December 31, 2009
2009 Texas Bowl
Ricky Dobbs ran for 166 yards and three touchdowns and Navy manhandled Missouri with its triple-option offense in a 35-13 win over the Tigers in the Texas Bowl on Thursday.
Dobbs also threw a touchdown pass to Bobby Doyle and Marcus Curry ran for a score as the Midshipmen (10-4) rushed for 385 yards against Missouri’s 12th-ranked run defense. Navy won time of possession by nearly 22 minutes and ran 81 offensive plays to only 57 for the Tigers.
Blaine Gabbert threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Danario Alexander on Missouri’s second play from scrimmage, but the Tigers mustered only 298 yards the rest of the game _ largely because they only had the ball for just over 19 minutes.
Gabbert also threw two interceptions and was sacked four times as Missouri (8-5) lost for the second time in its last five bowl appearances.
Alexander, who led the nation in receiving yards coming into the game, took a short pass from Gabbert and outran the Navy defense just 24 seconds into the game. It was Alexander’s 14th TD catch of the season and eighth covering more than 50 yards.
The Tigers knew what to expect from Navy’s offense and still couldn’t stop it.
Dobbs broke a 24-yard run on Navy’s second possession, diving into the end zone with 2:58 left in the first quarter. It was Dobbs’ 25th touchdown run of the year, adding to his NCAA single-season record for a quarterback.
Tigers’ defensive end Aldon Smith sacked Dobbs on the first play of the second quarter, setting a Missouri record with his 12th sack of the season.
Dobbs wasn’t sacked again, and the Midshipmen drove to the Missouri 22 late in the half. Dobbs ran up the middle, but Missouri safety Jasper Simmons forced a fumble just before Dobbs crossed the goal line and the Tigers recovered in the end zone.
It only slowed down the Middies temporarily.
Missouri’s Derrick Washington fumbled on the next play, Navy recovered and Dobbs scored on a 12-yard run with 45 seconds left before halftime.
Gabbert’s 36-yard pass to Washington set up Grant Ressel’s 31-yard field goal on the last play before the break to make it 14-10.
But Navy had already set the tone for the game, rushing for 216 yards in the first half and holding the ball for more than 21 minutes.
Dobbs’ 3-yard touchdown pass to Doyle finished the first drive of the third quarter and put Navy up 21-10.
Navy’s Ross Pospisil picked off Gabbert’s pass near midfield on Missouri’s next play. Gabbert had not thrown an interception since a 36-17 win over Colorado on Oct. 31.
Missouri only slowed down Navy’s offense when the Midshipmen made mistakes. Dobbs fumbled the snap on fourth-and-1 from the Missouri 3, and the Tigers’ offense finally got back on the field.
Wes Kemp caught a short pass and got help from several blocks on a 56-yard gain to the Navy 9. The drive stalled there and Ressel kicked another 31-yarder to make it 21-13.
Dobbs threw a 47-yard pass to Curry on Navy’s next play. Dobbs joined Craig Candeto (2003) as the only Midshipmen to run and pass for over 1,000 yards in a season.
Curry ran 11 yards for a touchdown on the next snap, finishing Navy’s second-fastest touchdown drive of the season (35 seconds).
Dobbs, named the game’s most valuable player, finished one more time-consuming drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 4:56 left.
The Midshipmen went 6-0 this season and improved to 41-5 over the last seven years when they’ve scored at least 30 points.