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NCAA Game Summary - Navy vs. Army
(Saturday, December 11th)
Final Score: Navy 31, Army 17
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Ricky Dobbs turned the ball over four times but was able to throw a pair of touchdown passes, as the Navy Midshipmen handled the Army Black Knights, 31-17, at Lincoln Financial Field in the 111th meeting between these two programs.
Dobbs completed 6-of-11 passes for 186 yards and an interception for the Midshipmen (9-3), who have now won nine in a row against Army. Dobbs also carried the ball 20 times for 54 yards.
John Howell and Brandon Turner each caught a touchdown pass for Navy, which will next take on San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl on December 23. The Midshipmen can match the school record for wins in a season if they prevail over San Diego State.
Trent Steelman connected on 11-of-20 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns for the Black Knights (6-6), whose last winning season came in 1996 (10-2). Steelman rushed for 74 yards on 19 carries.
Malcolm Brown hauled in three passes for 59 yards and two scores for Army, which will do battle with SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl on December 30th.
"What we're going to talk about as a football team is that we've played just well enough to give ourselves a chance to bring winning football back," Army head coach Rich Ellerson said. "We get one more opportunity. We sit here at 6-6. I know we want to talk about what just happened, and I've got to somehow, some way, get everybody focused on that."
This was the first time since 1996 that both Army and Navy entered this annual encounter having won the minimum games required to go to a bowl game.
Marcus Thomas set up Navy at the 47 after returning the opening kickoff 38 yards. The Midshipmen, though, turned the ball over on the second play when Dobbs fumbled.
Army also had ball-handling problems of its own. Jared Hassin lost control of the football on the Black Knights' second play.
Navy converted the turnover into a 36-yard Joe Buckley field goal. After Army went three-and-out, Howell caught a 77-yard TD pass to give the Midshipmen a 10-0 lead with less than nine minutes to go in the first quarter.
The margin grew to 17 when Navy bridged the first and second frames with an eight-play, 85-yard drive. The Midshipmen converted a pair of third downs during the march, which Turner capped with a 32-yard touchdown catch.
Dobbs fumbled the ball on Navy's next possession, leading to Army's first touchdown in the series since 2006. On the sixth play of the drive, Brown hauled in a five-yard TD pass to make it 17-7 with 8:19 remaining until half.
The fumbling problems continued for Dobbs on Navy's next possession. The Black Knights were about to turn the turnover into points when Steelman lost control of the football. Faced with a 1st-and-goal from the three-yard line, Steelman tried to rumble up the middle. However, Jerry Hauburger knocked the ball loose and Wyatt Middleton took the football 98 yards the other way for a Midshipmen score.
"I still can't believe I scored," Middleton said. "I just happened to be the guy there to catch it. I just did the easy part."
Instead of it being a 17-14 game at the half, it turned out to be a 24-7 Navy lead.
Army got the ball to start the second half and put together a 12-play drive. The march lasted almost seven minutes but ended with Alex Carlton making a 42- yard field goal.
Dobbs committed his fourth turnover of the game on the Midshipmen's first touch of the third quarter. Faced with a 2nd-and-2 from the Army 30, Dobbs was picked off in the end zone by Richard King.
The Black Knights moved the ball to the 49-yard line of Navy, but Hassin ran seven yards the wrong way on 3rd-and-4. Army punted the football away on the first play of the fourth.
The Midshipmen used the ground game to put the game away. Navy ran the ball 12 times during a 13-play drive that last over nine minutes. Gee Gee Greene's 25- yard TD run made it a 31-10 game with 5:44 to play.
Brown's 45-yard touchdown grab accounted for the final margin.
Navy leads the all-time series, 55-49-7. Meanwhile, Army remained winless at Lincoln Financial Field (0-8; 0-7 vs. Navy, 0-1 vs. Temple).
12/11 23:15:59 ET