ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Noah Copeland ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns, leading Navy to a 21-10 victory over Texas State on Saturday.
Copeland scored on runs of 15 and 16 yards as the Midshipmen (7-4) won for the sixth time in seven games.
Shaun Rutherford threw a touchdown pass to Isaiah Battle for the Bobcats (3-7), who dropped their fourth consecutive game.
A week after yielding 487 offensive yards in a 41-31 loss at Troy, the Mids' defense surrendered 405 yards but did not allow a touchdown until the fourth quarter.
It was Navy's final game before its Dec. 8 battle against Army in Philadelphia, where the winner will claim the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for football supremacy among U.S. service academies.
Gee Gee Greene also ran for a TD for Navy, which amassed 407 yards on the ground.
Rutherford completed 25 of 40 passes for 290 yards, but was victimized by a handful of drops.
The game's opening drive ended when Navy's Bo Snelson mishandled quarterback Keenan Reynolds' pitch left, ending an all-ground assault that saw six different Midshipmen rush the ball. After a three-and-out by Texas State, Navy stayed with the run, Copeland's 15-yard touchdown jaunt ending a six-play, 73-yard march for a 7-0 lead.
Midway through the second quarter, Navy turned the ball over on downs at the Bobcats' 45-yard line. Texas State advanced to the Mids' 3, and lined up for a 21-yard field goal on fourth-and-1. But Rutherford, the holder, was sacked for a 10-yard loss by Kwazel Bertrand on the fake field goal.
Texas State's Jafus Gaines fumbled the second-half kickoff after an 18-yard return when he was hit by John O'Boyle. The Mids' James Britton recovered and on the next play, Copeland rumbled in from 16 yards out for his second TD of the day.
With 2:35 remaining in the third quarter, Will Johnson's 36-yard field goal finally got the Bobcats on the scoreboard.
Navy responded with a 75-yard drive capped by Greene's 10-yard left-side dash early in the fourth quarter. On the first play following the ensuing kickoff, Rutherford threw a 62-yard TD pass to Battle, cutting the lead to 21-10.
Johnson recovered his own onside kick, but Texas State's attempt to get within four points was marred by penalties for a false start, face masking and encroachment and stalled on a fourth-down pass completion that came up short.
Navy missed an opportunity to add to its lead with 3:22 left when Nick Sloan was wide left on a 36-yard field goal attempt, his second miss of the game.