Nov 16, 2002
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS - Reggie Nevels threw for a touchdown and ran for another to help Army win its first game of the season Saturday, 14-10 over Tulane.
Army (1-9, 1-6 Conference USA) has now beaten Tulane (6-5, 3-4) three times in the last three years.
The 10 points are the fewest the Black Knights have allowed in their past 68 games; they beat Air Force 23-7 on Nov. 9, 1996.
Tulane kicker Seth Marler had a field goal blocked and pushed two more wide in a game the Green Wave needed to win to guarantee a winning season and strengthen their chances to go to a bowl for the first time since 1998.
Tulane had one last chance to win with the ball on the Army 23 and less than 1:30 to go, but J.P. Losman's pass was tipped and intercepted by Maurio Smith.
Losman finished with 172 yards passing but was sacked five times, harassed all game and intercepted twice. Army's disciplined defense also held Tulane to 26 yards rushing.
Nevels, who missed the second quarter after being hammered by Anthony Cannon during a scramble, had only 94 yards passing, but one was a 35-yard scoring strike to Blaine Cooper in the first quarter. Carlton Jones ran for 124 yards for Army.
Nevels scored the eventual game-winner on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Nevels was hit short of the goal line on the third-down option play, but he stretched his arm for the score. Tulane's defenders thought they had stopped Nevels, and an instant replay brought boos from the crowd.
But in the end, Tulane could only blame itself after failing to score three times from inside the Army 20 and getting points off just one of five turnovers - four of them in Army territory.
Army took a 7-0 lead on Nevels' touchdown pass, capping a 56-yard drive that stemmed from a blown opportunity by Tulane. The Green Wave had recovered a Nevels fumble on the Black Knights 39, but its field goal attempt was blocked by Jonathan Lewis.
The Green Wave recovered a second fumble at the Army 36 but punted after three downs. A third fumble on a sack of backup Army quarterback Zac Dahman gave Tulane the ball at the Army 13. But a sack moved the ball back to the 24-yard line and Marler missed a 41-yard field goal.
The Green Wave finally tied the game at 7-all on a 6-yard scramble by Losman, after another Dahman fumble gave Tulane the ball on the Army 16 about midway through the second quarter.
Jeff Sanchez also had an interception for Tulane, but after the Wave drove into position for a score, Losman threw an interception in the end zone, leaving the scored tied at 7 at the half.
Marler hit a 31-yard field goal to put Tulane ahead 10-7 early in the third
quarter. But Army, after missing a field goal of its own, pulled ahead for good
with a 13-play, 70-yard drive, capped by Nevels' scoring run.