PHILADELPHIA - PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Navy has made sports' most patriotic rivalry a lopsided one.
The Mids beat Army 17-3 on Saturday for their eighth straight win in the series. The loss eliminated the Black Knights' shot at playing in their first bowl game since 1996.
Ricky Dobbs ran for a score to set an NCAA single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 24, and threw for a TD to help Navy improve to 54-49-7 overall against Army for its biggest lead in a series that began in 1890.
Navy won the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, awarded to the team with the best record in games between the three service academies, for a school-record seventh straight year.
Army (5-7) would have played in the EagleBank Bowl with a win. That matchup is now Temple vs. UCLA at RFK Stadium in Washington on Dec. 29.
For the first time in a long while, there was more on the line in an Army-Navy game than bragging rights.
Army blew its chance of marching into a late-December bowl with a series of turnovers and missed field goals.
That was enough for Dobbs and the Mids in their final tuneup for Missouri.
Dobbs threw a 25-yard TD pass to Marcus Curry in the third quarter to give Navy a 7-3 lead. Dobbs' 1-yard scoring run late in the fourth made it 17-3 and gave him a whopping 24 rushing scores this season.
Navy has won a service academy-record 15 consecutive games against Army and Air Force. Navy's last loss to a service academy was against Air Force in 2002.
Dobbs finished with 113 yards rushing.
But this one wasn't a rout like so many of Navy's wins in the series this decade. The Mids outscored the Black Knights 78-3 the last two years, including a 34-0 victory last season.
In front of 69,541 fans at Lincoln Financial Field in the 110th meeting between the two service academies, Army scored the only points of the first half on Alex Carlton's 23-yard field goal.
The 3-0 halftime lead may not have seen like much to an Army program looking for respectability under first-year coach Rich Ellerson, but it marked:
—the first time Army led at halftime in the series since 2001.
—the first time Navy was shutout in the first half of the series since 1993.
—the first time Army led against Navy since the first quarter of the 2006 game.
The Black Knights should have put more points on the scoreboard. Carlton missed an earlier field-goal attempt, and they had to settle for three after getting just 6 yards following an interception return to the Navy 12.
The Mids took advantage of the opening. Dobbs went over the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the third and became only the third Navy QB to reach that milestone. He found a wide-open Curry for the Mids' first lead, and Joe Buckley tacked on a 36-yard field goal.
Carlton missed another field goal in the fourth and Army lost a fumble.
With cadets and mids standing, bouncing and cheering the entire game, it was clear how much the rivalry means to both sides.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates flipped the coin and team highlights were played to Rocky's "Gonna Fly Now." Billed as "America's Game," fireworks went off as both teams stormed the field waving their school flags during the introductions.