EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- After a long season, Navy quarterback Craig Candeto felt like he was living a dream.
Candeto turned in one of greatest individual performances in the 103-year history of the Army-Navy game, rushing for a school-record six touchdowns as the Midshipmen romped to a 58-12 victory at Giants Stadium.
A starting outfielder on the Navy baseball team that won the Patriot League title last spring, Candeto almost single-handidly beat the Black Knights. He was responsible for seven of Navy's eight scores as he also tossed a 23-yard TD pass to Tony Lane in the third quarter.
"It was almost like I was unconscious and living a dream," Candeto said of his performance. "Hopefully, I won't wake up."
"We call him the 'Candyman' because he's so sweet running the ball," Navy cornerback Michawn Yuvienco said. "He's sweet on his feet and you saw that today."
Candeto lived up his nickname. He rushed for just 103 yards on 18 carries, but made the most of his opportunities.
"He did a good job getting the ball in the end zone when we got down there," said Navy coach Paul Johnson, who concluded his first year in Annapolis at 2-10.
It was two more wins than the Midshipmen had last year when they endured their first winless campaign since 1948.
Candeto was Navy's primary ballcarrier when it got near the goal line, scoring three times from the 1, once from the 3 and once from the 7. His longest run was a 42-yard TD scamper midway through the second quarter.
"Everybody talks about beating Army," Candeto said. "The games are usually close. But we came out and we were really ready to play. It's just more satisfying that it wasn't that close of a game."
Few could have predicted what transpired Saturday, especially considering that Army (1-11) and Navy have a history of playing close games. Seven of the previous contests were decided in the last minute.
But in this one, Army had no answers for Navy's option, which gave Notre Dame major problems before the Fighting Irish rallied for a 30-23 victory last month. Ranked fifth in the nation in rushing, Navy ran through, over and around the Black Knights, outgaining them on the ground, 421-56.
"I'm hurt, I'm embarrassed," Army quarterback Reggie Nevels said. "It hurts really bad. It's something to think about for a very long time."
Keeping the ball almost entirely on the ground, Navy was brutally efficient, scoring on its first eight possessions. In the first half, the Midshipmen put together scoring drives of 73, 71, 68 and 72 yards to open a 28-6 halftime lead.
Candeto, who was mercifully pulled with just over three minutes left in the third quarter, broke the previous single-game Navy record of four rushing touchdowns, set by Gerry Goodwin against Virginia in 1975 and matched six years later by Eddie Meyers against Syracuse.
Candeto tied the Navy mark for total touchdowns, shared by Lou Benoist and Harold Martin, who established that record more than 80 years ago.
"If someone had told me I'd do that (score six touchdowns), I would have probably told them to show me first," Candeto said. "It's pretty special because of the people who have played in this rivalry."
In one game, Candeto set an Army-Navy record for career touchdowns. It took Army's Doc Blanchard three games to score five from 1944-46.
"I was really impressed with Candy," Army coach Todd Berry said. "The kid played with great passion."
In the second half, the Midshipmen had scoring drives of 64, 27, 43 and 74 yards, and also got a safety when Army was called for intentional grounding in the end zone. The Midshipmen continued to score even when Candeto went to the bench as backup Aaron Polanco directed Navy to its final TD.
"We just ran our basic stuff and executed it well," Johnson said. "Running the option, you can hit some big plays. We didn't do anything different. We just executed better than we have lately."
Held to a pair of field goals in the first half, Army finally got in the end zone on Nevels' 36-yard TD pass to Aaron Alexander with just over 12 minutes left in the contest.