As the snow fell on Lincoln Financial Field Saturday, the curtains fell on yet another dismal Army football season as Navy rolled, 34-7.
The Midshipmen jumped out to a 17-0 lead at the half and Army never got the margin back to single digits after that. It wasn't a blowout, but it was never close as Navy coasted to the win. Navy's Keenan Reynolds set an FBS record for quarterbacks by rushing for his 29th touchdown of the year with two touchdowns on the day. He topped Colorado State's Kapri Bibbs for the touchdown lead among all FBS rushers (Bibbs has 28), and with both CSU and Navy awaiting bowls, this battle will rage on into late December.
It's hard to think of a worse FBS program than Army over the last 15 years. That's not an exaggeration: Army has averaged fewer than three wins a season since 1998, has made it to all of one bowl in the span and has beaten chief rival Navy once in those 15 seasons (2001, when Navy beat absolutely nobody). Army went 9-41 in seven seasons of conference play before just plain leaving the C-USA, and its fortunes have hardly turned since going independent. There is simply no metric by which Army football can be considered a success.
Certainly the service academies face unusual challenges in fielding full, competitive rosters. In terms of recruiting and retention these teams play by virtually different rules. And yet even in this same modern football environment, Navy and Air Force have been decisively competitive, logging winning seasons in a majority of the last 15 seasons. So this isn't a service academy thing, this is an Army thing.
Box Score Hero: Reynolds put the finishing touches on a dominant career against Army by logging 136 yards and three scores in the victory, and Navy didn't give the ball away under Reynolds' direction all game long. And as mentioned before, he set a quarterback record in FBS for rushing touchdowns in a season. Oh, and let's tack on a two-point conversion reception in the fourth quarter while we're at it, because why not?
Rankings Ramifications: Navy moves to 8-4 but won't make any headway toward the rankings. The Midshipmen will have to fall back on knowing they're the current and future military heroes of America.
But Did They Cover? Navy came into the game favored by 13 points and needed less than a half to cover.
Next Week's Schedule: Navy is now off to the Armed Forces Bowl to face Middle Tennessee State (8-4, 6-2 C-USA), while Army's season is mercifully over.