Army had the corps bouncing in front of the president and kept the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy on Saturday.
The No. 22 Black Knights recovered two fumbles in the fourth quarter, Kelvin Hopkins Jr. had two rushing touchdowns and Army beat Navy, 17-10, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
President Trump attended the 119th game between the rivals and flipped the coin before spending a half on each side. No matter his view, Army (10-2) always had the edge in winning its third straight game in the series.
Army retained the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy — awarded to the team with the best record in games among the three service academies — after winning it for the first time in 22 years last season and snuffed a late rally by Navy (3-10).
With Navy behind by 10-7, quarterback Zach Abey lost a fumble on fourth-and-12 deep in its own territory. Hopkins scored on a 1-yard run to make it 17-7 and give Army the cushion it needed to win in front of a crowd of 66,729.
Army hopped and waved hands in celebration during a replay timeout and got the cadets in the stands to bounce along. They had good reason to celebrate: Army has regained its footing in a rivalry in which Navy had a series-best 14-game winning streak from 2002 to 2015. Army trails over all, 60-52-7.
Trump sat on the Army side in the first half and crossed the field to the Navy side at halftime. Trump officiated the coin toss and was introduced by the public-address announcer Dan Baker to a cheering crowd. Navy called “tails,” and that’s what it was when Trump’s flipped coin landed on the turf. Navy elected to kick off.
That was a mistake.
Kell Walker ran 51 yards to the 10 on the fourth play from scrimmage, and Hopkins dashed in for the touchdown on the next play for a 7-0 lead. In a series steeped in tradition — the “March On” and drumline battles, among them — perhaps none is more ingrained than the running game. Last year’s game had a combined three pass attempts, and quarterbacks for each team are usually the leading rushers.
But Army and Navy tried to throw more other this time, with mixed results. Army safety Jaylon McClinton had an interception in the first half. Army also dropped a key third-down pass that led to John Abercrombie’s missed 33-yard field-goal attempt in the second quarter. Abercrombie rebounded to kick a 33-yarder in the third for a 10-0 lead.
Last season’s game was an instant classic: Bennett Moehring narrowly missed a 48-yard try in the snow on the final play and Army held off Navy, 14-13.
Moehring made the extra point on the backup quarterback Garret Lewis’s 1-yard scoring run that pulled Navy to 10-7 with 7 minutes 10 seconds left, and he kicked a 45-yard field goal with 29 seconds to play. Lewis’s score was set up by Malcom Perry’s 43-yard run to the 5.
There were reminders all around the Linc, home of the Super Bowl champion Eagles, that this was no ordinary game. The Navy “Leap Frogs” parachute team drew a roar from the crowd with each safe landing on the field. Bill the Goat, Navy’s mascot, was safely leashed and secured from a possible abduction attempt by cadets. And each side safely returned “captives” in the Prisoner Exchange — when seven midshipmen and seven cadets swap service academies for a semester. The Army prisoners spelled out “3-PEAT on the back of their uniforms.
N.D. STATE 35, COLGATE 0 Easton Stick threw for three touchdowns, Bruce Anderson ran for 124 yards with a touchdown, and top-seeded North Dakota State advanced to the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals for the eighth straight year.
The host Bison (13-0), the defending champions and winners of six of the last seven titles, won their 19th game in a row and piled up 443 yards against Colgate (10-2), which had the top defense in the F.C.S.
S.D. STATE 27, KENNESAW 17 Taryn Christion threw for one touchdown and ran for another, and fifth-seeded South Dakota State won at fourth-seeded Kennesaw State (11-2).
The Jackrabbits (10-2) play at top-seeded North Dakota State next weekend. The Bison beat South Dakota State, 21-17, on Sept. 29.
E. WASHINGTON 34, U.C. DAVIS 29 Eric Barriere accounted for four touchdowns and Sam McPherson scored on a 35-yard run with 26 seconds left to lift third-seeded Eastern Washington to a home win over sixth-seeded U.C. Davis (10-3), which had taken a 29-28 lead with 1:13 to play on Jake Maier’s touchdown pass and a 2-point conversion.
The Eagles (11-2) will host seventh-seeded Maine (10-3) in the other F.C.S. semifinal.
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