There's not much that can top the spectacle of the Army Navy game. From College Gameday to the march on to the prisoner exchange to the parachuters to the national anthem to the flyover to the singing of the alma maters and everything in between, it's one of the greatest sporting events in the country.
Even when the current streak sits at 13 wins in a row, the game still brings with it more passion and enthusiasm than most games could ever hope to have.
This year's version, the 116th game in the series, took place at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, the 86th time the game has been played in the City of Brotherly Love. Army came into the game a three touchdown underdog, but as usual, you can throw the records and spreads out the window when they take the field in this one.
Army won the toss and deferred to the second half. Navy was able to pick up a quick first down, but the drive stalled at midfield after Dishan Romine slipped after receiving the pitch on 3rd down and 3.
Army's Edgar Poe returned the ensuing punt 50 yards to put the Black Knights inside Navy territory for their first drive of the game.
Freshman Chris Carter took the field at quarterback in his second career start for Army after playing well against Rutgers in his last outing. Army started off rough with a personal foul followed by a fumbled snap by Carter, but they were able to convert on 3rd and 20 on a 31 yard completion from Carter to Poe. They got inside the redzone, but a great play by Daiquan Thomasson on 3rd and 5 forced Army to settle for a 32 yard field goal to go up 3-0.
On Navy's second drive, Keenan Reynolds kept it two straight plays and went 58 yards for the touchdown to put Navy up 7-3. That was Reynolds 84th rushing touchdown of his career, moving him past Montee Ball and Kenneth Dixon into first place all-time in touchdowns scored for FBS players. He also moved into third place all-time in career rushing yards for an FBS quarterback, passing former Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch of Northern Illinois.
Army marched right back down the field and scored on a 7 play, 82 yard touchdown drive that was capped off by a Tyler Campbell 29 yard scamper to put the Black Knights back up 10-7.
On the ensuing Navy drive, Jamir Tillman made a nice grab on a 35 yard completion, but the drive stalled at the Army 38 and Alex Barta pinned the Black Knights inside their 10. Army was unable to get anything going as Navy forced a three and out and got the ball right back at midfield.
Keenan Reynolds used a nice 35 yard run on a broken play to set up his 85th rushing touchdown of his career, moving him into first place all-time for any Division 1 player (FCS included). In what might be the most important record of his career, that TD also gave him 7 rushing touchdowns in Army Navy games, making him first all-time in that category as well.
Army was able to answer that score after a couple unsuccessful drives on both sides, as Carter found Poe for his fourth catch of the game on a 39 yard touchdown strike to reclaim the lead 17-14.
Army got the ball to start the second half, but a Kelvin White chop block penalty set them back and the Navy defense was able to force a three and out. Navy was unable to get anything going on their first possession of the second half either as the Army defense forced a three and out of their own to get the ball right back.
The defenses continued to set the tone in the second half as a third down sack by D.J. Palmore forced another punt and Keenan Reynolds was unable to connect with Jamir Tillman resulting in the fourth straight three and out to start the second half.
An outstanding tackle by Brendon Clements and third down sack by freshman Jarvis Polu, who came into replace an injured Amos Mason, gave the Midshipmen the ball back at midfield and Keenan Reynolds wasted no time in finding a wide open Jamir Tillman for a 50 yard touchdown pass to put Navy back up 21-17.
That touchdown pass moved Reynolds into sole possession of first place in Navy history with 30 touchdown passes in his career.
An inspired Navy defense continued its dominance in the second half, forcing its fourth straight three and out in the third quarter as Will Anthony exploded through the line for a sack on third down.
Army finally got something going on their next drive, moving all the way down to the Navy 12, but Daniel Grochowski missed a 29 yard field goal for the Black Knights to keep the score 21-17 in favor of the Mids.
After Navy was unable to get anything going again, Army put themselves in good position on a 39 yard completion from Carter to DeAndre Bell, but in what seemed like déjà vu in this series lately, Carter mishandled his third snap of the game, this time resulting in a turnover and Navy took back over on their own 34 yard line.
Navy was able to eat up 5 minutes off the clock to give Army another shot with 3:36 to go in the game, but Carter overthrew his intended target on first down and Lorentez Barbour came up with the interception for the Mids.
However, Navy was only able to run 19 seconds off the clock, giving Army one final chance to put an end to their 13 game losing streak. After a 35 yard pass that got them in Navy territory, Army tried to pull out the double pass only to have it intercepted by Daiquan Thomasson for their third turnover in as many drives.
The Navy offense was able to run the clock down to 21 seconds and two desperation heaves from Army brought the game to end.
Army gave Navy all they could handle in this one, but ultimately the adjustments made by the Navy defense in the second half proved to be the difference as they held Army scoreless through the final two quarters to win their 14th consecutive game in the series by a final score of 21-17.
The win by Navy also secured the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the Midshipmen, bringing it back to Annapolis after a one-year hiatus in Colorado Springs.