It's been said the Army-Navy rivalry is unlike any such competition found in college football, but Keenan Reynolds found Saturday's game to be especially unique as he romped through the snow, sleet, and rain at Lincoln Financial Field.
"I never played in the snow before," said Navy's quarterback, who is from Antioch, Tenn. "I'm from the South, so we don't get too much snow there. It was fun."
Reynolds made it fun for himself and his teammates with 136 rushing yards and earned a place in the NCAA record books with three touchdowns in leading the Midshipmen (8-4) to their 12th straight victory over the Black Knights, a 34-7 decision in front of 65,612 soaked spectators at the Linc.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound sophomore scored on runs of 47 and 11 yards, and another from 1 yard to finish the regular season with 29 touchdowns, breaking the FBS record of 27 set by former Navy great Ricky Dobbs in 2009 and tied by Kansas State's Collin Klein in 2011. He also caught a two-point conversion pass.
"I came in not too worried about the record," Reynolds said, "because when you start to press and try to make things happen, that's usually when you make mistakes. So I was just trying to let the game come to me, and if it happens, it happens. I was fortunate enough to get into the end zone a few times."
Reynolds' final touchdown, with 46 seconds to play and the game out of Army's reach, appeared to anger a few Army players and prompted some shoving. But Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said he wanted Reynolds to get the TD to break the academy record for most points in a season, 174 set in 1917. Reynolds has 176.
"The thought did come across my mind, to take a knee, because I have great respect for Coach [Rich] Ellerson and everybody on that side," Niumatalolo said. "But then my thoughts went to, I have a kid that's got a chance to break a record."
Two long runs assisted in the Navy scoring. Fullback Noah Copeland raced 39 yards for a touchdown. Another fullback, Quinton Singleton, dashed 58 yards to set up the Midshipmen's first score, the first of two field goals by Nick Sloan.
The Navy defense limited Army, the top rushing team in FBS with a 324-yard average, to 157 rushing yards and 207 total yards. The Black Knights turned the ball over three times and freshman cornerback Brendon Clements was involved in all three - two forced fumbles and an interception.
It marked another disappointing finish to a losing season for Army (3-9), which now waits while Ellerson's fate is decided.
"In a game like that, you have to play without errors, delays, and turnovers," Ellerson said. "If you're going to have a chance against a good Navy team like that, you have to be on the other side of the ledger when it comes to turnovers."
Navy's offensive line impresses in victory. www.inquirer.com/sportsEndText