Sept. 10, 2005
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Walt Harris walked into his post-game interview carrying the game ball from his first victory with Stanford.
"I'm not bringing it to boast," he said. "I'm bringing it because I'm proud."
Thanks to a fine performance by quarterback Trent Edwards, the Cardinal won their opener under Harris, building a 14-point lead and holding on to beat Navy 41-38 Saturday night.
"It was a great game for our players to win. It was a great win for us, man," Harris said. "I thought it was an excellent game for us."
Harris, who spent the past eight years at Pittsburgh, is seeking to turn around a program coming off three straight losing seasons. The Cardinal lost their last five games in 2004, but are unbeaten under Harris because of Edwards, who went 21-for-33 for 235 yards and a touchdown.
T.J. Rushing returned a kickoff 93 yards for a score to help Stanford turn back Navy (0-2) in the first meeting between the teams since 1965.
Stanford played the second half without star receiver Evan Moore, who dislocated his hip while being tackled late in the second quarter. He was taken to a hospital for X-rays, and Harris expected him to return home with the team.
Moore finished with three catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Marco Nelson scored three touchdowns for the Midshipmen and Karlos Whittaker ran for 110 yards on seven carries, becoming the first freshman in Navy history to have a 100-yard rushing game.
But the Midshipmen, who fell to Maryland 23-20 last week, lost another close one.
"It was disappointing," Navy coach Paul Johnson said. "That's two weeks in a row we were in it until the very end. We have to find a way to get the job done."
Nelson's third score, on a 54-yard pass from Lamar Owens, brought the Midshipmen to 38-31 with 12:38 left. But Edwards moved the Cardinal close enough for Michael Sgroi to kick a 47-yard field goal, and Stanford held on.
Harris was delighted with the win, but it didn't take long for him to start looking ahead.
"We're going to get home late, the guys are banged up and we've got to get back to work," he said.
The Cardinal took a 28-21 lead by moving 65 yards for a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half. Anthony Kimble scored on a 3-yard run and accounted for most of the yardage on the drive, catching a 12-yard pass and running for 34 yards.
A 38-yard run by Whittaker set up a Navy field goal, but late in the quarter Stanford used a bit of trickery to open up a 35-24 lead.
Sgroi added a field goal to make it 38-24 with 14:47 left.
Navy made a game of it, but down the stretch looked very much like a team with only six starters back from last year.
"I feel for the kids," Johnson said. "We just made some critical mistakes. We're so young."
Stanford's first drive under its new coach couldn't have gone much better. After forcing a punt, the Cardinal faced two third downs before Edwards threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Moore.
Navy pulled even when Stanford punt returner David Marrero fumbled when hit by Reggie Campbell, and Nelson ran 19 yards into the end zone with the loose ball.
The deadlock lasted 12 seconds - the amount of time it took Rushing to cover the 93 yards on his second career kickoff return for a touchdown.
Held to 13 yards on 10 carries in the first quarter, Navy found its ground game early in the second period tied it when Whittaker scored on a 44-yard run.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Nelson with 5:33 left in the half gave Navy its first lead, but Stanford tied it on a 2-yard run by Frank.