Reggie Campbell of Navy caught this pass for a 55-yard touchdown yesterday, one of his five scores in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Campbell’s 5 TDs help Navy sink CSU
The sophomore slotback ties the NCAA bowl record in the Middies’ 51-30 win
SAN DIEGO » No one can say that Paul Johnson's Navy team lacks entertainment value.
Despite his penchant for running the football and forcing opponents to stop the nation's top ground game, Johnson's flair for innovation and creativity was evident last night in the Midshipmen's 51-30 win over Colorado State in the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl before 36,842 at Qualcomm Stadium.
The point total represents the most by a Navy team in a bowl. Coming into this game, the Mids had participated in 11 postseason encounters, and the previous best was a 42-38 win over California in the 1996 Aloha Bowl.
Though it took some time for the Navy offense to get on track, Johnson proceeded to mix his usual option offense with an occasional pass and the lethal power toss sweep. Combined, the Mids managed to pick up 309 yards of total offense in the first half, and then rolled to their second straight bowl win. Last December, Navy cruised by New Mexico in the Emerald Bowl at San Francisco.
For the game, Navy accumulated 33 first downs and 611 yards of total offense, including 467 yards on the ground.
"We went to play-action to keep them on their heels," Johnson said afterward. "We were able to do some things, and that opened up some opportunities. I like to go for the jugular, and am not comfortable just sitting around."
Colorado State took the opening kickoff and quickly traveled 77 yards in 10 plays to take an early lead. With less than 4 minutes expired on the clock, the Rams' Kyle Bell powered in from 1 yard out as Colorado State took an early 7-0 lead.
That's when Johnson's innovation kicked into high gear.
Navy's Jeremy Chase, Marshall Green and Lamar Owens hoisted the Poinsettia Bowl trophy.
After a 28-yard kickoff return from Reggie Campbell, the Mids took possession on their 45. Quarterback Lamar Owens faked a handoff to Adam Ballard up the middle, dropped back and found a wide-open Campbell behind the Rams defense. The result was a 55-yard pass completion for the touchdown and, within the span of 13 seconds, Navy tied the game.
Following a 34-yard field goal from the Rams' Jason Smith, and a 10-7 Colorado State advantage, Johnson dusted off the playbook and cut his offense loose.
The result was four Navy touchdowns in four possessions, three scores to close the second quarter and a touchdown on their opening possession of the second half.
Through that time frame, Campbell managed three touchdowns and, for the game, came within one score of tying the school mark of six for most touchdowns in a game. His five touchdowns tied an NCAA record for most scores in a bowl game, joining Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State in the 1988 Holiday Bowl.
Down by that 10-7 score at the end of the opening session, Navy then torched its Nikes and exploded.
First, the Mids scored on the initial play of the second period. Here, senior Marco Nelson took a toss around the right corner and 22 yards later brought Navy into a lead it never relinquished. Only 6 seconds into the second stanza, Navy forged ahead at 13-10 and proceeded to turn things over to Campbell, a fleet sophomore from Sanford, Fla.
Campbell then picked up touchdowns on a 22-yard scoring run, a 1-yard score on a power toss around the left side, and a 21-yard rushing touchdown on the Mids' initial possession of the second half. Late in the third quarter, he grabbed a 34-yard scoring strike from Owens, his fifth touchdown of the game, to boost the Navy lead to 41-24 with 1:40 remaining in the third.
"I like to do a little of everything," Campbell said. "I guess I like lining up in the slot and taking off from there. I'm also the A back, which means you get involved. You run, catch, like an all-purpose back. I really like that role."