Army vs. Navy Game score: Black Knights stop Midshipmen at goal line in last-second thrilling finish

Army beat Navy 17-11 at Gillette Stadium to claim the 10th Commander-In-Chief's Trophy in academy history. It's the first time Army has won the trophy outright since 2020 (it retained the hardware in 2021).

Navy made a late charge in the final seconds of regulation, marching 72 yards down the field in 10 plays while down 8 points. Midshipmen quarterback Tai Lavatai was stuffed at the Black Knights' 1-yard line with 3 seconds on the clock, however, as Army secured the win. 

While the game came down to a goal line stand, the definitive moment took place earlier in the fourth quarter. Facing a third-and-9, Navy's Tai Lavatai dropped back to pass but was met in the backfield by Army linebacker Kalib Fortner, who stripped the ball from Lavatai's hand, picked it up after a bounce on the field and took off for a 44-yard touchdown that gave Army a 17-3 lead and seemed to put the game out of reach.

But this wouldn't be the Army-Navy Game without late drama, now would it?

Army went conservative on defense, and Navy was happy to take advantage, answering with a quick touchdown drive to make it a one-score game. Army compounded matters by going conservative on offense, too. After a couple false starts and three runs to put themselves in fourth-and-3 in Navy territory, the Black Knights opted to punt instead of go for it on fourth down. It was the wrong decision as Army's punt went only 10 yards, and Navy immediately drove 72 yards in the next 90 seconds before Lavatai was stuffed at the goal line in the final seconds.

The Black Knights were led by quarterback Bryson Daily, who finished with 54 yards and a touchdown through the air and 84 yards rushing. When it wasn't Daily toting the rock for Army, running back Kanye Udoh was picking up yardage in chunks, finishing with 88 yards on 13 carries. While Army got the win, it wasn't the most impressive performance from the offense, which reflects the season as a whole.

Army moved to a shotgun offense at the start of the campaign in an attempt to modernize and make the unit more dynamic, but it finished the season with some of the worst numbers of the Jeff Monken era when it comes to stats like success rate and points per possession. It also lost yardage on plays far more often than it has in the past. Of course, given the long history of an option offense at Army, it'd be ridiculous not to expect there to be an adjustment period. While the overall numbers weren't there this season or Saturday, the flashes of what this offense can be moving forward made themselves apparent often enough to believe in the long-term direction.

For Navy, the offense struggled most of the afternoon. Xavier Arline started at quarterback, but the Midshipmen never got anything going with him at the helm. Lavatai took over for good late in the first half, and while he was able to provide a spark, it just wasn't enough to overcome the 10-point deficit Navy faced when he entered the game. Lavatai finished with 74 yards rushing and 179 yards through the air with a touchdown, and he did most of his damage in the game's final minutes. It was an impressive performance by Lavatai as he shrugged off his early struggles and nearly rallied his team to a stunning victory.

The win is Army's second straight over Navy and sixth win in the last eight meetings. Navy still leads the all-time series 62-55-7.

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Army hangs on! 

This is how close the Midshipmen came from nearly tying the game in the waning moments. Army pulled off one of the best defensive stops of the season to secure the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy outright for the first time since the 2020 season. 

December 9, 2023, 11:37 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 6:37 pm EST
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Navy has a chance!

Army opts to punt on fourth-and-3, and it was a mistake. It's a 10-yard punt. Navy has no timeouts, but it has 99 seconds and the ball at the 27.

December 9, 2023, 11:24 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 6:24 pm EST
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Army recovers the onside kick

The Knights are a first down away from winning. Navy needs to get a stop to get the ball back. As is so often the case in this game, it all comes down to the final minutes.

December 9, 2023, 11:16 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 6:16 pm EST
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We aren't done yet

That's a quick, 7-play, 59-yard touchdown drive from Navy to get back in this game. The Midshipmen go for two but fail to convert, but it's 17-9 so it's still a one-score game with 2:47 to play. Navy has two timeouts remaining, so they don't have to onside kick if they don't want to. They probably should, though.

December 9, 2023, 11:15 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 6:15 pm EST
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Scoop and score for Army

The Mids cross midfield thanks to a nice gain on a pass, then get themselves to a third-and-3 before a false start puts them in third-and-8. That forces Tai Lavatai to drop back to pass on third down. Kalib Fortner strips the ball from Lavatai's hand, picks up the loose ball and takes off 44 yards to the end zone. It's 17-3 Army with 4:49 left to play, and I don't know how Navy's going to erase a 14-point deficit in five minutes.

December 9, 2023, 11:07 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 6:07 pm EST
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Nobody wants to get a first down anymore

It's another three-and-out! Army runs three straight times but comes up three yards short of a first down and opts to punt on fourth down. It's the right decision. Based on what we've seen from Navy so far, there's no reason for Army to go on fourth and risk leaving Navy with a short field.

Instead Navy finds itself 70 yards away from the end zone with 7:09 left to play in Foxborough.

