It was a new opportunity but the same result in the 2013 Army-Navy Game on Saturday, as the Midshipmen won their 12th straight over the Black Knights by the score of 34-7 at Lincoln Financial Field.
The U.S. Navy’s official Twitter account captured the win:
Early on in a dizzying flurry of snow, this tradition-rich rivalry game reflected how it’s been played for generations: with lots of running and little scoring.
Also, just like recent seasons, Navy held the advantage early. Army’s second possession entered Midshipmen territory before Black Knight quarterback A.J. Schurr fumbled and Navy took over.
Immediately after, the first fireworks went off. Navy fullback Quinton Singleton burst through the line for a 58-yard run, was tackled inside the 5-yard line and set the Midshipmen up for the game’s first score.
But after stalling at the Army 2-yard line, Navy opted for a 20-yard field goal from Nick Sloan to start the scoring off at 3-0.
A couple of short, stalled drives later, Navy struck once again. Only this time, it reached paydirt when Noah Copeland ripped off a 39-yard touchdown with 8:15 left in the second quarter.
Copeland broke away from multiple tackles at the first level, got into a footrace and utilized the stiff arm to rumble into the end zone. Suddenly, Navy was up 10-0.
Army threatened to put points on the board throughout the first half, but two turnovers early on thwarted its chances. As Bleacher Report’s own Dan Hope said, the passing efficiency just wasn’t there for Army:
Late in the second quarter, Navy took over in Army territory and required just one play—a 47-yard touchdown scamper from quarterback Keenan Reynolds—to grab a commanding 17-0 lead.
Reynolds showcased why he’s one of the most dangerous running QBs in college football. His great vision and breakaway speed left the Black Knights licking their wounds.
As Sporting News’ Eric Galko noted, Army’s comeback seemed impossible after that score:
Whatever Army head coach Rich Ellerson said to his team at halftime must have resonated. The squad accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of putting together a drive on Navy’s defense and getting some points on the board.
On a seven-play, 71-yard drive, Army quarterback Angel Santiago put together a long rush and connected with Xavier Moss on a 29-yard completion, which set up the QB’s four-yard touchdown run just two plays later.
After a considerable momentum swing, Navy needed a grueling, long drive. It got one.
The Midshipmen went 10 plays over more than five minutes, milking the clock and hitting a field goal to go up 20-7 in the closing moments of the third quarter.
Army needed two scores, and with the opposition nullifying its potent rushing attack, points were hard to come by. After a Black Knights turnover on downs early in the fourth, their comeback bid looked to be exhausted.
Navy added two more late scores to make the final score even more lopsided, but the game was over with on that Army turnover on downs early in the fourth.
This game isn’t what it used to be in relation to the college football landscape, which has been amplified by the two programs going in different directions over the past decade. But there’s no doubt that the nation still respects this battle between the two schools.
Some of the world’s best football players took notice. Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt expressed his interest in going to a game in the future:
And what would a notable late-season game be without a marriage proposal?
Sporting News was on hand to catch a picture of Army offensive lineman Colin Joy proposing to his girlfriend before the game:
But that was about the only reason for the Black Knights to smile on a snowy afternoon in Philadelphia.
Every year, the CBS telecast highlights Army players who talk about how recent struggles against their bitter foe don’t matter. And for the 12th straight year, the result was another lopsided loss.
This game will never lose the national spotlight because of the tradition, premise and patriotism of the contest. But as the years go on, it becomes more and more debatable whether this is a “rivalry” when Navy keeps dominating.
Keenan Reynolds, Navy QB: A-
It’s not often anymore that Army or Navy has one of the nation’s best players, but that’s the case with sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds.
With three touchdowns—including two late in the fourth quarter to ice the game—he set a single-season FBS record by rushing for 29 touchdowns as a quarterback, per the Capital Gazette‘s Bill Wagner:
Reynolds finished with 30 carries for 136 yards, including a 47-yard scamper in the second quarter. He was just 2-of-7 with 10 yards through the air.
He even caught a two-point conversion off a trick play to add to his already impressive stat line.
Angel Santiago, Army QB: C+
Santiago’s dual-threat ability fueled Army’s offense throughout the season, but his ineffective game was the driving force behind the Black Knights’ offensive lethargy on Saturday.
The junior from Fontana, Calif. carried the ball 10 times for 40 yards including his team’s only touchdown, but he threw a costly interception in the first half.
His 29-yard pass to Moss was the game’s longest pass play, which says a lot about how this game was played and shouldn’t surprise the Army and Navy faithful.
Noah Copeland, Navy RB: B
As was expected, Reynolds took a lion’s share of the carries. But Noah Copeland made his presence felt as well.
After missing the last four games, the junior fullback provided a spark for the Midshipmen offense when it needed one. His 39-yard touchdown in the second quarter put Navy up 10-0 and helped to build a lead that Army could never threaten.
He finished with five carries for 54 yards, but none was bigger than that early score.