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Navy 10, Rutgers 6

September 8, 1996

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) _ Quarterback Chris McCoy atoned for two fumbles with a 15-yard touchdown run and Rashad Smith intercepted a pass at the goal line to stop a late Rutgers drive as Navy opened its season with a 10-6 win Saturday night.

Tim Shubzda added a 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter for the Middies, who ended a seven-game losing streak against the Big East Conference by handing Terry Shea his first loss at Rutgers (1-1).

Despite having a lot less experience, the Scarlet Knights made the Middies’ offense struggle all night. The only thing that worked occasionally for Navy was its running game. Fullback Tim Cannada gained 107 on 17 carries and McCoy, who alternated at quarterback with Ben Fay, had 101 on 22.

Rutgers actually outgained Navy 261-233, but it twice failed to come up with the big play in the fourth quarter. Smith’s interception stopped the last drive at the Navy 23, while the Scarlet Knights were stopped on a fourth-and-inches earlier in the quarter at the Middies 41.

Linebacker Aaron Brady forced a fumble by McCoy midway through the second quarter, giving the Scarlet Knights the ball at the Middies 23. After three plays lost 3 yards, Nick Mike-Mayer kicked a 43-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

Navy took the lead for good, driving 76 yards in six plays on the opening series of the second half. McCoy kept the drive alive early with an 18-yard run on third down and Cannada came back on the next play and went 32 yards up the middle to the Rutgers 22. McCoy capped the drive two plays later, scoring on a quarterback draw from the 15.

McCoy fumbled again on the Middies’ next series, giving Rutgers the ball at Navy’s 39. Ralph Sacca, one of three quarterbacks to run the Scarlet Knights offense, moved the ball to the 15 before Mike-Mayer hit a 32-yard field goal to close the deficit to 7-6 with 5:26 left in the third quarter.

After the middle of the Navy line stopped Rutgers fullback Marc Demyen at the Middies 41 on fourth-and-inches in the opening minute of fourth quarter, McCoy and Cannada carried 39 yards in seven plays to set up Shubzda’s field goal. Holder David Lark made a good play fielding a low snap.

Mike Stephans replaced Sacca on the next series for Rutgers and drove the Scarlet Knights from their 15 to the Navy 23, with the big play being a 32-yard run by halfback Jacki Crooks, who had 86 yards on 19 rushes.

However, on a second-and-9 from the Navy 23, Stephans forced a pass toward the end zone that Smith easily picked off.

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