December 9, 2023, 11:00 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 6:00 pm EST
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Jackson Powell brings the wood

Tai Lavatai doesn't see Powell blitzing off the right edge on second down and pays the price for it. Powell swallows Lavatai whole for a four-yard loss that puts Navy in third-and-long and sets up another three-and-out for the Midshipmen.

All that momentum has gone out the window, because Riley Riethman's punt only goes 36 yards, leaving Army with the ball at the 47 yard line.

December 9, 2023, 10:54 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 5:54 pm EST
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Navy forces a three-and-out

Whether you want to call it momentum or confidence (I'm a confidence person, myself), Navy has all of it right now. After their long field goal drive the Navy defense comes out and forces a three-and-out from the Knights with Bryson Daily being stuffed on a third down run.

Navy gets the ball back at its 20 with 10:54 left to go and a chance to tie the game.

December 9, 2023, 10:48 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 5:48 pm EST
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Navy is on the board

The good news is Navy has finally scored. Nathan Kirkwood drills a 37-yard FG to cap off a 12-play, 70-yard drive to make it a 10-3 game. The bad news is it could've been so much more.

Stop me if you've heard this one: Navy was facing a second-and-4 and on the march when a false start backed them up 5 yards to put them in second-and-9. As has been the case for both teams today, that one little mistake derailed the drive.

Still, outside of the penalty, that was Navy's most impressive possession of the game by miles. Tai Lavatai and the passing game got going, which in turn opened things up for the run game. Now, for the first time all day, I feel like Navy has a chance in this game.

December 9, 2023, 10:43 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 5:43 pm EST
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END 3: Army 10, Navy 0

Army leads Navy 10-0 after three quarters, but Navy has begun to pick things up on offense as we head to the fourth quarter. After possibly catching a break on a punt, Tai Lavatai and the Midshipmen finally found their sea legs. A big run and a few pass completions have them in Army territory to start the fourth quarter.

That has not been the case for most of the game. Navy's offense has really struggled to move the ball. It went three-and-out on four of their first six possessions, and didn't complete a pass until this latest possession.

Army has been the best team in the game by far, but their inability to score points has kept Navy in the game. Army has 239 yards of offense, and has gone 6-for-13 on third and fourth downs, but it hasn't been able to string those conversions together long enough to sustain drives. As a result, this remains anybody's game as we get to the final 15 minutes.

December 9, 2023, 10:33 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 5:33 pm EST
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December 9, 2023, 10:29 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 5:29 pm EST
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Nearly had a big play

Bryson Daily drops back on third-and-6 and goes deep down the sideline to Casey Reynolds. Reynolds gets both hands on the ball, but Mbiti Williams Jr. is able to knock it loose for an incomplete pass. Daily had Reynolds open, and a better throw likely results in a catch and at least a first-and-goal. Still, a great play by Williams to keep Navy in this game. The Mids get the ball at the Navy 11 following an Army punt.

December 9, 2023, 10:21 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 5:21 pm EST
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December 9, 2023, 10:18 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 5:18 pm EST
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Same story for the Mids

Navy has had six offensive possessions today. Following the latest, it's gone three-and-out on four of them. Only one of their possessions has included more than five plays, and that was the 10-play, 46-yard drive that ended with a turnover on downs late in the first half.

They just can't get anything going in the passing game. Nobody expects Navy to come out flinging the ball all over the field, but Army is doing a great job of stopping the run on first and second down to put the Mids in third-and-long, and they're helpless. They're 1 of 6 converting on third down and are averaging only 1 yard per play.

December 9, 2023, 10:09 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 5:09 pm EST
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Navy gets the stop it needs

Army is able to work its way out of the shadow of its own goalposts but fail to reach midfield before having to punt. It's a seven-play, 34-yard drive that was derailed by a false start. The penalty put Army in second-and-12, which became third-and-6 after a nice run by Bryson Daily, but Daily's third down pass is incomplete. Daily is now up to 69 yards rushing on 18 carries, while Kanye Udoh has 49 yards on seven carries. Navy has only 81 yards as a team. The Mids will start their first possession of the second half at the Navy 33.

December 9, 2023, 10:02 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 5:02 pm EST
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The second half has begun

This is a huge possession in the game. Army has a 10-0 lead and gets the ball to start the third quarter. If they can get a touchdown on this possession it'd put Navy in a very tough spot having to come back from down three scores.

December 9, 2023, 9:54 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 4:54 pm EST
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CBS highlights Army-Navy stories

Ahead of Saturday's Army-Navy game, CBS Sports released a video package highlighting some of the unique stories and backgrounds of players involved in the action. Several athletes, including Army quarterback Bryson Daily and Navy quarterback Tai Lavatai, coaches and their families discuss their own personal reasons behind enrolling in and playing at a service academy. 

