Maybe the people who ran the Heisman Trophy ceremony were too busy with preparations to watch Saturday's Army-Navy game on television and observe yet another great performance from the player they neglected to include among the finalists.
Navy senior Keenan Reynolds put the wraps on an unblemished record in the annual service academy rivalry. He rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns and threw for a score in a record-setting performance that carried the Midshipmen to a 21-17 victory over Army on a springlike day before a crowd of 69,722 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Reynolds' performance, plus the play of a Navy defense that forced three turnovers by the Black Knights, all in the fourth quarter, propelled the 21st-ranked Mids (10-2) to their 14th consecutive victory in the series and increased their advantage to 60-49-7 against Army (2-10).
Reynolds, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association most valuable player, left the Linc with a bevy of records. He is the only quarterback in the series, which dates back to 1890, to compile a 4-0 record. His two rushing touchdowns, of 58 yards and 1 yard, gave him a Division I record 85 for his career. His 50-yard third-quarter touchdown pass to Jamir Tillman, which put Navy ahead to stay, was his 30th career scoring toss, an academy record.
So what if he didn't have enough votes to be invited as a finalist to Saturday night's Heisman presentation? He played Saturday - and all season - like one of the top football players in the country.
"Whether he finishes top five, top six . . . [he's] from the Naval Academy, are you kidding me?" coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "With the workload academically that this guy is taking here and the things he's done, to come from a service academy and be in the mix, what a phenomenal accomplishment. He's handled everything with such class and dignity."
Reynolds said he had no thoughts about proving something to a national television audience.
"Coming in our focus was just playing and let everything kind of handle itself," he said. "But the whole Heisman deal, it is what it is. Good luck to the three [finalists] who are in New York."
There were five lead changes in the game, all coming in the first 39 minutes. The Black Knights actually held a 17-14 lead at halftime - the first time they've had the advantage at the break since 2009 - on a 39-yard pass from freshman quarterback Chris Carter to Edgar Poe.
But Army was unable to score in the second half. It advanced into Navy territory three times in the final 15 minutes, but the result was a missed 29-yard field goal by Daniel Grochowski, a fumbled snap recovered by Navy linebacker Ted Colburn, and an interception by rover Daiquan Thomasson on a trick play by the Black Knights. Free safety Lorentez Barbour also had an interception for the Mids.
"Our guys gave it everything that they had, laid it on the line, and it just came down to execution," Army coach Jeff Monken said. "Navy executed and made some plays when they needed to, and we made critical errors that weren't forced. We can't make those errors. When you do, sometimes you get beat."
Carter, making just his second career start, completed 9 of 15 passes for 208 yards and one TD.
The trick play, from the Navy 39, saw Carter throw a backward pass to wide receiver DeAndre Bell in the left flat. Bell fired a pass to the goal line for Tyler Campbell, but Thomasson backed up and made a great play for the pick with 2 minutes, 3 seconds remaining.
The Black Knights got the ball back one last time at their own 42 with 11 seconds left. On the final play, Kelvin White, a quarterback turned tight end, heaved a pass into the end zone, but the ball fell incomplete among three Army receivers and six Midshipmen defenders.
Had Reynolds been named a Heisman finalist, a helicopter would have taken him from Philadelphia to New York to be part of the presentation. As it was, it couldn't have worked out better for him.
"It was my No. 1 goal to win today, and now I can stay here," Reynolds said. "Instead of rushing to a chopper, I can stay here and celebrate our win with my teammates."