Reynolds leads Navy past Air Force 33-11
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) Keenan Reynolds is determined to bring the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy back to the Naval Academy.
The dynamic quarterback moved his team one step closer to that goal with a dominant performance against Air Force.
Reynolds ran for 117 of his 183 yards in the first half and the Midshipmen took a 33-11 victory over the Falcons on Saturday.
Reynolds completed 4 of 10 passes for 117 yards with a touchdown on a wet, windy day. Chris Swain, a 6-foot-1, 245-pound fullback, had a pair of short-yardage scores for the Midshipmen (4-0).
It was Navy's largest margin of victory in the series since 1978.
''This was a huge win,'' Reynolds said. ''We started preparing for this in the spring and then this was an intense week. It feels awesome to win at home. What really made us successful was not turning the ball over.''
Air Force (2-2) committed a season-high four turnovers, all in Navy territory. Karson Roberts, 5 for 12 for 73 yards with an interception, ran for his team's lone touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Now in its 44th year, the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is presented annually to the winner of the football games among the three major service academies - Army, Navy and Air Force. The Falcons won the trophy last season after beating Navy 30-21 and Army 23-6.
''I'm proud of our guys,'' Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. ''They worked hard for this all year. Last year was one of the most painful losses I have been a part of in athletics. Our guys were resolute the whole year. This is a good football team we beat.''
Reynolds ran for 54 yards on Navy's first play from scrimmage to set up the first score. Swain finished the drive with a 2-yard run. The Midshipmen defense came up big on Air Force's ensuing possession, stuffing fullback Shayne Davern on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
''We just know what it felt like last year,'' linebacker Daniel Gonzales said. ''The whole locker room was energized.''
After Navy's Kwazel Bertrand recovered a fumble by Roberts, the Midshipmen went 64 yards to pull ahead 14-0 with 14:47 left in the second quarter. This time, Reynolds threw a 27-yard pass to Thomas Wilson, who fought off two defenders just inside the end zone.
The Falcons got into the Navy territory again midway through the second quarter, but Brendon Clements intercepted a high pass by Roberts.
Reynolds continued to be the difference-maker and another 67-yard run gave the Midshipmen the ball at the 1 late in the second quarter. Three plays later, Demond Brown scored on a sweep and Navy led 21-0 at the break.
Navy carried that momentum into the second half. On the opening drive, the Midshipmen went 75 yards on 12 plays and boosted the lead to 27-0 on 1-yard run by Swain. From there, though, Navy's offense stalled, which gave Air Force a chance to get back into the game.
The Falcons finally got on the board with a 39-yard field goal by Drew Oehrle with 4:14 left in the third quarter. Air Force pulled to within 27-11 on a 1-yard run and 2-point conversion by Roberts with 13:46 remaining in the game. It was the first rushing touchdown allowed by Navy this season.
Navy rebounded with a pair of field goals by Austin Grebe from 37 and 24 yards to put the game away.
''Quite frankly, no one should feel good about today's game ,'' Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. ''No player should. No coach should.''
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org.