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.
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.