NAVY GETS BY ARMY FOR 14TH CONSECUTIVE WIN
PHILADELPHIA: Navy did everything it could to lose to Army. Army did everything it could to had the game to the Midshipmen.
Navy (10-2) took advantage of the Black Knights (2-10) second-half mistakes, edging their ancient rival 21-17 before 69,722 fans at Lincoln Financial Field.
Keenan Reynolds produced three big plays that were the difference including a 50-yard touchdown pass to Jamir Tillman late in the third quarter that ended up the game winner for Navy.
Reynolds scored two touchdowns in the game setting an NCAA record with 85 – all rushing – passing Georgia Southern star Adrian Peterson (now with the Minnesota Vikings) and Towson’s Terrance West for the overall Division 1 record (Includes FBS and FCS).
Reynolds seemed to care about one stat, 4-0 against Army.
“That was the No. 1 goal,” said Reynolds, who was 6 of 14 for 113 yards and a touchdown, no interceptions. “To be able to be here four years and never lose against Army, that’s huge. “
With the win, Navy takes back the Commander-In-Chief trophy, a prize Reynolds has won three out his four seasons at Annapolis.
“We get to go back to the White House this year and get our trophy back,” Reynolds said after the game.
If you watched the first half of the 2015 Army-Navy game, it was hard to believe that Army had won just two games this season.
The Black Knights played like they were the nationally ranked team putting up 17 points in the first half taking a three-point lead into halftime.
Navy’s first drive was stopped at the Midshipmen 47 forcing a punt. Army’s Edgar Poe ran the punt back 50 yards to the Navy 40-yard line where the Black Knights drove to the 14-yard line and had to settle for a 32-yard field goal to go up 3-0.
Navy wasted no time taking the lead. On the second play of the next drive standout senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds raced 58 yards for a touchdown.
Army answered right back driving 82 yards on seven plays ending with a 29-yard touchdown run by Tyler Campbell to go up 10-7.
In the second quarter Reynolds struck again taking the Midshipmen 50 yards on seven plays – including a 35-yard scramble by the captain – scoring on a Reynolds one-yard run.
That TD was the 85th trip to the end zone by Reynolds, the all-time leader for rushing TDs in FBS history. He broke a tie between himself, Wisconsin great Monte Ball and current player Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech. Reynolds and Dixon each have one more game after today.
After the teams traded possessions, Army drove 54 yards on just two plays, the second a 39-yard strike to Poe who caught the ball at the ten and muscled his way into the end zone.
Army and Navy could not move the ball on their first possessions of the third quarter.
Army’s second possession of the second half was marked by its offensive line’s breakdowns that led to two consecutive that had negative yards.
Navy took a 21-17 lead after the Tillman touchdown. It would be the last score for both teams.
Army’s third possession of the third quarter ended with a three-and-out again. The blocking and pass protection was not there. Carter was sacked for the second time in the quarter. Carter also fumbled twice, losing a crucial fumble on a drive that showed promise.
There were a number of missed opportunities by the Black Knights.
Daniel Grochowski missed a 29-yard field goal early in the quarter. Carter lost a fumble at the Navy 34 that was recovered by linebacker Ted Colburn. Navy had two interceptions — one off a trick play — on two straight drives to preserve the lead. Army’s Hail Mary on the final play of the game fell short.
“That’s our job at West Point, to build those warriors,” Monken said. “I’m absolutely positive we’ve got a room full of guys in there that are going to find a way to win.”
Navy co-captain Bernard Sarra, a 6-1, 297-pound defensive tackle, said the Midshipmen’s defense was able impose its will on Army by a few simple adjustments at halftime.
“We made some halftime adjustments, but the main thing we did was realize they had more intensity than us,” Sarra said. “So we just got our intensity up. They seemed to let off on the gas a little bit. They were celebrating a little bit at halftime. We just stayed the course, did what we needed to do and came away with the win.”
It looked like the Army offensive was on their heels on many plays after halftime. Sarra he did wasn’t looking at their body language.
“I didn’t see any in theirs, I saw it in ours which made a big difference,” said Sarra , who will enter the Marines after he graduates this Spring. “Defensively we just played a lot better.”
Like his fellow seniors, Sarra said he wanted to end his career undefeated against Army very badly. They accomplished that at the Linc Saturday.
“You never wanted to be the class to do it,”Sarra said. “It was a team effort. Freshmen came in and stepped up big. From the lowest guy up to Keenan we all played out best today and we came awy with the win.