Saturday, December 11, 2021

Navy Upsets Army, 17-13

The Army-Navy game is historically a close, hard-fought battle between two rival service academies.  This year's contest was the 122nd time these two schools have faced each other, and was no different.

Navy came into today's contest with a 3-8 record hoping to get a needed win against favored Army.  A win would also prevent the Cadets from winning this year's Commander-in-Chief's trophy.

Army came out of the gate quickly, when QB Christian Anderson put the Cadets on the scoreboard on just the fourth play from scrimmage, with a 56-yard keeper.

The Midshipmen didn't flinch, and sophomore quarterback, Tai Lavatai led Navy on their own scoring drive.  The drive was 11 plays for 83 yards and took 5:38 off the board.  Lavatai called his own number and scored on an 8-yard carry to tie the game, 7-7 with 7:22 left in the first quarter.

On the Navy scoring drive, backup quarterback Xavier Arline pulled a hamstring on a 10-yard carry and would not take another snap in the game.

Army regained the lead on the ensuing drive when Cole Talley connected on a 31-yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter.  Anderson led the Cadets with two big passes on the drive, one to Isaiah Alston for 35 yards and one to Cade Barnard for 12 yards.  Anderson would finish the game with 7 completions for 108 yards.

The Navy and Army defenses tightened up and forced punts on the next four drives. 

Navy drove down the field late in the first half looking to tie the game before halftime.  Bijan Nichols missed a 53-yard field goal giving the ball back to Army with under five minutes remaining in the half.

The Cadets moved the ball with two more big passes from Anderson and a Navy personal foul.  The drive stalled at the Navy 15 and Talley hit a 32-yard field goal to give Army a 13-7 lead going into the half.

Navy took the lead in the game on their first drive of the second half.  

Lavatai connected with freshman Maquel Haywood for 24-yard pitch and catch moving the ball into

Army territory.  Later in the drive Navy faced a fourth and four with the ball on the Army 28.  Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo played aggressively and decided to go for the first down instead of attempting a field goal.

Chance Warren't number was called and made a fantastic play on a reverse call.  Warren scrambled down the sideline to the Army 2-yard line.  Lavatai called his own number and scored the go-ahead touchdown with some help from his offensive line.

Navy extended their lead when Nichols connected on a 43-yard field goal, giving Navy a 17-13 lead.

Army got the ball back with 2:56 remaining in the game with a chance to get the win.  The Cadets had the ball in Navy territory facing a fourth and three play.  Navy captain and senior leader, Diego Fagot along with Jacob Busic stuffed Anderson, sealing the win for Navy.

Tai Lavatai completed four passes for 82 yards and carried the ball 20 times for 62 yards and two touchdowns.

Diego Fagot led the defense with nine tackles and two QB hurries.  Fagot also got a carry on mistaken fake punt when he took the unexpected snap and scrambled four yards for a Navy first down.

The Midshipmen finish the year with a 4-8 record.  Army falls to 8-4 and will face Missouri in the Armed Forces Bowl on December 22.