Navy football

FG try wide on final play as Army holds off Navy in thriller at Linc

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FG try wide on final play as Army holds off Navy in thriller at Linc


Just when you thought Army-Navy couldn't get any more intense, it snowed.

Then 60 minutes of bruising football came down to squinting through that snow to see where a long field goal attempt would land.

Wide left. Cue the celebration for Army. The Black Knights are back.

Bennett Moehring narrowly missed a 48-yard field goal on the final play and Army held off Navy 14-13 on Saturday to win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the first time since 1996.

Army (9-3) earned its second straight win over Navy (6-6) following 14 straight losses in the series.

"We've got seniors in there that went 4-8 as freshmen and 2-10 as sophomores," Army coach Jeff Monken said. "Now they've won 17 games in the last two years. Really an incredible change."

After trailing most of the game, Ahmad Bradshaw pushed over the goal line on a quarterback sneak with 5:10 remaining and Blake Wilson kicked the extra point to put Army ahead.

But Navy's spectacular Malcolm Perry wasn't finished.

The quarterback, who ran for 250 yards on 30 carries and a 68-yard score in the second quarter, led Navy to the Army 31 with 3 seconds left.

Navy elected to try a field goal, and after about 10 players used their feet to clear the steady snow during a timeout, Moehring's kick was long enough but drifted barely left.

"Came up a couple of feet short," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "This is a great rivalry. It was another classic game."

Army cut its deficit in the series to 60-51-7 in a matchup of bowl-bound teams. The Black Knights claimed the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy thanks to an earlier victory over Air Force.

"That trophy hadn't been in our possession for 21 years," said Monken, in his fourth season. "To be able to accomplish that with this team is a great source of pride."

In a game that included only three passes -- Army completed its lone toss -- the Black Knights produced a 13-play, 65-yard drive to take a late lead. John Trainor tiptoed the sideline for 8 yards one play before Bradshaw's 12th touchdown of the season.

Bradshaw also scored the go-ahead touchdown in last year's victory over Navy.

"I actually don't think I would've gotten in if not for my fullback and my offensive line," said Bradshaw, who rushed for 94 yards on 21 carries. "I kind of stopped, but I felt like (fullback) Andy (Davidson) picked me up and kind of walked me into the end zone."

Navy took advantage of the ensuing kickoff going out of bounds and moved down the field. Perry dropped a shotgun snap on fourth down at the Army 37, but picked up the ball and ran for a first down. But Navy committed two false start penalties, making the final field goal attempt more difficult.

Snow started falling in the late morning on the 29-degree day. Workers used blowers to uncover the lines and hashmarks during timeouts as a light snow fell throughout.

The teams, both of whom run the triple-option, combined to complete only 59 passes all season. The snow made both coaches want to throw it even less as Navy went ahead 7-0 on Darnell Woolfolk's 3-yard run on the opening possession.

The first pass came with under 9 minutes left in the second quarter. Army completed its only pass, a 20-yard wobbler from Bradshaw to Calen Holt, midway through the third quarter.

The weather made one of sports' biggest rivalries an even more physical contest. Army's all-white uniforms -- a nod to the 10th Mountain Division of World War II -- served as almost camouflage in the snow.

Perry was the star through three quarters. Getting the start at quarterback ahead of Zach Abey, his long touchdown run in the second quarter was his third rushing TD of more than 65 yards this season.

Perry looked like he might have another long touchdown run, but he stumbled and fell at the Navy 11 early in the third quarter. Army senior John Voit chased him down.

"I'm not sure if I hit his foot or not," Voit said. "But I think I got enough where he slipped in the snow and thank God he went down."

Army then held Navy to a Moehring's second field goal, from 24 yards, to make it 13-7 and allow for their fourth-quarter comeback.

"There was never a moment our guys doubted we were going to win the game," Monken said. "When you love a group of people like I love them, I can tell when their emotions change. We never lost momentum."

The takeaway
Army: Monken has Army on a major upswing. This victory will do wonders for a program that had suffered through the longest losing streak by either team in this rivalry.

Navy: Perry was the fastest and most dangerous player on the field, and Niumatalolo indicated the quarterback job will be his next season. Navy outgunned Army 296-241 but was again hurt by costly penalties.

