Quick Hits: Navy 17, Army 13

By Matt Hinton | Blogger


Navy celebrates a game-winning touchdown run by Keenan Reynolds, on and off the field. (AP)

NAVY WON: Army piled up 370 yards rushing on well over five yards per carry, but also fumbled the ball away three times, the last time with the winning touchdown in sight, to seal its 11th consecutive loss in the rivalry. The gap is closing -- after a string of blowouts for most of the past decade, Saturday's game was the second in a row decided by single digits in the final minutes of the fourth quarter -- but West Point will have to wait at least another year to get over the hump.

HOW NAVY WON: Army entered the game boasting the No. 1 rushing offense in the nation, and looked the part on six separate, sustained drives that crossed midfield into Navy territory. Out of 72 offensive snaps, the Black Knights put the ball in the air on just five of them, needing only four backs (Raymond Maples, Larry Dixon, Malcolm Brown and quarterback Trent Steelman) to crack the 300-yard mark on the ground for the ninth time this season. Effective as the triple-option attack was at moving the ball, though, it wasn't enough to actually put points on the board: Of those six opportunities on the Midshipmen's side of the field, only one resulted in a touchdown, and four of the other five yielded no points at all thanks to a turnover on downs, a missed field goal and a pair of costly fumbles.

On the other hand, while far less consistent when it came to moving the chains, the Midshipmen did capitalize on all three advances into Army territory with two touchdowns and a field goal. The second touchdown, a go-ahead 8-yard run by freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds with 4:41 to play in the fourth quarter, capped an 80-yard drive with the game on the line. The majority of that drive came on a 49-yard heave from Reynolds to Brandon Turner to set up the score -- the longest gain of the game by far, covering twice as many yards as any other play on either side.

WHEN NAVY WON: Trailing 17-13 following Reynolds' touchdown run, Army took over at its own 17-yard line on the ensuing kickoff and proceeded to march 70 yards in 10 plays to the Navy 13-yard line with a little over a minute remaining. On first-and-10, though, with the end of the losing streak within his team's grasp, Steelman lost his grasp on the ball on a routine exchange with Dixon up the middle. Navy fell on the fumble for its third recovery of the afternoon, and Steelman became the first quarterback in the 109-game history of the series to leave either academy with an 0-4 record as a starter.

WHAT NAVY WON: With the win and its 28-21 overtime victory at Air Force on Oct. 6, the Midshipmen have reclaimed the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, which returns to Annapolis after a two-year stay at Air Force. It's the 13th time since the trophy was introduced in 1972 that it's been awarded to the Naval Academy, and the eighth time in the last decade.

WHAT ARMY LOST: The Black Knights, on the other hand, have not brought the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy back to West Point since 1996; in the intervening 16 years, their record against the other two academies now stands at a dismal 4-28. Although they snapped a six-year skid against Air Force on Nov. 3, the 2012 seniors are the eighth consecutive graduating class to go out without a single win over Navy.

 
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