The Navy Midshipmen dominated the Army Black Knights 34-7 in America's game. The 114th meeting was played in a steady snowstorm. Navy's talented sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds ran for 136 yards and scored three touchdowns as he set the NCAA single season touchdown rushing mark for a quarterback with 29 scores. The Mids defense shutdown the second ranked rushing attack in the nation holding the Black Knights to just one touchdown. The victory by Navy gave the Mids the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the second consecutive year and for the ninth time in the last 11 seasons. Navy extends it record winning streak in the series over Army to 12 games. Navy's final regular season record is 8-4.
PASSING OFFENSE: D
Keenan Reynolds completed just 2-of-7 passes for 10 yards. It showed what a difficult day it was to throw the ball. Reynolds had entered the game throwing at least one touchdown pass in each of the last six games. Reynolds was lucky his incompletion on the final play of the opening series wasn't on target. Army's cornerback Josh Jenkins had jumped the route and was in perfect position to pick off the pass. Reynolds opened the game with a 6-yard completion to DeBrandon Sanders. He had Sanders open on the next series but the wind held up the ball and allowed Army safety Shaquille Tolbert to break up the pass. Reynolds had to throw it off his back foot as he was pressured by Mike Ugenyi. Reynolds completed a four yard pass to Shawn Lynch. The biggest pass play was the next play when he was hit by Bobby Kough's helmet drawing a roughing penalty. It gave the Mids a first down and they scored their first touchdown on the next play. Reynolds didn't complete another pass in the game as the conditions, the score and some solid coverage by Army's cornerbacks limited his chances. Reynolds also drew a roughing the passer penalty which set up a field goal.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B+
Navy rushing for 343 rushing yards, 6 yards per carry and four touchdowns. Three big rushing plays which combined for 144 rushing yards and produced 17 points were the key. The Mids produced 42% of their rushing yards on those three plays. Fullback Quinton Singleton (4 att. for 61 yards) had a 58-yard run to set up the up a Nick Sloan field goal to open the scoring. Fellow B-back Noah Copeland (5 att.,54 yards, TD) scored the first touchdown on a 39-yard run. Keenan Reynolds (30 att., 144 yards, 3 TDs) had a one play 47-yard cutback touchdown run that essentially sealed the win at 17-0 late in the first half. It was obvious it was going to be a Navy day after Reynolds run.
B-back Chris Swain had nine runs for 25 yards. The slotbacks had a difficult time finding much running room outside. Geoffrey Whiteside (2 att., 21 yards.) ripped off the only long run of the day, 21 yards, on the drive that made it 28-7. Army stopped Singleton on fourth-and-3 on the opening drive of the third quarter and scored. The Mids answered with an eleven play 51-yard drive which ended in a Sloan field goal. Right tackle Joey Gaston had some trouble handling Army's best defensive lineman Bobby Kough. Navy's ability to make big plays with their more talented and explosive players was the difference. The Mids did a great not losing any fumbles in such miserable weather.
PASSING DEFENSE: B+
Army quarterbacks completed just 5-of-11 passes for 50 passing yards with an interception. Cornerback Brandon Clements (4 tackles, 2 FF, INT) had a great all-around game. He picked off a pass Santiago floated into coverage over the middle of the field. Kwazel Bertrand (3 tackles) was beat by Xavier Moss for a 29-yard catch on an under thrown pass that set up Army's only touchdown. All the other passes completed were short screen passes. Army receivers helped out Navy when they looked like all they could catch was a cold as they dropped three consecutive passes just before the end of the first half. Navy was able to generate some pressure when Army attempted to pass.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A+
The Mids held the second ranked rushing team in the nation to a season low 157 rushing yards. Army averaged 3.5 yards per carry and had just one touchdown. Navy and Army understand what each other try to do in the option game. Army has run the ball well against the Mids the last few years but Navy shut them down this game. Navy's speed and athleticism covering the alley helped limit Army's run game. Navy knew Terry Baggett was Army's only big play threat and did a nice job containing him.
Cody Peterson had eleven tackles and did a great job limiting Larry Dixon at fullback. Chris Johnson (7 tackles, FR) was all over the field making plays. He combined with Brandon Clements to stop Terry Baggett on fourth-and-3 to end a promising drive at the start of the second quarter. Chris also recovered AJ Schurr's fumble which set up the Mids field goal to open the scoring. DJ Sargenti made six tackles. Nose Guard Bernie Sarra returned to the rotation and made three tackles while playing Army's standout center Ryan Powis to a standstill. Will Anthony had a key tackle along with Cody Peterson to stop Dixon short of a first down turning the ball over on downs. Will later recovered a fumble. Navy's front outplayed Army's offensive line which doesn't happen too often. Navy was usually able to beat Army's blocks on the perimeter. It was a tremendous effort.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Kicker Nick Sloan hit both his field goal attempts from 20 and 34 yards but missed an extra point in the horrible conditions. Punter Pablo Beltran had to punt six times for a 41.2 average with two touchbacks and one inside the twenty yard line. His 51-yard punt before the end of the half out of his end zone eliminated any change of Army scoring before the half. Beltran gave Navy a huge edge in field position even though he had one rare 29 yard shank. Shawn Lynch had a punt return for five yards. Demond Brown returned a kickoff 16 yards. Navy's coverage teams did a good job covering kicks as Austin Grebe's kickoffs were short in the snow. Toneo Gulley nailed Army's kick returner Jordan Crockett on the final kickoff return.
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo matched Paul Johnson's school record by beginning his coaching career at Navy with a 6-0 record against Army. Johnson won six consecutive games against West Point from 2002-07. It was a tremendous effort by the Mids. Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper kept pounding the Black Knights then broke it open in the fourth quarter as the were able to get Keenan Reynolds the NCAA rushing record and the Navy points record. Buddy Green's defense had its best game in weeks and totally bottled up one of the best rushing attacks in the country.
OVERALL GRADE: A
This was a tremendous team performance as Navy outclassed the Army with their superior speed and big play ability. The defense played a terrific game. Army had their chance to beat Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds as a plebe in 2012. They'll regret missing that opportunity over the next two years.
Navy Report Card: Army
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