Sunday, December 7, 2003

Ground game comes up big as Navy knocks Army to 0-13

Enquirer news services

PHILADELPHIA - Navy is heading to a bowl game. Army is facing an uncertain future.

Kyle Eckel ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns and Eric Roberts scored two touchdowns, leading Navy to a 34-6 victory Saturday in the 104th meeting between the service academies.

Army became the first team to finish 0-13 in major college history. The Black Knights have lost 15 straight, the nation's longest current losing streak, and 24 of their last 25. Army, which has lost four of the last five meetings with Navy, still leads the overall series 49-48-7.

"The record doesn't matter," Army senior linebacker Ryan Kent said. "Just to be part of the team and be named captain, it's a great honor. I'm disappointed, but still it's a source of pride for me."

Navy (8-4), coming off a 2-10 season, is heading to the Houston Bowl on Dec. 30 - its first bowl appearance since 1996. Army has a long way to go before it can think about the postseason.

The Black Knights fired coach Todd Berry after an 0-6 start and interim coach John Mumford won't be considered after going 0-7. Published reports this week said Frank Solich, fired by Nebraska last Saturday, turned down the job.

"There's a good team in there in those kids. I couldn't get it out of them," Mumford said.

Army was close early, but fell apart in the second half. Navy scored 27 straight points, pulling away on fourth-quarter TD runs of 12 and 16 yards by Eckel.

Navy quarterback Craig Candeto had 58 yards rushing to go over the 1,000-yard mark for the season.

Candeto and Eckel, who has 1,178 yards rushing, became the first tandem in Navy history to each surpass 1,000 yards in the same season.

The victory gave Navy the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, awarded annually to the team with the best record in games between the three service academies, for the first time since 1981.

MIAMI: Sources say three juniors, tight end Kellen Winslow, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and safety Sean Taylor have informed Hurricanes coaches of their decisions to leave school early for April's NFL draft.

UM is having the game film for all three, and junior cornerback Antrel Rolle, evaluated by the NFL's advisory committee so they will get a more accurate assessment of their draft status. Rolle appears to be undecided about his decision because he's not a guarantee to be picked in the first round.

Taylor's speech at the team's MVP award at a banquet Thursday bordered on being a farewell speech. He said he "really had a great time" at Miami.

Winslow was even more coy, saying, "Hopefully, I'll be here next year." His comment drew more laughter than applause.

DUKE: Ted Roof was hired as coach, after going 2-3 as interim coach after Carl Franks was fired. Duke athletic director Joe Alleva said Roof, who has no previous head coaching experience, signed a long-term contract. He was hired over three other candidates, including former Detroit Lions coach Bobby Ross.

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