After 14 losses, Army’s now beaten Navy 3 in a row

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The Black Knights have opened up a new era in one of sports’ greatest rivalries.

Army beat Navy on Saturday in Philadelphia.

The final score was 17-10. Navy fought gamely after trailing 7-0 at halftime and 10-0 in the fourth quarter, giving itself a chance to win in the final five minutes. But Army’s defense stood up in the end, getting a strip sack that set up a game-sealing touchdown with 1:28 left. A false start on what could’ve been Navy’s game-winning drive hurt the Mids, too, after a couple of procedure penalties late in last year’s game contributed to a gutting loss.

Army’s now won three in a row against the Midshipmen, following a 14-year losing streak the Black Knights had labored for so long to end. This was the least dramatic of the Knights’ three wins. 2016’s was back and forth until the end, and 2017’s came down to a 48-yard Navy field goal attempt that just missed. In this game, Army was simply better.

That was reflective of the teams’ seasons. Army’s now won 10 games two years in a row, the first time in program history that’s happened. Navy finished the year an uncharacteristic 3-10 and missed an opportunity to turn its season into something of a success anyway. Army-Navy’s so important that for many, this game’s a bigger deal than the rest of the season.

The Black Knights will play Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl Dec. 22. They’ve got a solid chance to win 11 games, something they’ve never done before. Other big achievements:

Below, a running diary of the game, with big moments highlighted:

Fourth quarter

Army 17, Navy 10

Bennett Moehring knocked through a 46-yard field goal for Navy, which makes it a one-possession game. The Mids need to get an onside kick recovery and score a touchdown in 29 seconds to tie.

Army 17, Navy 7

The Black Knights’ Kelvin Hopkins Jr. ran for a 1-yard touchdown. Army’s going to beat Navy for the third year in a row. Just 1:28 until it’s official.

Army 10, Navy 7

Army takes over after strip-sacking Zach Abey on fourth-and-12 from the Navy 32. The Midshipmen almost converted the play before that on a trick play, but QB Garret Lewis got destroyed while he was going out to catch a pass. Army can kill the whole clock now, with three minutes left.

Army 10, Navy 7

Here we go. Navy’s defense just forced a three-and-out after the Mids scored their first touchdown. Army didn’t net a single yard. Navy starts at its own 34, down 3 with 4:46 to play.

Army 10, Navy 7

Hey, we’ve got a game. Navy just drove four plays and 48 yards in less than two minutes, finally getting what it needed after a whirlwind few minutes.

The Mids had gotten the ball on downs after an incredibly long video review, then nearly driven for a touchdown but fumbled it away.

But the defense forced a quick stop, getting the ball back to Garret Lewis and the Navy offense. This time, Lewis — who’d fumbled on the last drive — plunged in.

Army 10, Navy 0

Navy’s in the red zone, trying for its first points with 11:14 to play.

And, oh, no, the Mids just fumbled the ball away inside the 10-yard line. Garret Lewis got hit at the end of a first-down run, and Army fell on it.

Army 10, Navy 0

On a fourth-and-2 from Navy’s 43, Kelvin Hopkins Jr. picked up a crucial first down — it appeared. After a long video review, officials re-spotted the ball backward. Then they brought out the chains to measure, and Hopkins turned out to be short by a foot.

Navy’s ball with 14:55 left.

After the third quarter: Army 10, Navy 0

The Black Knights have the ball, but they face a fourth-and-2 at Navy’s 43. Army’s been money on fourth down all year, but given how bad Navy’s offense has been today — and it’s been really bad, averaging 2.2 yards per play — maybe Jeff Monken will just punt.

Army 10, Navy 0

Interception for Army. Mike Reynolds picked off an airmailed Zach Abey throw on second-and-13, and Army has the ball at its own 49. Navy’s offense looks woeful.

Army 10, Navy 0

Army kicker John Abercrombie flushed a 33-yard field goal to expand the Black Knights’ lead after a 14-play, 64-yard drive. He’d previously missed from the same distance.

