Army vs. Navy Game score: Midshipmen rally with dominant second half to upset Black Knights

Navy stunned Army 17-13 in their annual showdown on Saturday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Army quarterback Christian Anderson was stopped 1 yard short on fourth-and-4 with 1:27 left to hand the ball back to Navy on the Midshipmen 46-yard line to seal it and give the Midshipmen the honor of singing second following "America's Game". The win is the second in three years for the the Midshipmen over the rival Black Knights.

By virtue of Army's win over Air Force, Air Force's win over Navy and the Midshipmen's upset victory on Saturday, the Commander-in-Chief's trophy will be shared for the first time since 1993. Army will retain physical possession of the hardware. 

Navy was down 10-7 at the half but embarked on a 10-play, 74-yard drive that culminated with a Tai Lavatai touchdown on its first drive of the second half to take the lead. It then marched 49 yards on 15 plays, gobbling up 8:56 in a drive that bridged the third and fourth quarters and culminated with a field goal to make it a four-point game. 

While the game slowed down a bit in the second half, it started out with plenty of fireworks. 

Anderson broke free for a 56-yard touchdown scamper on the third play of the game to give the Black Knights an early lead. Navy answered back, however, with an 11-play, 83-yard drive that culminated with Lavatai's first touchdown run from 8 yards out on third-and-goal. Two Army field goals, including one with 11 seconds left in the first half, gave the Black Knights their six-point halftime lead.

The game, which is typically played with an old-school, triple-option approach from both teams, was more of a shootout than any in recent memory with 22 passes thrown throughout the game. The 36-point over/under total was the lowest in FBS this season, and roughly 75% of the public money was on the over at kickoff. Army entered as a 7-point favorite.

This marks the first time since 1993 that the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, which is given to the top team among the three service academies, is being shared among Army, Navy and Air Force. Navy upset Army on Saturday, but the Black Knights will retain the trophy at their facility since they won it outright last year. 

Let's have a look now at the top takeaways from America's Game?

Owning time of possession when it counted most

Third-down conversions typically tell the tale of Army-Navy, and today was more of the same. Navy converted six of its 15 third-down opportunities, including four in the second half -- two more than Army converted over the final two frames. The ability to move the chains in the second half was the primary reason the Midshipmen held the ball for 21:49, while the Black Knights possessed it for just 8:11. 

These two teams have evolved away from being exclusively triple-option oriented, and have mixed in a few spread principles as the game has changed. But the foundation is still running the ball and controlling the clock, which Navy did in crunch time.

Fake punt for the ages

The 15-play drive that bridged the third and fourth quarters and resulted in the field goal to make it 17-13 was an epic march that was defined by an epic play. Linebacker Diego Fagot, the up-back on the punt team, took the snap and ran 4 yards around left end on fourth-and-1 from the Navy 34-yard line to keep the drive going. It was the signature play of a remarkable game.

Here's the funny thing, though: it shouldn't have even happened. 

Fagot told CBS Sports reporter Jamie Erdahl after the game that he wasn't expecting the snap yet still turned it upfield to move the chains. Coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed Fagot's statement on the CBS broadcast. 

"It was a mistake. Sometimes you get lucky and players make plays, and he made a great play today," Niumatalolo said.

Mistake or not, it'll go down as one of the best plays in the rivalry's history.

Play-calling mistake

Army was down four with the ball near midfield with just over four minutes to play, but Army coach Jeff Monken tried to out-think the entire building in a play call that will haunt the Army program for the next 365 days. Anderson handed off to running back Tyrell Robinson on a jet sweep, and Robinson tried to throw back to either Anderson or Jabari Moore. The ball landed nowhere near either of them, which forced the Black Knights to punt with 3:19 to play. 

Navy went three-and-out in only 23 seconds on the subsequent drive but forced Army to use all three of its timeouts in the process. That put the Black Knights in a tough spot when they got the ball back 2:56 to play since neither of these offenses are built for two-minute drills. 

The fake punt will get all of the publicity, but the failed throwback is what really cost Army the game.

0
0
SAT 3:00 P
NAVY +7, o35.5
NAVY 7, O/U 35.5
Live updates
(56)
See New Posts
Pinned
@CBSSports via Twitter
December 11, 2021, 11:34 PM
Pinned
@CBSSports via Twitter
December 11, 2021, 11:31 PM
Pinned
@ArmyWP_Football via Twitter
December 11, 2021, 11:26 PM
Pinned
@CBSSports via Twitter
December 11, 2021, 11:16 PM
Pinned

Horrible play call

Third-and-8 on the 50-yard line, and Army calls a wide receiver throwback to the quarterback? That is something you do in the first half, not down four in the fourth quarter with 3:19 to play.

Pinned

Fake punt

Navy fakes the punt on fourth-and-1 as Diego Fagot picks up the first down. Great call by Navy to keep the momentum its built up in this second half. 

December 11, 2021, 10:43 PM
Pinned

End of third quarter 

On third down, Army QB Christian Anderson fails to connect with Isaiah Alston. Black Knights forced to punt, and Navy will begin its next possession at its own 31-yard line as we enter the fourth quarter in MetLife Stadium. 

December 11, 2021, 10:36 PM
Pinned

Army, down 14-13, forces Navy to punt with 2:35 remaining in the third and will start with the ball at its own 19. 

December 11, 2021, 10:27 PM
Pinned

Navy already has the momentum following its last touchdown, and now it's starting with its best field position of the game at their own 36-yard line. 

December 11, 2021, 10:21 PM
Pinned

Navy takes the lead!

Army has won four of its last five against Navy, but the Midshipmen are in a great position to break that trend. Tai Lavatai plunged in from two yards out to cap off a 10-play, 74-yard drive to take a 14-13 lead. The big play of the drive was a 26-yard scamper by Chance Warren on fourth-and-4 on the 28-yard line. Warren took off around the right side and turned on the jets down the sideline for a 26-yard gain all the way down to the 2-yard line. Lavatai punched it in from there, and we have a ball game.

Pinned
@ArmyWP_Football via Twitter
December 11, 2021, 10:03 PM
Pinned
@CBSSports via Twitter
December 11, 2021, 9:45 PM
Pinned
screen-shot-2021-12-11-at-4-42-25-pm.png
Pinned
@ArmyWP_Football via Twitter
December 11, 2021, 9:39 PM
Pinned

Navy puts itself out of scoring position

Navy is a touchdown underdog and can't make any unforced errors, and it made one with just under five minutes to go in the first half. Kip Franklin was called for a false start on the Navy 31-yard line, which pushed a fourth-and-3 back to a fourth-and-8. Bijan Nichols missed a 53-yard field goal that would have tied it at 10. The Midshipmen had 30 yards on the drive, but coming up with a goose egg on the scoreboard is brutal.

See More