Jasper coaches
Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper coached after missing Wednesday's practice to be with his 14-year-old son. Jarren Jasper has had medical issues as he awaits a heart transplant.

Simone Askew made history when she led the Corps of Cadets in the pregame march-on. Askew is the first black woman to be first captain, the highest student position at West Point.
Trump & Tillerson
A year after attending the game as president-elect, Donald Trump tweeted that he would be watching on TV. "On behalf of an entire Nation, THANK YOU for your sacrifice and service!" the president wrote.

After the game, Trump tweeted: "Great Army - Navy Game. Army wins 14 to 13 and brings home the COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF'S TROPHY! Congratulations!"

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson handled the opening coin toss.

Up next
Army: Armed Forces Bowl vs. San Diego State on Dec. 23 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Navy: Military Bowl vs. Virginia on Dec. 28 in Annapolis, Maryland.

Frank Nutile gives Temple what's been missing to spearhead best win of season

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Frank Nutile gives Temple what's been missing to spearhead best win of season


It took nine games, desperation for the senior class and an injury before the much-talked-about preseason quarterback battle rose to the level of controversy on North Broad Street, and after Thursday night, it’s hard to suggest anything else.

With Logan Marchi out again with a foot injury — Marchi did handle holding duties for field goals and extra points — Frank Nutile earned his second straight start Thursday.

Nutile didn’t disappoint, either. The redshirt junior turned in another impressive performance, leading Temple to a 34-26 win over Navy at Lincoln Financial Field (see observations). The win snapped a two-game losing streak for Temple and kept its bowl-game dreams alive.

“We knew what a competitor he was, how smart he was,” Temple head coach Geoff Collins said, “but just the command he had over the offense … I’m really proud of him.”

In his second career start, Nutile completed 22 of 30 passes for 289 yards, four touchdowns and one fourth-quarter interception that didn’t haunt the Owls. Nutile showed poise in the pocket and aggressively attacked the Navy defense.

Nutile had TD passes of 34 and 40 yards to Adonis Jennings, as well as another 33-yard connection with Jennings that put the Owls on the 1-yard line. Nutile would later connect with Jake Robinson for a TD that made it 31-13 late in the third quarter.

Big plays were a key part of the Temple offense, and with Nutile, the Owls looked far less conservative than they have in the past with Marchi under center. Nutile also had 19-yard and 24-yard hookups with wide receiver Keith Kirkwood. But on third downs, Nutile looked most comfortable. After failing on their first third down, the Owls rung off eight straight conversions and much of that credit goes to Nutile.

“The thing about Frank is that he’s just very consistent, very diligent," Temple offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude said. "He knows where to go with the football. He plays with a calmness of an older player. I’m not sure how much better he could have played.”

Nutile deflected questions about if he believed he earned the starting job afterward. “I'm not too sure about that,” he said, adding it’s the coaches’ decision. Collins completely ignored the question when asked about his starting quarterback.

Patenaude, however, didn’t avoid the question.

It wasn’t a ringing endorsement for Nutile.

“I’m going to go back and evaluate the film,” Patenaude said. “Can’t take anything away from him — he’s done a great job. … It’s a good situation for us to have.”

Nutile, in his two starts, has completed 71.2 percent of his passes for 579 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. The Temple offense appears more dangerous with him at quarterback. Nutile’s deep ball opens up the playbook, too.

On Thursday night, Nutile threaded the needle on a few bombs. His 40-yard TD throw to Jennings was perfectly placed, as was the 34-yarder and the 33-yarder to Jennings.

“The biggest thing with those 1-on-1 balls,” Patenaude said of Nutile’s deep ball, “is to be able to keep the ball on the field. I think he did a really good job with that.”

Jennings and Kirkwood had instant chemistry with Nutile against the Midshipmen. Jennings became the Owls’ first 100-yard receiver this season with a five-catch, 127-yard game and Kirkwood wasn’t far behind with seven catches for 87 yards and a TD.

“He’s a leader. I like him in the huddle,” Jennings said of Nutile. “He demands things. He makes the right reads, the right checks. I’m really comfortable with Frank out there.”

Temple improved to 4-5 overall and 2-3 in the American Athletic Conference. The win moves the Owls two games closer to becoming bowl eligible with three games remaining — next Friday at Cincinnati, Nov. 18 against No. 18 UCF and Nov. 25 at Tulsa. Reaching the six-win mark doesn’t guarantee a bowl game, though.

