Navy 2013 Review: Pivot Points

The exquisite tension of athletic competition is found in its dialogal quality. When one team falters, does the opposition see weakness and go in for the kill? When one team flexes its muscles, can the other side mount an effective response? Maximizing periods of prosperity and surviving periods of struggle -- this is what good teams do. "Pivot Points" tries to show this at work during a season.


“Pivot Points” will take you through the tension points and “crossroads moments” that are part of every game. Sometimes, these moments occur in the second quarter; other times, the third; still other times, the fourth quarter. Therefore, these aren’t “kickoff-to-final gun” overviews. They’re accounts of a game’s most significant moments, from the first noteworthy event to the point in time when a game ceased to be competitive. Today, we’ll look at Navy’s first three FBS games from the 2013 season. We’ll continue to use three-game segments over the next few weeks.



-- After an early touchdown for a 7-0 lead, Navy gets a three-and-out from its defense. The Midshipmen manage to stack another score and stop on top of each other, carving out a 14-0 lead.

-- Navy, on fourth and goal at the Indiana 1, commits a false start penalty and must settle for a field goal, taking a 17-0 lead. In a game that was ultimately decided by six points, this error prevented the Midshipmen from being able to win in an easier manner.

-- Given a partial reprieve thanks to the Navy false start, Indiana scores a touchdown on its next possession, cutting its deficit to 17-7.

-- Navy answers with a touchdown on its next drive to build the lead back to 24-7.

-- Indiana answers on its next possession. 24-14, Navy.

-- Navy’s offense scores a touchdown on its first possession of the second half. 31-14.

-- Indiana strikes right back. 31-21. Navy’s offense holds serve, continuing to minimize the amount of game pressure the Midshipmen have to endure. 38-21. Indiana races back downfield for another touchdown to stay in the hunt. 38-28, as the Navy defense fails to land a knockout blow.

-- After a Navy field goal, Indiana scores yet another touchdown to make the score 41-35 with 3:53 left in regulation.

-- Navy converts a fourth and one with just under three minutes left. When the next series of downs begins, Indiana is out of timeouts. Navy is able to run out the clock and win, 41-35.


-- Navy’s defense holds WKU to three first-half points, while Keenan Reynolds suffers an injury midway through the second quarter.

-- Western Kentucky drives 88 yards for a touchdown on its first possession of the second half. WKU converted a fourth and one on the drive. The Hilltoppers faced only two third downs on the drive, neither longer than three yards. 10-7, WKU.

-- Navy backup quarterback John Hendrick throws an interception on Navy’s next possession.

-- Navy’s defense, keeping the team in the game in an inversion of the Indiana contest, makes a fourth-down stop in its own third of the field.

-- Navy’s depleted offense goes three-and-out in its next three possessions. Western Kentucky accumulates a touchdown and a safety to take a commanding 19-7 lead in the absence of Reynolds.


-- Navy’s defense limits Air Force to three total points on two of the Falcons’ first drives of the game, despite the fact that the two drives in question both lasted 13 plays, all while Navy’s offense didn’t keep the ball long enough to rest the Midshipmen’s defense.

-- Late in the second quarter, Navy scores the first touchdown of the game to take a 7-3 lead.

-- On its next possession, Air Force scores a touchdown with roughly two minutes before the half to take a 10-7 lead and gain momentum heading into halftime.

-- Navy’s offense scores a touchdown on its first possession of the second half. The Midshipmen never faced third downs of more than one yard on the drive.

-- Navy’s defense forces a three-and-out on Air Force’s next possession.

-- Later, Navy’s defense makes a fourth-and-two stop at its own 34, early in the fourth quarter.

-- Navy’s offense then puts together a touchdown drive, converting third downs with four, six and eight yards to go. 21-10, Navy.

-- Navy’s defense gets takeaways on each of Air Force’s next two possessions. The Midshipmen take a 28-10 lead and seal the outcome. Top Stories