Navy grinds out 41-35 win at Indiana
Navy running back Darius Staten (20) rushes the ball into the Indiana defense during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, in Bloomington, Ind. Navy won 41-35.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Keenan Reynolds rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns, leading Navy to a 41-35 season-opening victory Saturday at Indiana.
The Midshipmen (1-0) played almost flawlessly, finishing with 444 yards rushing, no turnovers, five penalties and only three carries for negative yards.
Navy has now won 20 games over BCS foes since 2003 — the most of any non-BCS school in the nation during that span.
For Indiana (1-1), it was a huge deflation after a 73-35 victory over Indiana State.
But as the Hoosiers continued to score, the defense was confounded by Navy's ground game and never even forced a punt.
Navy scored on its first three possessions, taking a 17-0 lead. Reynolds scored on runs of 1, 2 and 1 yard as the Midshipmen fended off Indiana's rallies.
The up-tempo pace kept the Midshipmen, who made the trip from Annapolis, busy as they played and sang the school fight song, "Anchors Aweigh" repeatedly. Family members of the military also made the trip, thanks in part to an undisclosed donation from Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.
But the Hoosiers were no match for Navy's vaunted triple option.
Navy opened the game with 29 consecutive runs, churning out 212 yards in roughly 1½ quarters. The strategy allowed the Midshipmen to do two things: put points on the board and keep Indiana's high-flying offense on the sideline.
And the Midshipmen made it look easy, too.
Geoffrey Whiteside ran for 31 yards on Navy's first offensive play and 18 two plays later. Eventually, Reynolds scored on his first 1-yard TD run to make it 7-0. Then, after stopping Indiana on a fourth-down try at the Hoosiers' 34-yard line, Chris Swain scored on a 3-yard run to make it 14-0.
Navy settled for a 23-yard field goal on its next possession and, after Nate Sudfeld threw a perfect 45-yard TD pass to Kofi Hughes, answered with another long scoring drive that Noah Copeland capped with a 3-yard TD run to make it 24-7.
Indiana answered with a 6-yard TD pass from Sudfeld to a wide-open Ted Bolser with 1:37 to go, making it 24-14 at the half.
But Navy finished the half with 35 carries for 255 yards — nearly the entire game total the Midshipmen had last year against Indiana — and 10 of those carries went at least 10 yards.
Things didn't change over the final 30 minutes.
Reynolds opened the scoring with a 2-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Indiana's Tevin Coleman cut the lead to 31-21 with a 7-yard score, but Navy used nearly seven minutes on a 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended Reynolds' third scoring run of the night.
Navy sealed the win with a 33-yard field goal midway through the fourth, though Indiana broke its school record for most points in a two-game span when Bolser caught a 15-yard TD pass from Sudfeld late in the fourth quarter.
Darius Staten also ran nine times for 106 yards for Navy, which threw only five passes.
Sudfeld finished 31 of 42 with 363 yards.