Say It's So Joe! FG Lifts Mids over Falcons

Navy's Joe Buckley kicked a 38-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Mids over Air Force 16-13 on Saturday in front of 37,820 fans in Annapolis. It was Navy's seventh victory in a row over their rivals and it puts them in the driver's seat to win their seventh consecutive Commander-In-Chief's Trophy.

Buckley's kick came on Navy's first possession in overtime. On Air Force's subsequent possession in the extra frame, Erik Soderberg's field goal attempt from 31 yards was wide left. His miss set off a massive celebration in Annapolis - something that has become very familiar for Navy in Commander-In-Chief's Trophy play. The Mids (3-2) have now won 14 consecutive games over Air Force and Army. If Navy beats Army in December, the Trophy will remain in Annapolis for another year.

Saturday's game started off well for the Midshipmen as their defense was able to force its first three-and-out series of the season. After a short punt and 17-yard return by Mario Washington, Navy only needed seven plays to go 35 yards with Ricky Dobbs scoring on a 13-yard run to put the Mids ahead 7-0. It would be the only time either team found the end zone the entire game as both defenses dominated the rest of the way.

Ironically, the next score would come on a defensive play. With just over five minutes to play in the first half, Navy faced a 2nd and nine from its Air Force's 37-yard line when Anthony Wright stepped in front of a Dobbs pass and ran it back 67 yards for a touchdown. It was Dobbs only errant pass on the day but it was a costly one.

On Navy's final drive of the first half, it appeared as they were going to have to punt after failing to convert a third and long, however Air Force's Chris Thomas commited a personal foul which kept the drive alive. The Mids would capitalize as Buckley connected from 47 yards - a career long - to put Navy up 10-7 at the intermission.

The second half was a lot like the first with both defenses dominating. However on Air Force's second possession of the third quarter, which featured a key fourth down conversion, the Falcons managed to tie the score at 10 on a 27-yard Soderberg field goal.

Navy answered the Falcons (3-2) on their next drive, which also featured a fourth down conversion, as they went 52 yards in 14 plays with Buckley connecting on 37-yard field goal.

After both teams traded turnovers, then punts, Air Force got the ball back with 3:32 left to play and down by three. The Falcons were able to convert a fourth and ten on the drive courtesy of a 11-yard pass from Tim Jefferson to Kevin Fogler. On the next play, it appeared Navy had sealed the game as Wyatt Middleton intercepted Jefferson; however the Mids were called for roughing the passer and the Falcons got the ball at Navy's 29-yard line. Four downs later, Soderberg sent the game into overtime, the first time ever for a Commander-In-Chief's Trophy game, with a 39-yard field goal.

For the game, Dobbs led all rushers with 92 yards on 23 carries. Air Force's John Falgout led all defenders with 13 tackles.


(GM/Alison Althouse)

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