Navy, Eckel roll over Tulsa, 29-0, to go to 3-0

Mids win first 3 games for first time since '79

College Football

September 19, 2004|By Brad Blood | Brad Blood,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TULSA, Okla. - Kyle Eckel's power and Aaron Polanco's finesse, not to mention Navy's defense, were too much for Tulsa last night.

Eckel and Polanco put in workmanlike performances, and the defense posted its first shutout since 1994, as the Midshipmen rolled to a 29-0 victory.

Navy improved to 3-0 for the first time since 1979.

Tulsa, a surprising 8-5 a year ago, dropped to 0-3 with its third straight poor offensive showing. The Golden Hurricane gained 320 yards and were shut out for the first time since a 37-0 loss to Oklahoma opening the 2002 season.

Tulsa, which returns eight offensive starters from a team that ranked 28th nationally in scoring last year at 30.8, failed to score a touchdown for the second time this season.

Navy's previous shutout was a 7-0 win over Lafayette in 1994.

With Navy coming off consecutive wins and Tulsa beginning the season with two losses, the momentum rolled Navy's way in the first half. The Midshipmen held a 14-0 halftime lead at Tulsa, where it was 100 degrees on the field at kickoff.

The first Navy score came on an impressive 98-yard, 14-play drive that was capped by Eckel's 1-yard touchdown dive. The drive took 5:45 off the clock.

The Navy defense kept Tulsa from getting anything going. After a Tulsa 26-yard pass that put the Hurricane inside Navy's 10-yard line, the Midshipmen's defense came up with a big stop. On fourth down at the 2, Bobby McClarin stopped James Killian's quarterback draw.

Navy survived a threat when a holding penalty negated Tulsa's 30-yard gain on a passing play late in the second quarter. On third-and-five at the Tulsa 46, Babatunde Akingbemi knocked down a pass to force a Tulsa punt.

For the game, Tulsa was just 3-for-11 on third-down conversions.

The following drive featured two third-down conversions for Navy, as Polanco dove for a first down on third-and-two and Eric Roberts took a pitch for a 14-yard conversion.

Eckel then got his second touchdown, on another 1-yard run. It gave Eckel his seventh consecutive two-touchdown game. After Geoff Blumenfeld hit the extra point, Navy led 14-0 with 43 seconds left in the first half. Polanco had hit Trey Hines for a 21-yard gain to set up the score.

"It's typical Eckel," Navy coach Paul Johnson said of his fullback, who rushed for 98 yards in 23 attempts. "He's a big bruising guy. When he gets into the secondary, he's 240 [pounds].

"There aren't too many safeties that want to come up and tackle him. That's not a fair fight, and we were getting to the safeties some, and sooner or later, he's going to shorten that guy's neck if he has to tackle him over and over."

Later in the game, Eckel had his third touchdown run, this one going for 8 yards. Navy then faked the extra-point try, as Blumenfeld hit a wide-open Corey Dryden, who galloped into the end zone. Navy's lead was 22-0 with 3:47 left in the third quarter.

Roberts dashed 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.

Polanco passed for 117 yards and ran for 36 more before taking a seat early in the final period.

Killian was 20-for-40 for 220 yards with two interceptions. He also led Tulsa with 66 yards rushing.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Navy 7 7 8 7 - 29

Tulsa 0 0 0 0 - 0

First quarter Navy-Eckel 1 run (Blumenfeld kick) 4:48 Second quarter Navy-Eckel 1 run (Blumenfeld kick) 0:43 Third quarter Navy-Eckel 8 run (Dryden pass from Blumenfeld) 3:47 Fourth quarter Navy-Roberts 37 run (Blumenfeld kick) 14:14 A-23,658.

Navy Tulsa

First downs 23 19

Rushes-yards 68-330 34-100

Passing 117 220

Comp-Att-Int 06-08-0 20-40-2

Return Yards 13 00

Punts-Avg. 4-27.0 6-39.8

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0

Penalties-Yards 5-56 7-74

Time of Possession 32:41 27:19

Rushing: Navy, Eckel 23-98, Roberts 7-89, Polanco 14-36, Hall 7-28, Owens 6-24, Divis 4-21, Nelson 1-15, Hines 2-8, Campbell 1-8, Dingle 2-5. Tulsa, Killian 13-66, Parrish 14-24, Diles 6-12, Landrum 1-minus 2 Passing: Navy, Polanco 8-6-0-117. Tulsa. Killian 40-20-2-220 Receiving. Navy, Campbell 1-30, Roberts 1-27, Hines 1-24, Divis 1-16, Tomlinson 1-13, Dryden 1-7. Tulsa. Blankenship 7-63, Davis 5-98, Culton 3-26, Mills 2-14, Landrum 2-11, Parrish 1-8.

Next for Navy

Matchup: Vanderbilt (0-2) vs. Navy (3-0)

Site: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Radio: WJFK (1300 AM), WNAV (1430 AM)

Yesterday: Vanderbilt lost to Mississippi in overtime, 26-23.

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