Navy's Air Force and Bowl Blasts

Air Force humiliated Navy 48-7 in October of 2002 and you know the so-called 'Fly Guys' enjoyed every minute of it. The blowout served as the Falcons' sixth straight over Navy and there would be many more. At least, that's what Air Force thought. Four years later, the face of service academy football has changed.

Navy is on top. On top of Army and those 'Fly Guys'. Last week, GoMids.com looked back at Navy's recent blowout wins over Army to help pass the dog days of summer.

This week?

On to Air Force. Three straight tight wins in a row. Must of hurt Air Force bad.

But the fun doesn't end there. Let's rehash Navy's bowl wins over the last two seasons. And here's to another in 2006:

Air Force

2005: Not a bad little comeback. Navy scored 10 points in the final 2½ minutes to earn a 27-24 win in rainy Annapolis.

Joey Bullen kicked a 46-yard field goal with 0.4 seconds remaining for the win. Bullen wouldn't have ever had the opportunity if Navy didn't convert a fourth down on their own 29-yard line with three minutes remaining. Quarterback Lamar Owens ran two yards for a first down and the magic was underway.

Just three plays after Owens' run, Reggie Campbell tied the game with a 40-yard score. Navy has three wins over Air Force in a row for the first time since 1977-79.

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2004: Air Force did its best to try to freeze Navy kicker Geoff Blumenfeld. Coach Fisher DeBerry called consecutive timeouts as Blumenfeld lined up for the game-winning kick in Colorado Springs.

The kid didn't flinch.

Blumenfeld hit a 30-yard field goal with four second left to give Navy a 24-21 win over Air Force. It served as his first field goal of the season.

Air Force tied the game 21-21 with 2:21 left on a 12-yard pass from Shaun Carney to J.P. Waller. Navy got the ball back on its own 25-yard line and moved down the field. Quarterback Aaron Polanco notched a 32-yard run up the middle to the Air Force 29 and then Eric Roberts went off left tackle for 13 more. Three runs up the middle followed.

Seconds later, Blumenfeld was a hero.

2003: How's that old saying go...........Payback is a, well, we better not go there. But you get the idea.

Navy exacted revenge on Air Force with a 28-25 win at FedEx Field. The Falcons had beaten Navy six years in a row.

Fullback Kyle Eckel ran all over Air Force for a career-high 176 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Craig Candeto added two scores. Air Force had won 12 consecutive games over rivals Army and Navy entering the game. Who would have known..........The face of service academy football was beginning to change.

Navy went on to beat Army and win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the first time since 1981. Midshipmen fans know the rest.

Bowl blasts

2005: Put simply, Colorado State got schooled. Coach Sonny Lubick and the Rams' expected Navy to run the ball a lot during the Poinsettia Bowl.

The Midshipmen did. But the dean of service academy coaching, A.K.A. Navy coach Paul Johnson, threw in a few pass plays. Genius. Campbell scored five touchdowns to lead Navy to a 51-30 win at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Campbell had touchdown catches of 55 and 34 yards and scored on runs of 22, 2 and 21 yards. He is one of only five players that have scored five touchdowns in a bowl game. That list includes Barry Sanders.

Let's not forget Campbell's 290 all-purpose yards. He is a junior and has two more years to shine for Navy.

The other players with five TDs in a bowl are Michigan's Neil Snow against Stanford in the 1902 Rose Bowl, San Jose State's Sheldon Canley against Central Michigan in the 1990 California Bowl and Steven Jackson of Oregon State, who did it in the 2003 Las Vegas Bowl.

Campbell's first score came four minutes inti the game when Owens faked a handoff and threw deep to Campbell, who scored to tie the game 7-7. The Midshipmen would score 27 of the game's next 30 points.

2004: Three yards up the gut. Four on the outside. Three more straight up the middle.

First down!

There was a lot of that going on during Navy's 26-play drive that ate up 14 minutes, 26 seconds off the clock in the third and fourth quarters during its 34-19 win over New Mexico in the Emerald Bowl in San Francisco.

Just call it Navy's version of 'The Drive'. The 94-yard jaunt culminated with a 22-yard field goal by Blumenfeld with 2:15 left to conclude the scoring.

Quarterback Aaron Polanco ran for three touchdowns and threw for another. Navy ended the season 10-2.

Photo above right: Air Force's Bobby Giannini after 05 Navy game. (AP -Matthew S. Gunby)


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