December 9, 2023, 9:40 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 4:40 pm EST
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Army leads at the half

End half: Army 10, Navy 0 

As is tradition in the Army-Navy Game, neither offense was able to get much going over the first 30 minutes of play. Army holds a lead thanks to a 12-play, 65-yard drive that culminated early in the second quarter with a passing touchdown, of all things. The Black Knights were aided by a couple crucial Navy mistakes to set up the score. Army gained possession thanks to an interception thrown by Navy quarterback Xavier Arline. Then, on second-and-goal from Navy's 4-yard line, the Midshipmen left Army tight end Tyson Riley completely uncovered for a short touchdown. Army then got into field goal range at the end of the half after stopping the Midshipmen on fourth down from Army's 37-yard line. 

Navy's ailing offense did get a bit of a spark with the insertion of quarterback Tai Lavatai near the end of the first half. He carried the ball seven times for 35 yards, and was leading Navy on a promising drive that stalled on fourth-and-short near midfield. It will be interesting to see which direction the Midshipmen go when they get the ball in the second half. 

December 9, 2023, 9:33 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 4:33 pm EST
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Now neither offense can gain traction

The lone touchdown drive in this game took 12 plays and 65 yards. The other seven possessions in the game have included 29 plays for 83 yards. It's certainly a game between option offenses, and if you didn't already know, you probably have a better understanding of why the total was only 28 points.

December 9, 2023, 9:16 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 4:16 pm EST
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Nothing doing for the Mids on offense

It's another three-and-out that starts with a nice 3-yard gain by Alex Teczka but is followed by Xavier Arline being tackled for a 3-yard loss and a pass to nowhere on third down. Then, to rub it in, a delay of game backs Navy up another 5 yards. It has been a sloppy performance from the Midshipmen to say the least. Army gets the ball at midfield following the punt with 6:56 remaining in the first half.

December 9, 2023, 9:09 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 4:09 pm EST
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Navy gets a stop on defense

Army is able to pick up a first down following a Navy punt, but not much after that. Bryson Dailey goes deep down the left sideline on third-and-long, but his pass to Casey Reynolds is broken up by Mbiti Williams Jr. Army's forced to punt and Navy gets the ball at the Navy 16 with 8:41 left in the first half.

December 9, 2023, 9:04 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 4:04 pm EST
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Navy's offense continues to struggle

It's another punt for the Mids, who have managed only 35 yards on 11 plays. Navy has done a decent job of moving the ball, but is hurting itself with mistakes. The last drive ended with the interception, but this one was derailed by a false start on third-and-1. That pushed them back 5 yards and led to a punt after a short gain on third down.

December 9, 2023, 9:00 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 4:00 pm EST
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Army strikes first

Bryson Daily hits Tyson Riley for a 4-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring. Nobody was more surprised by the pass than Navy, who left Riley completely uncovered on the play. Based on the reaction of everybody involved, there's a good chance it wasn't even supposed to be a pass. Daily just noticed Riley was uncovered along the sideline and improvised. Whatever the case, it caps off a 12-play, 65-yard drive and Army has a 7-0 lead.

December 9, 2023, 8:47 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 3:47 pm EST
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END 1: Army 0, Navy 0

We are scoreless through the first quarter of the Army-Navy Game at Gillette Stadium, though the Black Knights will have a first-and-goal to start the second quarter. The game's been dominated by Army for the most part so far. The Knights have 87 yards of offense to Navy's 25, and have done more to stop themselves.

Army turned the ball over on downs on their first possession after overthrowing an open receiver. It got the ball back quickly following an interception, and have put together a 10-play, 61-yard drive since -- a drive that's included another fourth-down attempt that was converted.

December 9, 2023, 8:42 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 3:42 pm EST
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Xavier Arline dropped with plenty of time and then sailed a pass down the seam, but he overthrew Cody Howard as Max Didomenico came sailing in from the free safety spot to snatch the ball out of the air. Didomenico then picks up 30 yards on the return and it'll be Army ball at the 35.

For those keeping score at home, we've had 15 total plays in the game and four pass attempts already. There have probably been entire games between these two that didn't finish with four pass attempts.

December 9, 2023, 8:29 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 3:29 pm EST
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Army turns it over on downs

The play was there, but Bryson Dailey went long on his throw to Noah Short on fourth-and-2, which gives the Midshipmen excellent field position at the Army 47. It was a promising drive for the Knights as they picked up a first down and were finding some room to maneuver on the ground. They just couldn't execute on the fourth down.

December 9, 2023, 8:22 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 3:22 pm EST
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December 9, 2023, 8:17 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 3:17 pm EST
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A quick three-and-out for Navy

The Mids go with some trickery on second down, pulling out a halfback pass, but it was overthrown by about 10 yards. Their other two plays go nowhere and the Mids punt. Army starts its first possession at the Army 26.

December 9, 2023, 8:16 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 3:16 pm EST
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We're underway!

Navy will begin with the ball at the 25 following a touchback. Xavier Arline to start at QB. The Army-Navy Game is underway!

December 9, 2023, 8:13 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 3:13 pm EST
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Kickoff approaches

The pre-game ceremonies are wrapping up. We'll have kickoff shortly.

December 9, 2023, 8:11 PM
Dec. 09, 2023, 3:11 pm EST
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