Chris Carter

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Keenan Reynolds leads No. 21 Navy to 14th straight win vs. Army

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Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds was making history left and right in a 21-17 victory over Army in Philadelphia on Saturday. Reynolds set a new Division 1 rushing touchdown record, set a new Army-Navy Game record for career touchdowns and became the first player from Navy to ever go 4-0 as a starting quarterback against Army.

Reynolds passed for 113 yards and a touchdown and led Navy on the ground with 136 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns, setting the new Division 1 all-time rushing touchdown record at 85. Reynolds also scored his seventh touchdown in an Army-Navy Game, setting another gold standard for the series. As if that were not enough record setting for one day, Reynolds’ passing touchdown was his 30th career touchdown pass at Navy, which set a school record for career passing touchdowns.

With this being one of the better Navy teams coached by Ken Niumatalolo, this was no blowout. In fact, Navy had to hang on for the win as Army hung around and forced Navy to punt the ball enough times to keep hope alive of ending the losing streak against Navy. Army tried dipping into the trick play book by having DeAndre Bell unload on a deep pass down toward the end zone, but Navy’s Daiquan Thomasson got enough air to snag the football to kill what looked to be a promising drive by Army in the final minutes. It was a play that would have been praised for years to come by Army fans. Instead, it is added to a long and growing list of moments of misfortune for the long-suffering Army fans. Navy’s offense was forced to punt the ball away from their own nine-yard line, giving Army one more chance. Two incomplete passes by Kelvin White fell incomplete though and time expired.

The win for Navy was the 14th straight over Army, continuing to add on to the longest winning streak by either academy in the long historic rivalry series. Army’s last victory over the Midshipmen came in 2001.

Army did show some good fight though, which should come as no real surprise. Despite the success of Navy this season, Army always tends to bring their best performance of the season against their rivals from Annapolis. Army quarterback Chris Carter connected on some big gains with Edgar Poe to keep Army in the game, and at times in front on the scoreboard. The problem was every time Army made something happen, Navy seemed to strike right back with big plays of their own. One time, in particular, Army did it to themselves. In the fourth quarter, a promising looking drive crossed midfield only to see a fumbled snap be recovered by Navy with eight and a half minutes to play. That allowed Navy an opportunity to run some clock with a four-point lead.

Navy still has one more game to play. The Midshipmen will play Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl on a not-so-neutral field on December 28. The Military Bowl is played in Navy’s home stadium, so Navy will feel at home for the game against the Panthers. The two programs last faced each other in 2013, with Navy winning 24-21 in Annapolis. This will be the first postseason meeting between the two.

Army will head into the offseason once again not looking forward to a postseason game. Army’s 2016 season is scheduled to open right back at Lincoln Financial Field though, as Army will open the season on the road against Temple on September 3.

Record-setting first half for Keenan Reynolds, but Army leads Navy at half

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds set a new Division 1 touchdown record in the first half of the Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia, but Navy trails Army at halftime in Lincoln Financial Field, 17-14. Army has not led Navy at halftime since 2009.

Reynolds has rushed for two touchdowns in the game. The first was a 58-yard run on Navy’s second drive of the game, which came shortly after Army took an early 3-0 lead. That was the 84th touchdown of Reynolds’ career. The record-breaking touchdown came two possessions later with a push for a short touchdown run and the Division 1 record for most all-time rushing touchdowns by a player from FBS or FCS. Georgia Southern’s Adrian Peterson (must be the name) held the previous record with 84 rushing touchdowns when the program was still in the FCS. Reynolds won’t be catching the all-time all-division record, most likely at least. Division 3 Mount Union’s Nate Kmic holds that record, with 125 all-time rushing touchdowns.

Reynolds also set a new Army-Navy Game record with his seventh all-time touchdown in the series.

Army has busted some big plays to their advantage though to keep things close. Chris Carter completed a big pass to Edgar Poe for a 31-yard gain to help set up the game’s first field goal of the afternoon. Poe had already put Army in good field position thanks to a 50-yard punt return. Tyler Campbell also scored his first career touchdown on a 29-yard run down the right sideline to give Army a brief 10-7 lead. Carter and Poe hooked up for the go-ahead touchdown with just over two minutes left in the half with a 39-yard play where Poe managed to catch the ball just past two Navy defenders and just reach the endzone for the score before being taken down.