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December 23, 2005
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SAN DIEGO - Speedy little Reggie Campbell of Navy was evoking comparisons with Barry Sanders with every shifty run and breathtaking catch.
Finally, when he scored his fifth touchdown, Campbell had claimed his own little piece of bowl lore on the same field where Sanders ran wild 17 years earlier.
Campbell tied the NCAA bowl record with five touchdowns Thursday night and had 290 all-purpose yards, leading the Midshipmen to a 51-30 win over Colorado State in the Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.
The 5-foot-6 sophomore slotback 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 Jack Murphy Stadium. Sanders won the Heisman Trophy that year.
"That's pretty exciting," Campbell said. "I feel honored, almost, because Barry Sanders is one of the guys I always looked up to as a running back."
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.
"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, who had gotten behind the coverage and scored easily for a 7-7 tie 4:07 into the game.
"The coaches wanted to catch them off guard," Campbell said.
Owens said he was told earlier in the week by coach Paul Johnson that he'd be throwing on the first play.
"It worked to perfection," Owens said.
"It's just part of our offense," Johnson said. "They talked about us running the ball and that's all we did. So I thought they might be run-supporting. We took play-action and the safety got lost."
Campbell already was warmed up, having returned a kickoff 28 yards after the Rams scored on the opening drive.
Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick said the Midshipmen "were precision out there."
Navy's offense "puts a lot of pressure on you," Rams quarterback Justin Holland said. "We thought we had to score on every drive, especially in the second half. When you get down to a team as good as their offense is, it's just hard to come back."
Navy totally fooled Colorado State midway through the second quarter, when Campbell took a pitch and ran 22 yards untouched through a huge hole in the right side of CSU's defense to put the Middies ahead 20-10.
Just before halftime, Campbell had the most pedestrian of his TDs, taking a toss and running in from 2 yards out a 27-10 lead.
Campbell capped the first drive of the second half with a razzle-dazzle 21-yard TD run, when he took a pitch and started outside before cutting inside to put Navy up 34-10.
Colorado State pulled within 10 late in the third quarter after Dustin Osborn caught touchdown passes of 10 and 20 yards from Justin Holland on consecutive possessions. Holland was 26-of-33 for 381 yards.
But Navy came right back and Campbell caught a 34-yard scoring pass from Owens for a 41-24 lead.
Navy was coming off a 42-23 win over Army in which it rushed for 490 yards, including a 54-yard TD run by Campbell.
Navy's other slotback, Marco Nelson, had touchdown runs of 22 and 21 yards.
Holland threw three TD passes for CSU, setting the school single-season record with 23. He hit Johnny Walker on a 22-yarder early in the fourth quarter.
Colorado State's Kyle Bell had 122 yards on 22 carries, including a 1-yard TD run on the game's first possession.
Navy fullback Adam Ballard had 129 yards on 15 carries.For more bowl coverage, check out the college football home page.
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