It’s been a transition season for the Owls in Collins’ first year as head coach. The five losses are already the most Temple has had since 2014, and at times, Temple hasn’t nearly resembled the team that Matt Rhule fielded for the past few seasons.

That much was expected. Temple lost seven starters on defense and fielded a young team under a new head coach, new everything. It was a rough start, but beating a Navy team that was ranked earlier this season was a positive. Winning out and getting a bowl game would be a major win for Temple football.

“Everyone’s really locked in, really focused,” Nutile said. “The seniors, guys like Jacob Martin, Cole Boozer, Sharif Finch … you can go down the line — those guys, they build this program. We just have a sense of urgency to send those guys out the right way.”

Temple-Navy observations: Quarterback Frank Nutile airs it out

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Temple-Navy observations: Quarterback Frank Nutile airs it out


This time, Temple football didn't look like a sideshow in prime time.

The Owls on Thursday night snapped a two-game losing streak with an almost flawless effort in a 34-26 win over the Navy Midshipmen at Lincoln Financial Field.

In an ESPN Thursday night game Sept. 21, the Owls were embarrassed in a 43-7 loss to then-No. 21 South Florida. Tonight, Temple had its biggest win of the season.

Temple improved to 4-5 overall and 2-3 in the American Athletic Conference. Navy has now lost three straight games and dropped to 5-3 and 3-3 in conference.

• The triple-option has given Temple fits in the past, but the Owls essentially had three weeks to prepare for Navy with their last game against Army and a bye week.

Temple won this game in the second quarter by holding the Midshipmen to three points on a 19-play, 68-yard, nine-minute and 35-second drive to close out the second quarter.

It allowed Temple to take a 17-6 lead into halftime, which was huge since Navy got the ball to start the second half. Holding Navy to a field goal on its first drive was equally as big, especially after a 58-yard kick return, but the second-quarter stop was bigger.

Allow the Midshipmen a touchdown there and it's a 17-13 game. Whole different ballgame.

• Credit goes to Temple’s front seven, who didn’t get pushed around much at all in this game. But also credit the coaching staff for preparing this team for it. It certainly helps to have a dual-threat quarterback like true freshman Todd Centeio on the roster.

Temple held Navy to 136 yards on 52 carries — a lot of volume but not much damage. The Midshipmen averaged just 2.6 yards per carry. The Temple D held strong.

• Frank Nutile made his second straight start and the second of his Temple career with Logan Marchi (foot) still not healthy enough to play. Marchi did handle holding duties for field goals and extra points, however. Nutile was in control.

Nutile threaded the needle perfectly on a 40-yard touchdown pass to Adonis Jennings in the first quarter. He completed 13 of his first 16 passes for 164 yards and two TDs. Nutile and Jennings hooked up for another big TD in the third quarter, a 34-yarder. Nutile finished 22 of 30 for 289 yards, four TDs and one interception.

In two starts, Nutile has now completed 42 of 59 passes for 579 yards, five TDs and one INT. It will be hard to go back to Marchi after what Nutile has shown.

• A major reason the Owls won was third downs. Temple finished 8 of 13 on third downs. After failing to convert on its first drive, TU converted eight straight.

Converting on third downs are huge against the triple-option because it beats down defenses. It's important to move the chains when you have the ball. Temple did just that.

• The Temple offense was much less conservative with Nutile. Both of Jennings' TDs were big-yardage plays — 34 and 40 yards — and Keith Kirkwood had catches of 19 and 24 yards.

It was an excellent game plan by Temple offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude. The Owls weren't afraid to attack the Midshipmen, and they did so aggressively.

• One more note on big plays and third downs. What a gutsy play call on a 3rd-and-8 on the Navy 34-yard line with 1:50 left in the third when Nutile delivered a strike. The 33-yard hookup with Jennings put the Owls on the 1-yard line and sealed the win.

• With the victory, Temple needs two wins with three games remaining — next Friday at Cincinnati, Nov. 18 against No. 18 UCF and Nov. 25 at Tulsa — to become bowl eligible. Two wins doesn't guarantee a bowl game. Winning out would give TU a much stronger case.