For Army, it felt much like 2012. Then it felt much worse.
Navy beat Army 21-17 for a record 14th consecutive meeting by taking advantage of four Army miscues in the fourth quarter.
In 2012, Army fumbled the exchange on a basic option read at the Navy 14-yard line with a little more than a minute left.
In 2015, it was a fumbled snap. A missed field goal preceded it. Two interceptions -- one on a trick play -- followed.
Navy used those three turnovers and the arm of the Division I career rushing touchdown record holder for the comeback win.
Midshipmen quarterback Keenan Reynolds, whose 85 rushing touchdowns are the most in Division I history, was struggling in the run game. A regrouped Army defense was stunting Navy’s option offense, and Reynolds was cramping on the sideline.
Navy, trailing in the third quarter, called upon the arm of Reynolds to spark an offense that gained only 16 yards on its previous four drives.
On the first play of the drive, with six minutes in the third quarter, Reynolds dropped back and found Jamir Tillman streaking across the middle of the field. Tilman caught the pass in stride and ran 30 yards before diving for the pylon to score the go-ahead, game-winning touchdown.
What the win means for Navy: Yet another Navy class will graduate with an undefeated record against rival Army. The Midshipmen won their 14th consecutive game against Army and extended the longest win streak in the history of the rivalry. Army led the series before the streak started; Navy now leads 60-49-7. For only the second time in school history and first time since 1905, the Midshipmen have won 10 regular-season games. A bowl win against Pittsburgh will give Navy its first 11-win season.
What the loss means for Army: The aspect of the losing streak that Army will struggle with most is that it has had several opportunities for wins over the past several years. A single score has decided four of the past five games. The four-point loss was a heartbreaking but fitting end to Army’s season, as the Black Knights lost eight games this season by a touchdown or less. The good news is Jeff Monken has the program moving in the right direction and Navy’s Reynolds is out of eligibility after 2015. Reynolds is the only Navy quarterback to go 4-0 as a starter against Army.
Stat of the game: Oregon’s equipment team was jealous watching this game. Army and Navy didn’t just design new helmets for the game; each institution created a different helmet for each position group. Navy had seven different designs of helmets with hand-painted naval ships. Army brought to Philadelphia 17 variations of its helmet, representing the branches cadets can enter upon West Point graduation. Part of an Army marching cadence was also written down the center of the helmet. In all, the game featured 24 different helmets.
How the game was won: The fourth quarter began with Army driving in Navy territory trailing 21-17. On fourth-and-3 from the Navy 12-yard line, Army opted for a field goal. Daniel Grochowski missed it. Army’s next possession ended with a fumbled snap at the Navy 33. After that, Army’s drive started (and ended) with an interception. With only a few minutes left, Army found itself in Navy territory yet again. Monken dialed up a trick play -- a receiver pass. DeAndre Bell launched a jump ball toward the goal line, but Navy’s Daiquan Thomasson recovered quickly enough to intercept the pass.