The days of glory and national prominence are gone in College Football are gone for Army and Navy, but when the two programs clash in a weekend reserved for them alone it’s still very special. It’s also still the same result, as the Midshipmen won for the 13th consecutive time, coming away with the 17-10 victory in a battle of rushing the ball.
Navy’s head coach, Ken Niumatalolo, won his 56th game with the program, breaking the record he shared with George Welsh, finishing the season at 7-5, taking Navy to a bowl game for the sixth time in seven seasons. He also tied the record for most wins against Army (7), tying it with George Welsh, and one ahead of the current Georgia Tech coach, Paul Johnson.
As expected, the 70,000 fans in Baltimore didn’t see the ball move in the air a lot. Both teams attempted a combined 15 passes – the fewest in a division 1 game since Army and Temple attempted just 13 in 2012. The previous low this season was in a game between Western Carolina and Wofford, attempting only 18 passes in their FCS clash.
The focus on the running didn’t help the teams do very well. Navy averaged just 3.7 yards per carry, getting 100 yards from quarterback Keenan Reynolds who threw one touchdown pass and rushed for another. Army running backs averaged 4.4 yards per rush but moved the ball just 37 yards through passing and had to wait almost an entire game between scores: A touchdown with 9:36 left in the first quarter and closing the game with a field goal that didn’t mean anything, 1:51 just left on the clock.
The streak of 13 wins for one side is unprecedented in this rivalry, which never had any program win more than five games in a row since it began in 1890. Navy lead the all-time series 59-49-7. Games in recent years have been quite easy for the, winning the previous 12 by a combined score of 400-132, including a whopping 34-7 in 2013. This means yet another set of Army Seniors that get to lose four times to the Midshipmen.
I’m certainly disappointed to play as hard as we did and not see our players win, especially the seniors. Of course it will be our one huge regret from our time here, not beating our archrivals. But when it comes to this program moving forward, we know it’s in very capable hands.
Jeff Monken finished his first season with the Black Knights with a disappointing 4-8 record. Their last winning season was in 2010 (7-6) and their last head coach to finish with an overall winning record was Jim Young, coaching the team from 1983 to 1990, winning a total of 51 games.