When the game was on the line, Navy flinched … literally.
The Midshipmen (6-6) moved into Army territory in the game’s final possession, but two false start penalties pushed them beyond reasonable field-goal range. A 48-yard attempt by kicker Bennett Moehring as time expired went wide left and the Black Knights escaped with a 14-13 victory.
After winning 14 straight games in the series, Navy has now lost two consecutive games to Army (9-3). Adding insult injury, Army also won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the first time since 1996.
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo opted for Malcolm Perry at quarterback over Zach Abey, who started the game last year in Baltimore. Perry had a huge game with 250 rushing yards with a touchdown. However, he made Navy’s offense one dimensional because he had 30 of the team’s 46 carries and completed his only pass attempt for two yards.
Once the Black Knights adjusted to Perry, they held Navy to just three points in the second half. Army quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw scored the winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 5:10 left in the fourth quarter.
Army entered the game leading the nation with 368.1 rushing yard per game. Navy kept the Black Knights below their average and allowed 221 total rushing yards. However, the Black Knights set the tone by going 6 of 11 on third down.
Navy must regroup and prepare to play Virginia in the Military Bowl Dec. 28. However, nothing will dampen the disappointment to the loss of Army.
That will take another 12 months to rectify.