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Navy 35, Tulane 17

11/1/2003

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Navy's vaunted ground game proved too much
for Tulane, and assured the Midshipmen that this won't be another
losing season.

Quarterback Craig Candeto rushed for 140 yards and three
touchdowns in Navy's 35-17 victory Saturday over Tulane.

Navy, ranked first in the nation in rushing offense, gained 357
yards on the ground. Candeto, who carried 18 times, scored on runs
of 1, 28 and 8 yards.

"We executed better today than we did last week," Candeto
said, referring to a 21-17 loss to Delaware. "The offensive line
did a great job."

Navy (6-3) beat Tulane for the first time since 1999 and assured
itself of a non-losing season for the first time since 1997 -- the
team's last winning one at 7-4. Tulane (3-6) lost for the fifth
straight time.

The Midshipmen have not been to a bowl game since 1996. Among
the team's remaining three games are rival matchups against Notre
Dame and Army.

"Right now, we want to win number 7," Navy coach Paul Johnson
said. "If we do that then we have accomplished all of our goals,
except one (of beating Army) and we cannot do that until the end of
the year."

Kyle Eckel added 120 yards on 26 carries, marking the second
time this season two Navy runners topped 100 yards in a game.

Navy also committed a season-high four turnovers, but its
defense countered with two interceptions of Tulane quarterback J.P.
Losman and a fumble recovery.

"I thought our defense did a great job today, they ran a lot of
snaps but didn't have any big plays. We made them be patient,"
Johnson explained. "I think we have a little more speed on defense
this year."

Despite the turnovers, Navy's offense was extremely potent. The
Midshipmen finished with 414 yards total offense and had scoring
drives of 68, 95, 65 and 63 yards.

"I think they had a hard time stopping us on offense, unless we
self-destruct," Johnson said of Navy's four turnovers. "Craig
(Candeto) ran the offense well. He made some big plays and managed
the game well."

For Tulane, Losman completed 25 of 38 passes for 198 yards a
touchdown, a 6-yard pass to Tristan Smith.

Tulane's Mewelde Moore gained more than 100 yards rushing for
the fifth straight game, gaining 115 yards on 19 carries. He had 55
yards on six catches.

Roydell Williams caught 10 passes for 85 yards for the Green
Wave, which had 359 yards total offense to Navy's 414.

The Mids jumped to a 14-0 first-quarter lead on the way to a
21-10 halftime lead.

Candeto capped a 68-yard drive with a 1-yard run with 8:54 left
in the first quarter. He then scored on a 28-yard run with 6:10
left after Eddie Carthan's pass interception and 22-yard return
gave Navy the ball at the Tulane 35.

Tulane closed to 14-7 in the second quarter on Losman's pass to
Smith and drove to Navy's 5 on their next drive. On fourth down,
the Wave went for a TD instead of a field goal and failed.

Navy then drove 95 yards, as Trey Hines scored from the 4 with
4:53 left in the half.

Tulane's Barrett Pepper kicked a 41-yard field goal to close the
half to make it 21-10, but the Mids scored on their first two
possessions of the second half to go ahead 35-10.