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Archive for Saturday, December 24, 2005

Campbell’s five-TD performance powers Navy in Poinsettia

December 24, 2005

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— Only four players have scored five touchdowns in a bowl game, and two of them did it in San Diego.

Reggie Campbell, meet Barry Sanders.

"That's pretty exciting," Campbell, the small, speedy Navy slotback said after being told he had matched Sanders' five-TD performance that came 17 years earlier on the same field.

Campbell's thrilling performance, which included 290 all-purpose yards, led Navy to a 51-30 win over Colorado State in the Poinsettia Bowl late Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium.

The 5-foot-6 sophomore had touchdown catches of 55 and 34 yards, and scoring runs of 22, 2 and 21 yards.

Sanders scored five touchdowns and ran for 222 yards in the 1988 Holiday Bowl, leading Oklahoma State to a 62-14 win over Wyoming at what was then called Jack Murphy Stadium. Sanders won the Heisman Trophy that year.

"I feel honored, almost, because Barry Sanders is one of the guys I always looked up to as a running back," Campbell said.

The other players with five TDs in a bowl were Michigan's Neil Snow against Stanford in the 1902 Rose Bowl and San Jose State's Sheldon Canley against Central Michigan in the 1990 California Bowl.

Campbell was spectacular practically every time he touched the ball for Navy (8-4), which was playing in a third straight bowl game for the first time in academy history.

He ran 16 times for 116 yards, caught two passes for 89 yards and returned four kickoffs for 85 yards. Navy, the nation's top-ranked rushing team with an average of 305.2 yards, ran for 467 yards and had 611 yards in total offense.

The Rams (6-6) had 572 total yards as the teams combined for a bowl-record 1,183 offensive yards.

"Reggie makes plays. We've been saying that all year," quarterback Lamar Owens said. "Everybody tries to say we're undersized, everyone tries to say where real small and call us 'Smurfs,' whatever. You see how it goes when our offense is clicking."

Campbell's first TD was a stunner, a 55-yard reception on Navy's first play from scrimmage. Already hard to stop because of its triple-option rushing attack, Navy surprised everyone, especially Colorado State's defense, when Owens faked a handoff and threw deep to Campbell.

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