In his final game, Aaron Polanco embarrassed the nation's eighth-best rush defense. He ran for three touchdowns and passed for another, and Navy capped the academy's best season...
SAN FRANCISCO — In his final game, Aaron Polanco embarrassed the nation’s eighth-best rush defense.
He ran for three touchdowns and passed for another, and Navy capped the academy’s best season in 99 years with a 34-19 win over New Mexico in the Emerald Bowl yesterday.
Polanco did just about everything else, too.
“I guess that’s the way it worked out for me,” he said. “The line played their hearts out.”
Polanco scored on runs of 14, 1 and 27 yards and completed a 61-yard touchdown pass to Corey Dryden. The Midshipmen didn’t have a turnover, and their defense was also impressive, despite the rain-soaked field at SBC Park.
The unit forced two first-half turnovers that led to TDs and staged a goal-line stand late in the third quarter. Then Navy kept the ball for the next 14 minutes, 26 seconds, and held New Mexico to six plays in the fourth quarter.
The Midshipmen (10-2) tied for the most wins in school history, last accomplished when Navy went 10-1-1 in 1905.
New Mexico quarterback Kole McKamey had nearly as big a day after the Lobos (7-5) lost star tailback DonTrell Moore to a severe left knee injury late in the first quarter that will require surgery within the next 10 days.
McKamey threw for 207 yards and also rushed for 138, the first Lobos player to accomplish the feat since Graham Leigh in 1997. But McKamey had two interceptions and only had a few chances down the stretch.
It was a fitting end for the Mids, some of whom will head off to war in the coming year. Less than two months ago, Navy’s players dealt with the death of former teammate JP Blecksmith in a military operation in Fallujah, Iraq.
“With what’s going on in the world, there’s just a bond. You witnessed that today,” said Paul Johnson, Navy’s third-year coach who has turned around a program that went 1-20 in the two years before he arrived.
“This team will go down in the annals as a very special team. I said after the game that I’m so happy for these players. They’ve seen the bottom of the barrel and now found success. Any time you can see hard work rewarded, it makes your job worthwhile.”
Boston College 37, North Carolina 24
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When Paul Peterson broke his hand, it probably cost Boston College a spot in the Bowl Championship Series. When the quarterback broke his leg, the Eagles refused to let it ruin their consolation game.
Kicker Ryan Ohliger ran 21 yards for a touchdown on a fake field goal one play after Peterson was taken off the field on a stretcher, and the 25th-ranked Eagles beat North Carolina (6-6) in the Continental Tire Bowl.
The Eagles (9-3) never wanted to be in this game, only needing a victory over Syracuse in the regular-season finale to secure their first outright Big East championship and earn a BCS berth. But Peterson missed that game with a broken hand, and Syracuse beat Boston College to send the Eagles to Charlotte.
Before leaving yesterday, Peterson completed 24 of 33 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns, helping Boston College win a bowl game for the fifth straight season.
But he wasn’t able to return to the field to accept the game’s MVP award. Instead, his wife went out to collect the trophy.
The Eagles gave the Big East its first win in the 3-year-old bowl game. It was BC’s final game in the league — it joins the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.