(Thursday, December 31st)
Final Score: Navy 35, Missouri 13
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Ricky Dobbs rushed for three touchdowns and threw for another score, as Navy controlled the time of possession with its vaunted running attack en route to a 35-13 Texas Bowl drubbing of Missouri.
Dobbs made up for two lost fumbles with 166 yards on 30 carries, helping Navy (10-4) hold the ball for nearly 22 more minutes thanks to a 385-65 advantage on the ground. Missouri (8-5) came in holding opponents to just 96.4 rushing yards per game.
The junior signal-caller Dobbs also threw for 130 yards on 9-of-14 passes, as the Midshipmen notched their third 10-win season and first since 2004.
"Ricky has been playing well all year," Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "The thing that is really exciting for us, our team, the sky is the limit for him. He is only going to get better. Here is a guy that helped us go 10-4 this year and win some big ball games."
Marcus Curry amassed 206 yards from scrimmage -- 109 coming on 12 carries and 97 on five grabs -- while scoring on the ground for the victors.
Missouri's Blaine Gabbert connected on just 15-of-31 attempts for 291 yards and a touchdown toss to Danario Alexander, who logged 137 yards on six catches for the Tigers, who had won three straight to end the regular season.
Gabbert also threw two interceptions, one coming early in the third quarter while trailing 21-10. Missouri appeared to change the game's momentum following that turnover when Dobbs was stopped short of the first-down marker on 4th-and-1 from the Missouri three-yard line.
After running out of the shadow of the end zone, a 56-yard Wes Kemp reception moved the ball inside the Navy 10. A sack on third down brought out kicker Grant Ressel, who booted a 31-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth to cut Missouri's deficit to 21-13.
The Midshipmen answered immediately and this time through the air, as Curry brought in a deep ball for a 47-yard gain to the Missouri 11. From there, Curry took an option pitch to the left and went untouched to the end zone.
The Tigers then turned the ball over on downs in the red zone, and Dobbs' one- yard rush over the goal line finished off a near six-minute march that sealed Navy's first bowl win since the 2005 Poinsettia Bowl.
"I think [Navy] played exceptionally well and when there was some adversity in that game, they responded like champions," Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said, "I'm just very impressed with their performance. They did an exceptional job."
Navy, making an academy-record seventh consecutive bowl appearance, went down, 7-0, when Gabbert hit Alexander for a 58-yard score on the second play from scrimmage.
Dobbs fumbled in Missouri territory early on but atoned for the mistake by capping a 15-play, 90-yard drive with a one-yard TD run late in the first.
Each defense took over in the second quarter. Tigers safety Jasper Simmons stripped Dobbs just before the goal line with two minutes left in the half. Missouri recovered the loose ball in the end zone, but Derrick Washington fumbled the ball back to Navy on the next play.
Dobbs' 12-yard rushing score came with 45 seconds to go, leaving enough time for Missouri to pull to within 14-10 after Washington's 36-yard catch set up a 31-yard Ressel field goal just before the gun.
Navy's Alexander Teich returned the second-half kickoff 47 yards. The short field, along with a fourth-down conversion run by Curry, allowed Dobbs to hit Bobby Doyle in the end zone on 3rd-and-goal from the three for a 21-10 lead.
George H. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, was in attendance at Reliant Stadium...The two teams were meeting for the third time and the first since the Tigers notched a 21-14 victory in the 1961 Orange Bowl...Missouri fell to 12-15 in the postseason. Navy improved to 7-8-1 in bowl games...Dobbs extended his NCAA single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 27.
12/31 22:20:53 ET