Navy wins first Army Navy game played in nation’s capital region
LANDOVER, Md. — Navy kicker Jon Teague made eight of 13 field goal attempts all season, but on Saturday outside of the nation’s capital he kicked two field goals to clinch Navy’s tenth straight win against rival Army. Teague’s two field goals were separated by about a minute and a half, but it will be about 90 seconds Teague won’t soon forget, as he broke a 21-21 tie to give Navy the lead and then kicked a 44-yard field goal to put the game just out of reach.
For the first time since the 2002 season, Army and Navy knew going in to their annual clash hat neither would be heading to a bowl game. For Navy this has become a rarity after eight consecutive bowl appearances. None of that seemed to matter though as the Army Navy Game once again brought its own bowl-flavor to the venue. For the first time in the series of the storied rivalries’ 112 years, Army and Navy faced each other within the nation’s capital region, in FedEx Field. The game brought with it all of the same pomp and circumstance before kickoff. The march-on of the Army Cadets, followed by the Navy Midshipmen. President Barack Obama watched the game in person, and was accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden. After watching the first half from the Navy sideline Obama and Biden made a ceremonial trip to the Army sideline for the second half.
Are bowl games nice? You bet. But Army Navy is better.
After the usual flyovers of fighter jets and helicopters though it was like just about any other Saturday in college football, with a kickoff, fans chanting, and bands playing. Navy may have had the upper hand in the series in recent years, but Army had plenty of fight in them this season.
Kriss Proctor scored the first points of the game, on a four-yard touchdown run. For Proctor it was a bit of early redemption in the first quarter, after losing a fumble on Navy’s opening possession. Army failed to take advantage and lost a fumble of their own with Jabaree Tuani recovering at the Army 26-yard line. Six plays later Proctor found the end zone.
Fumbles were the story of the game early on. Tuani forced a second Army fumble about midway through the second quarter. The Midshipmen took advantage, using their running game to pick up a second touchdown off a turnover, taking a 14-0 lead with a ten-yard touchdown run by running backAlexander Teich. The scamper also moved Teich in to tenth place on Navy’s all-time rushing list, passing Eric Kettani with 2,099 yards.
After digging an early 14-0 hole it appeared as though it would be more of the same for Army in the annual rivalry game, but the Black Knights stormed back before halftime to force a 14-14 tie. Trent Steelman‘s 34-yard run with three and a half minutes until halftime gave Army a spark as he got the Black Knights on the scoreboard. Malcolm Brown tied the game n the final minute of the half with a five-yard run that was upheld by video review.
Navy made sure to regain the lead early in the second half. After returning the second half’s opening kickoff to midfield, the Midshipmen wasted little time in moving down the shortened field, finishing off the opening drive with a two-yard touchdown run by Proctor.
The lead was short-lived as Army roared right down field on their first possession of the second half, capping their drive with just the second complete pass of the game. Steelman completed a 25-yard pass to Malcolm Brown, who made a nice move to avoid a defender and have nothing but open room for the end zone.
Navy took the lead early in the fourth quarter, with a short field goal by Jon Teague. After Army fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Navy failed to be able to hammer a nail in the coffin, and settled for a 44-yard field goal by Teague, his second longest field goal of the season.
Navy’s ten-game winning streak is the longest in Army Navy history for either team.
Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo is 4-0 against Army. His predecessor, Georgia Tech head coach Paul Johnson, was 5-0 against Army. Niumatalolo joins Johnson and Wayne Hardin as the only Navy coaches to win their first four games against Army.
Navy’s 27-21 win is the smallest margin of victory by Navy since winning 30-28 in 2000.
Navy fullback Alexander Teich finished his collegiate career with 2,146 rushing yards and finished ninth in Navy’s all-time rushing list. He passed Eric Kettani and Adam Ballard for tenth and ninth place, respectively, during the game.
Air Force clinched the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy earlier this season.
Next year’s Army Navy Game will return to Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia will host the game in 2012 and 2013 before the game moves to Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium in 2014 for one year. It will alternate between Philadelphia and Baltimore through the 2017 game.
View photos from the game here.