mid in the stands at the 0:56 mark talking on his cell phone instead of cheering.

    A little objectivity would be nice.

  6. Navy05

    I remember that play well. After the game I made a highlite video of the Emerald Bowl and I watched Monts play several times just for how awesome it is. If there is a play that better represents Navy Football, I don’t know what it is.

  7. charles anderson

    “Mike”, is it? It is Aug. 3 and I just finished reading your series on the status of service football, although frankly I am a fan of Georgia Tech football — and only football — so my judgment may be suspect. But I have to say they were really enjoyable and apparently informed reads, all the more so because (despite being an AF vet) I care nothing for the academies and their performance. So if you kept me interested you should ignore the cheapshots by snarky readers. I’ll keep reading you because I learn something, and because you write well. Obviously, you did not go to a service academy. Joking.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s