Baltimore (December 13) – The Midshipman of Navy (7-5) took the 115th edition of its storied rivalry against archrival Army, 17-10, for their 13th consecutive win in the series. The Mids now lead Army all time, 59-49-7, and continue the longest win streak in the rivalry started in 1890. The second longest win streak in the series is shared between both at five. The two rivals mirror each other in play calling and in the triple option offense. Had you exchanged uniforms between the two teams, it would have been difficult to tell which team was which. Both squads are coached by former fellow assistant coaches who met each other 25 years ago at the University of Hawaii learning the triple option under former Hawaii and Navy mentor Paul Johnson, who continues to run the same attack at Georgia Tech. With the Navy victory, HC Ken Niumatalolo became the winningest HC in Navy football history with his 56th win in seven seasons (56-35). Navy QB Keenan Reynolds led his team to the win with a touchdown run and a touchdown pass. The game was hard-fought as usual. Guest Game Analyst (GGA) Frank Scarpa contributed heavily to the review of the game below as both teams used similar offensive strategies throughout the game played in front of 70, 935 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Following the kickoff to Army: run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run. Army’s DB Josh Jenkins blocked Navy’s punt and WR Xavier Moss picked it of the surface and ran it over the goal line from seven yards away to give Army a 7-0 lead. The Corps of Cadets exploded and wished the game was over right then and there to end their long drought in the rivalry. Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run. End of first period.
Run, run, run, run, run, run run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run. Navy passed for 34 yards. Run. Pass for 12 yards. Run, run. QB Keenan Reynolds ( 26 carries for 100 yards rushing, 6 of 8 passing for 77 yards and one TD) fired a low strike into the end zones to WR Jamir Tillman who turned to catch the ball at his knees for a nine-yard touchdown reception to tie the score , 7-7, with 18 seconds left in the half. Army’s O had not yet recorded one passing yard at the end of the half.
Navy’s Drum & Bugle Corps performed celebrating its 100th anniversary since its formation. Prior to the kickoff to start the game, Navy Leap Frogs and Army Gold Knights parachuted on to the M&T turf with the traditional game balls. Soon after, flyovers were performed by Army Apache helicopters and Navy YF16s. It was awesome as usual to feel and see the power and dedication of our armed services that protect our freedom. Go Navy! Go Army!
Navy had deferred to receive the opening kickoff in the second half and it paid off as Ryan Williams returned the ball 41 yards to the 50. Run, run, run, run, run, run, run. Navy’s Austin Grebe made good on a 45-yard FG to give Navy a 10-7 lead. Run, run, run, run, run, pass, run, run, run, pass, run, run, run. End of third period.
Run, run, run, run, run. Navy scored on a one-yard keeper by Reynolds who will continue to build on his record breaking career mark for rushing TDs by a quarterback as he finishes up his junior season with one more game to play this season. The play was reviewed and confirmed, but how the side judge who signaled for the touchdown ever saw the ball cross the plane, we’ll never know.
Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, and fumble by Army. Run, run, run, run, run, run, run, and fumble by Navy. Army replaced QB Angel Santiago with A.J. Schurr. Pass, run, pass, sack, pass, pass, pass, run, sack. Army Kicker Dan Grochkowski booted a 52-ayrd FG to cut the Navy lead, 17-10. On sides kick – recovered by Navy. A 19-yard run by Reynolds resulted in a first down with less than a minute to play. The Mids went into victory formation. The Brigade celebrated much to the chagrin of the Corps and the two coaches who started their careers together back in 1989 met at midfield and embraced out of respect, mutual admiration, and friendship knowing that they will likely meet under these circumstances again for years to come. The Corps and Brigade joined en masse for the time-honored tradition of singing their respective alma maters. The Mids sang second for the 13th consecutive year. Army HC Jeff Moncken and his staff will go back to work this week to start planning the termination of that streak on December 12, 2015. Army finished its first season under Monck at 4-8. With Navy’s 7-5 record, Ken Niumatalolo takes his staff and team back to Annapolis to get ready for San Diego State (7-5) at the San Diego County Poinsettia Bowl on December 23 at QUALCOMM Stadium. This is Navy’s last season as an FBS Independent. Next season will be its first in the American Athletic Conference in its Western Division. Should the Mids win that division, it may be possible that they will be playing in a championship for their conference one week before their 116th game against Army. That would be different for the Navy football program which, like Army, sometimes has two or three open Saturdays before playing one another in their biggest game of the season.
For CFF.com, this game was our 480th since we started this in 1979. It was our 10th Army-Navy game. Navy has won the seven of the ten meetings including the last five we attended (’93, ’96, ’12-‘14). With Christmas fast-approaching, we have our first bye weekend planned to get ready for The Holiday. Two days after Christmas, we will be attending the first of our five bowl games to finish up our 2014 season. On December 27, we will head over to Yankee Stadium for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl between Penn State (6-6) and Boston College (7-5). Check back for our updates and more college football action and musings as we wind down through the bowls we attend right up to the first ever college Football Playoff! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your families!