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Navy Football Grounds Air Force 33-11

The Navy Midshipmen used an impressive defensive performance and four first half Air Force turnovers to start the season 4-0 for the first time since 2004 and get a head start on bringing the Commander-in-Chief's trophy back to Annapolis

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

On a rainy, windy Saturday afternoon in Annapolis, the Navy defense was dominant in the first half, forcing four turnovers on their way to a 21-0 halftime lead.

After winning the toss and deferring until the second half, the Navy defense got off to a fast start forcing a three and out on the opening drive.

Keenan Reynolds got things going for the offense on the first play from scrimmage, dashing for 54 yards into the red zone and setting up four straight rushes by Chris Swain, the last one for a two yard touchdown to put the Midshipmen up 7-0.

Air Force looked like they were going to answer right back, driving the ball all the way down the field, but the Navy defense came up with a huge red zone stand. Amos Mason and Kwazel Bertrand stuffed a fourth and goal attempt from the 1 and Navy took over on downs.

Navy was unable to get anything going on their next drive, and a dropped snap by punter Alex Barta could have spelled disaster for the Mids, but he was able to pick it up and get the punt off without issue.

Air Force got the ball back at the Navy 39, but quarterback Karson Roberts was charged with a fumble on a bad pitch and Kwazel Bertrand recovered the ball for the Navy defense.

The Navy offense was able to convert the turnover into points as Keenan Reynolds found DeBrandon Sanders down the sideline for a 26 yard completion and followed that up with a 27 yard touchdown pass to Thomas Wilson who made a nice adjustment to come down with the ball and put Navy up 14-0.

Air Force took the ball down the field yet again on their next drive, getting inside the Navy red zone once again, but a forced fumble by Will Anthony recovered by Kwazel Bertrand stopped the drive and gave the ball back to the Midshipmen.

A false start penalty on first down limited Navy's next drive, but Karson Roberts would give the ball right back to the Midshipmen as he was picked off by Brendon Clements on an overthrown pass, the third turnover of the first half for the Falcons.

Another false start and an intentional grounding penalty that was oh so close to being from the endzone and a safety forced another Navy punt and Air Force took over on the Navy 35.

On the very next play, Garrett Brown fumbled the ball and D.J. Palmore recovered the ball for Navy. This was the fourth turnover of the first half for the Falcons.

That fumble gave Navy seven fumble recoveries this season after only recovering five all of last year.

Navy wouldn't waste another turnover as Keenan Reynolds took the ball 67 yards on the first play of the drive, setting up a one yard rush for Demond Brown to put the Mids up 21-0.

That score would stand as the teams headed into halftime. It was the first time Navy held an opponent scoreless in the first half since Army in 2013 and the first time Air Force had been held scoreless in the first half since Colorado State the same year.

Navy used a 15 play 75 yard drive to start off the second half that was helped by a timely pass interference call and a decision to decline a holding penalty by Air Force set up a 31 yard completion to Dishan Romine.

Chris Swain would punch it in from one yard out, but a missed PAT by Austin Grebe made the score 27-0. It was the first missed kick of Grebe's career after making his first 60 kicks dating back to last season.

Air Force would finally get on the board after a controversial overturn on another bad pitch that was fumbled. Upon further review, the replay booth determined that the pitch was a forward pass and was ruled an incompletion. This would lead to an Air Force field goal that cut the deficit to 27-3.

After another Navy punt, Air Force then drove down the field and scored on a Karson Roberts rushing touchdown followed by a successful two point conversion to cut the lead to 27-11.

It was the first rushing touchdown of the season given up by the Navy defense.

Navy caught the Air Force defense off guard on the first play of the ensuing drive as Reynolds found Craig Scott for his first career reception. They were able to extend the lead to 30-11 on a 36 yard Grebe field goal, eating up 5:46 off the clock and making it a three possession game.

After an Air Force punt, Navy got the ball back and used another long run by Reynolds, this one for 40 yards, to put the final touches on the score as Austin Grebe tacked on 3 more to make it a final score of 33-11.

Reynolds would end up with 183 yards rushing on the day as well as 117 yards passing and one TD as the Midshipmen started the battle for the Commander-in-Chief's trophy off the right way as they look to bring it back to Annapolis this season.

Navy is now 4-0 for the first time since 2004 and up next a trip to South Bend awaits the Midshipmen as they prepare to take on a very good Notre Dame team next Saturday.