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Navy wins Armed Forces Bowl 24-6 over MTSU

Dec. 30, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  

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Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds runs through a tackle in the first half of the Midshipmen's Armed Forces Bowl victory. (Matt Strasen/AP)

Navy bowl history

Dec. 30, 2013 Armed Forces Bowl: Navy 24, Middle Tennessee 6
Dec. 29, 2012 Fight Hunger Bowl: Arizona St. 62, Navy 28
Dec. 23, 2010 Poinsettia Bowl: San Diego St. 35, Navy 14
Dec. 31, 2009 Texas Bowl: Navy 35, Missouri 13
Dec. 20, 2008 EagleBank Bowl: Wake Forest 29, Navy 19
Dec. 20, 2007 Pointsettia Bowl: Utah 35, Navy 32
Dec. 30, 2006 Meineke Bowl: Boston College 25, Navy 24
Dec. 22, 2005 Poinsettia Bowl: Navy 51, Colorado St. 30
Dec. 30, 2004 Emerald Bowl: Navy 34, New Mexico 19
Dec. 30, 2003 Houston Bowl: Texas Tech 38, Navy 14
Dec. 25, 1996 Aloha Bowl: Navy 42, California 38
Dec. 30, 1981 Liberty Bowl: Ohio St. 31, Navy 28
Dec. 14, 1980 Garden State Bowl: Houston 35, Navy 0
Dec. 22, 1978 Holiday Bowl: Navy 23, Brigham Young 16
Jan. 1, 1964 Cotton Bowl: Texas 28, Navy 6
Jan. 1, 1961 Orange Bowl: Missouri 21, Navy 14
Jan. 1, 1958 Cotton Bowl: Navy 20, Rice 7
Jan. 1, 1955 Sugar Bowl: Navy 21, Mississippi 0
Jan. 1, 1924 Rose Bowl: Navy 14, Washington 14, tie

FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Keenan Reynolds ran for 86 yards with two more touchdowns and Navy won for only the second time its last seven bowl games, beating Middle Tennessee State 24-6 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Monday.

Reynolds had a 3-yard score to cap the opening drive for Navy (9-4) and added a 1-yarder in the fourth quarter. Already with the NCAA record for touchdowns rushing by a quarterback, Reynolds upped his total to 31 to match Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs, also a sophomore, for the national lead this season.

Middle Tennessee (8-5) was held to a season low in points. The Blue Raiders finished the regular season with a five-game winning streak, averaging nearly 43 points a game in that stretch since a 34-7 loss on Oct. 12 at North Texas, about 40 miles away from the TCU campus where the bowl was played.

The Midshipmen overcame two fumbles by Reynolds, their first turnovers in six games. Both came after Navy got inside the 20 and were recovered by T.T. Barber, though the Blue Raiders failed to convert either into points.

Barber knocked loose one ball after tackling Reynolds, jumping over the quarterback to pounce on it late in the first half. The other came late in the third quarter when the Midshipmen drove from their own 6 to the MTSU 14 after stopping Middle Tennessee short on a fourth-and-2.

Reynolds, who finished the season with 1,346 yards rushing leading the triple option offense, had lost only two fumbles during the regular season.

Navy won its fifth straight.

Down 10-6 at halftime, the Blue Raiders drove to the Navy 7 on the opening drive of the second half. They opted to go for it on fourth down instead of trying a short field goal. But fullback Corey Carmichael managed only a yard before getting taken down by Travis Bridges and George Jamison, who also had an interception.

The Midshipmen never trailed after 10 rushing plays on their opening drive, capped by Reynolds' first touchdown. Nick Sloan made a 32-yard field goal, and DeBrandon Sanders added a 41-yard TD run for Navy, which had 366 yards rushing.

Cody Clark kicked a 43-yard field goal on Middle Tennessee's first drive. He later made a 24-yarder.

There was a scary moment in the final minute before halftime when Middle Tennessee receiver Marcus Henry and Navy cornerback Lonnie Richardson each crumpled to the ground after a hard tackle. Players from both teams quickly motioned to the sideline, and trainers sprinted to the players.

Henry and Richardson were side-by-side on the ground surrounded by their respective teammates and medical personnel. Both eventually sat up, then got up and walked gingerly off the field with help.

Richardson was a second-teamer pressed into extra duty after the ejection of senior safety Wave Ryder for a borderline targeting penalty midway through the second quarter. Ryder appeared to make shoulder-to-shoulder contact on the hit of receiver Tavarres Jefferson at the end of a 22-yard gain, but officials upheld Ryder's ejection after the automatic review of the play.

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