- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 6, 2005

ANNAPOLIS — With a little less than two minutes left in the first quarter yesterday, Navy ran a play on its half of the field for the first time — a 3-yard run by fullback Trey Hines.

The Midshipmen scored touchdowns on their first four possessions — all of which started at midfield or closer — and cruised to a 49-21 victory against Tulane in front of 33,608 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Navy’s first-quarter eruption was aided by three Green Wave turnovers and a punt return into Tulane territory. The Mids (5-3) scored on drives of 40, 25, 42 and 50 yards en route to a 28-0 advantage after 15 minutes.

“It really put [Tulane] behind the eight-ball,” Navy coach Paul Johnson said. “They had some turnovers, and we were able to take advantage of them. When you get behind like that, just for your mental psyche, it is tough.”

Tulane (2-6) lost its fifth consecutive game in what has become a lost season. The Green Wave have been displaced from their New Orleans home because of Hurricane Katrina and were playing in their eighth different stadium.

Last season, Lester Ricard completed 18 of 19 passes and tossed four touchdowns against Navy. Yesterday he was on the sidelines with his helmet in hand before the first quarter ended. He was 2-for-7 for 27 yards with a pair of interceptions before being benched in favor of freshman Scott Elliott.

“That was just a really embarrassing performance in the first half,” Tulane coach Chris Scelfo said. “Today the want-to was not there. It was obvious. … You have to buck up, and we didn’t buck up.”

The Mids finished the game with a season-high 418 yards on the ground. Quarterback Lamar Owens did not throw a pass in the first quarter, and the team threw a total of three.

Fullback Matt Hall led the Mids with 109 yards, while Owens, Reggie Campbell, Marco Nelson and Karlos Whittaker all rushed for at least 50.

“We can let Matt Hall have 1,000 touches, or Reggie [Campbell] can run the ball — I don’t care, and the guys know that,” said Owens, who was 1-for-2 for 29 yards while rushing for 80 yards and three touchdowns. “I don’t care about stats at all as long as they are positive stats.”

The 35-7 halftime margin could have been even bigger. In the second quarter, Hines fumbled the ball, and Tulane recovered in its own end zone to thwart another scoring chance.

Johnson questioned his players’ mental and physical toughness after the team’s 31-21 loss last week at Rutgers. Combine that with the memory of a 42-10 beating at Tulane last season, and the Mids had plenty of motivation.

“All we did this week was watch last year’s film [of the Tulane game],” Hall said. “I must have seen it seven or eight times. All we talked about was how we came out flat and had no energy on the field. Right from the beginning today, we felt we had to fix that.”

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