Their initial drive stalled on the Army 9 and Tom Vanderhorst kicked the first of his two 26-yard field goals. After limiting the Cadets' next possession to three plays, McCoy directed a 65-yard scoring march that put Navy ahead to stay. The key to the drive was a McCoy keeper for 25 yards.

This set the pattern for the remainder of the game with McCoy and Cannada finding gaping holes in the Army defense.

"Our offensive line did an incredible job," said Cannada, an overachieving 195-pound fullback. "Every time I got the ball, I kind of said, 'Wow, I didn't realize I had that much room.' Everything on the field looked green. It was the game of my life."

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In the second quarter, Navy converted a fumble by Hewitt and a mishandled punt by Scot Lord into a pair of touchdowns to take a commanding 26-7 lead at halftime.

The Cadets' chances of mounting a quick comeback were minimal since Goff had completed only 31 percent of his passes and just one touchdown in the previous 10 games.

"Their style is to keep it on the ground. I don't think they could suddenly change to a passing game," said senior safety and co-captain Gervy Alota.

Army coach Bob Sutton, who had enjoyed a perfect 5-0 record against Army, acknowledged the Cadets were never really in contention after their stunning opening drive.

"The fumble by Hewitt and the mishandled punt by Lord kind of knocked our game out of whack," he said. "If we were going to get back in the game, we had to stop them early in the second half."

But McCoy, crediting his coaches with "perfect play-calling," executed a 14-play, 80-yard march that consumed 7 minutes and 25 seconds, taking any suspense out of the rest of the game.

Said Weatherbie in tribute to his departing star, "Starting with the Notre Dame game, Chris played like a Heisman Trophy winner. It's too bad we lost some of those early games, otherwise, I'm sure he would have been a serious candidate."

There will be no bowl encores for McCoy or Navy this season. But for the 27 seniors on the team, beating Army for the first time and finally hearing the Japanese bell ring on campus will be music to their ears.