Scores

Final

Navy 16

(7-4)

N Illinois 0

(6-6, 5-3 MAC)

Coverage: ESPN2

7:00 PM ET, November 25, 2008

Huskie Stadium, Dekalb, IL

1 2 3 4 T
NAVY 0 9 7 016
NIU 0 0 0 00

Top Performers

Passing: C. Harnish (NIU) - 116 YDS, 2 INT

Rushing: R. Dobbs (NAVY) - 25 CAR, 124 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Perez (NIU) - 4 REC, 36 YDS

Navy 16, N. Illinois 0

Associated Press

DEKALB, Ill. -- Quarterback Ricky Dobbs scored a touchdown and ran for 124 yards in his first start to lead Navy to a 16-0 victory over Northern Illinois on Tuesday night.

Navy (7-4) scored on its first two possessions and held the ball for more than 17 minutes in the first half as they beat the Huskies (6-6) for the second straight year.

Dobbs, a sophomore who carried the ball 25 times, fumbled on his team's first play at the Navy 9. He alertly recovered the loose ball and led the Midshipmen on an 81-yard drive that was capped by Matt Harmon's 27-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Nearly nine minutes later, Dobbs finished a 10-play, 85-yard second quarter drive with a one-yard touchdown run.

"Other than that (fumble) it was like everything we've been working on in practice," said Dobbs, the sixth Navy quarterback to rush for at least 100 yards in his first start. "Unfortunately we couldn't put up more points, but we were moving at will."

In the third quarter, Navy safety Emmett Merchant picked off a pass from Northern Illinois' Chandler Harnish and returned it 29 yards into Huskies territory. Ten plays later, Navy went up 16-0 on Eric Kettani's one-yard TD run with 2:21 remaining in the period.

"I thought Ricky played solid," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "We just wanted to make sure he managed the game ... We just wanted to make sure he took care of the ball, and I thought he did that.

"Overall, I think our offense did a great job of controlling the ball and making the best of all our possessions."

Dobbs credited the defense for the offense's success.

"The key stops allowed us to settle down and take our time to score," he said.

Kettani rushed for 92 yards on 19 carries, and Harnish led Northern Illinois with 14 carries for 65 yards. He was 14-of-24 for 116 yards passing.

"We moved the ball but we just couldn't finish," Huskies coach Jerry Kill said. "Overall, our offense played well. We turned it over a couple of times and didn't get it back and you can't do that against Navy."

The Midshipmen clinched a winning season with two games to play, including the annual showdown with Army on Dec. 6 in Philadelphia. Navy will also play in the inaugural EagleBank Bowl on Dec. 20 in Washington D.C.

Northern Illinois' slim bowl hopes were dashed with the loss.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NAVY
NIU
1st Downs1918
Total Yards294251
Passing32116
Rushing262135
Penalties4-374-45
3rd Down Conversions6-94-10
4th Down Conversions0-01-4
Turnovers02
Possession30:2329:37

Passing Leaders

NavyC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Dobbs1/13232.000
Northern IllinoisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Harnish14/241164.802

Rushing Leaders

NavyCARYDSAVGTDLG
Dobbs251245.0119
Kettani19924.8113
Northern IllinoisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Harnish14644.6012
Crider13554.2014

Receiving Leaders

NavyRECYDSAVGTDLG
Shinego13232.0032
Northern IllinoisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Perez4369.0013
Cunningham33010.0014

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERNAVYNIU
FG14:55Matt Harmon 27 Yd 30
TD05:38Ricky Dobbs 1 Yd Run (Two-Point Run Conversion Failed) 90
THIRD QUARTERNAVYNIU
TD02:21Eric Kettani 1 Yd Run (Matt Harmon Kick) 160