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Navy Runs Past Tulsa to Start 3-0

Eckel's 3 TDs Lead 332-Yard Rushing Attack: Navy 29, Tulsa 0

Associated Press
Sunday, September 19, 2004; Page E15

TULSA, Sept. 18 -- Kyle Eckel scored three touchdowns, Navy rolled up 332 yards rushing and the Midshipmen won their first three games for the first time since 1979, beating Tulsa, 29-0, on Saturday.

It was Navy's first shutout since a 7-0 win over Lafayette in 1994. Tulsa, 8-5 a year ago, dropped to 0-3 and failed to score a touchdown despite gaining 320 yards.

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"This win speaks volumes for our players," said Navy Coach Paul Johnson. "They have worked really hard and they played hard. We had a pretty good game plan going in. We had a pretty good handle on what they were going to do."

Navy led 14-0 at halftime on the strength of two long touchdown drives and two key fourth-down stops of Tulsa. The Midshipmen then wore down Tulsa in the third quarter with their option attack that led the nation in rushing in 2003.

Eckel ran in untouched from the 8-yard line to cap a 10-play drive, all on the ground, opening the third quarter. A two-point conversion pass from kicker Geoff Blumenfeld to Corey Dryden made it 22-0.

Eric Roberts scampered 37 yards for a score on Navy's next possession, making it 29-0 early in the fourth quarter. Roberts finished with 89 yards on seven carries and Eckel had 98 yards in 23 attempts.

Quarterback Aaron Polanco was 3 for 5 for 73 yards as Navy went 98 yards on its opening drive, capped by Eckel's one-yard scoring plunge.

Polanco passed for 117 yards and ran for 36 more before departing early in the final quarter.

The Midshipmen finished the first half by driving 80 yards in 11 plays, with Roberts doing much of the damage, picking up 33 yards in three option carries. Eckel scored from the 1 to culminate the drive.

Tulsa's James Killian threw for 220 yards but was intercepted twice.

"They beat us in all phases of the game," Tulsa Coach Steve Kragthorpe said.


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