Army 7, Navy 0

Darnell Woolfolk ran 18 yards on third-and-4 to get Army into Navy territory. The Mids’ big Mike linebacker, Taylor Heflin, almost had him at the line but missed him.

Army 7, Navy 0

Navy started the second half with the ball and punted after getting stuffed on a third-and-one. It looked like Zach Abey could’ve pitched the ball for a first down, but he kept it and got swarmed by a bunch of black jerseys. Army gets another chance to add to its lead.

Halftime: Army 7, Navy 0

That was a slog of a half. Navy averaged 1.9 yards per play and was completely inept on offense. Army moved the ball well — 5.8 yards per play! — but only put two real drives together. One was an 82-yarder on the opening series, which resulted in the game’s only points so far. The other was a 51-yarder that led to a missed 33-yard field goal.

Since Army’s first possession, the drives in this game have gone: punt, punt, interception, missed field goal, punt, punt, punt, turnover on downs, halftime.

Second quarter

Army 7, Navy 0

Army (which had been 31-of-34 this year on fourth downs) threw for it on a fourth-and-9 at Navy’s 31. Kelvin Hopkins Jr.’s deep shot for Kell Walker fell incomplete.

Army 7, Navy 0

Navy’s punted on three of four drives and thrown an interception on the other. Army’s averaging 6.6 yards per play to the Mids’ 1.5. It feels like at some point, barring a lot of Navy adjustments, the Black Knights are going to open this thing up.

Army 7, Navy 0

Navy’s three drives so far: punt, interception, punt. The Midshipmen have run 14 offensive plays for 21 yards. Their best offense all day has been a roughing-the-punter penalty on Army that briefly prolonged one of their drives.

Army 7, Navy 0

Navy catches a significant break as Army kicker John Abercrombie sends a 33-yard field goal wide right. You’ll remember that last year’s game came down to a 48-yard Navy kick in the snow, which Bennett Moehring just missed. It feels like that Army miss might matter.

After the first quarter: Army 7, Navy 0

The Black Knights converted a fourth-and-1 from the Navy 35 by handing off to Darnell Woolfolk, who plunged straight through the line for 3. Army entered this game 30-of-33 on fourth-down conversions this year, which is just totally preposterous.

Army 7, Navy 0

Navy had moved the ball almost to midfield, but Zach Abey threw an interception to Jaylon McClinton, turning it back over to Army at the Knights’ 31. Navy’s averaging 1.3 yards per play and looks completely overwhelmed when it has the ball.

Kelvin Hopkins Jr. converted a third-and-12 by throwing a 25-yard completion to Kell Walker, and Army’s across midfield.

Army 7, Navy 0

Army’s Chris Skyers just roughed Navy’s punter, extending what would’ve been the third drive in a row in this game to end in a quick punt.

Army 7, Navy 0

We have a budding punt-fest in Philly. Army just went three-and-out and punted to Navy, which starts at its own 35 midway through the quarter.

Army 7, Navy 0

It’s been a lovely start for the Black Knights. They forced a punt and will start at their own 23 with the lead and the ball. 9:24 left in the quarter.

Army 7, Navy 0

Army took a 15-yard pass-interference penalty to prevent what would’ve been a long Navy touchdown bass to Mike Martin on a trick play. But Malcolm Perry under-threw it. That’s a penalty Army will be fine with, moving Navy to midfield instead of to the end zone.

Army 7, Navy 0

Touchdown, Black Knights. Navy’s defense forced Army into a third-and-6 to start the drive, but Kelvin Hopkins Jr. threw — yes, a forward pass — a 17-yard conversion to Glen Coates. Kell Walker ran 51 yards to the Navy 10 on the next plan, and Hopkins scored on the next.

Army 0, Navy 0

They’re underway. Navy kicked off, and Army’s starting from its own 18.

Army 0, Navy 0

The national anthem’s in the books. President Donald Trump was on the field for it. He’s adding to the long history of presidents attending this game.

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