Navy 31, Indiana 30

Though Navy was outgunned for most of the game by Indiana’s

fast-paced offense, the victory celebration Saturday afternoon

belonged to the Midshipmen.

Starting just his second game of the season, freshman

quarterback Keenan Reynolds completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to

Matt Aiken with 2:02 to play and Nick Sloan added the point after

as Navy rallied for a 31-30 win over Indiana.

Parrish Gaines’ interception with 1:38 remaining sealed the win

for the Midshipmen (4-3), who beat a Big Ten opponent for the first

time since 1979 when they won at Illinois 13-12.

Earlier in the game, Navy linebacker Jordan Drake’s 24-yard

interception return had cut the Hoosiers’ lead to 17-14.

The win also kept the Midshipmen’s bowl hopes alive as they need

just two wins in their final five games to return to postseason

play.

”What a game! What a great football game! Indiana moved the

ball up and down the field (on us) … We just found a way to make

one more play than they did,” said Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo.

It was the fifth straight loss for Indiana (2-5) and came

despite the fact the Hoosiers moved the ball almost at will against

Navy for most of the first three quarters and gained 417 yards on

78 plays.

”They are like a machine out there. We just tried to do our

best to slow them down,” Niumatalolo said.

Indiana led 30-21 with 12:18 left. The Hoosiers had also led

Navy 17-7 after opening the game with scoring drives of 67, 50 and

72 yards.

The Midshipmen led only once before the winning score when they

took a 21-20 lead on Darius Staten’s 17-yard run with 7:37 to play

in the third period.

Indiana countered with drives of 58 and 80 yards, yielding a

30-yard field goal by Mitch Ewald and a 3-yard run by Tevin

Coleman.

On the Hoosiers’ last two drives, however, they failed to pick

up a first down – allowing Navy the time and possessions it needed

to stage a comeback.

”We just needed to get the initial first down and get it

rolling,” said Indiana coach Kevin Wilson. ”As good as we played,

we always have mistakes. We had a couple of critical ones at the

point of attack that hurt us getting a first down at the end of the

game.”

Reynolds led Navy on scoring drives of 74 yards on 16 plays and

72 yards on nine plays to win the game.

The first drive ended in Sloan’s 18-yard field goal as the

Midshipmen were thwarted at the 1 after a drive that lasted almost

7 minutes. Then, after Navy held the Hoosiers on downs, the

Midshipmen got the ball back at their own 28 with 4:48 to play.

On the winning drive, Gee Gee Greene caught a 21-yard pass from

Reynolds and added a 22-yard run to move the ball to the Hoosiers’

21.

Reynolds completed 8 of 13 passes for 96 yards and also rushed

for 66 yards on 17 carries.

”This is just his second start,” Niumatalolo said. ”He missed

some reads on the second option. He didn’t play as well as he did

last week (in a 31-13 win over Central Michigan), but he kept his

composure on that last drive. He methodically moved the ball down

the field.”

Of the winning touchdown, Reynolds said that the Hoosier

defenders were pinching the corners and that offensive coordinator

Ivin Jasper had called the play.

”Coach Jasper had been telling me all week to get my eyes

around,” said Reynolds. ”I was actually a little late, so I saw

(Aiken) standing by himself.”

Greene had 88 yards on 15 rushes and caught two passes for 35

yards as Navy gained 353 yards, 233 in the second half.

Indiana quarterback Cameron Coffman completed 25 of 37 passes

for 244 yards and the Hoosiers also rushed for 173 yards, led by

Stephen Houston’s 82 yards.

Shane Wynn and Kofi Hughes each had seven catches for

Indiana.

”At the end of the day they made the stops, they made the

plays, they got two turnovers and we got none,” said Wilson.

In addition to the interceptions, the Navy defense stopped

Indiana on possessions before and after the winning touchdown.

After allowing 269 yards in the first half, the defense firmed up

somewhat in the second to hold the Hoosiers to 148 yards.

”I don’t think anyone on the defense felt they played their

best game, but we played well when we needed it,” said linebacker

Keenan Wetzel, who had three tackles for losses among his eight

stops.

Drake’s interception and touchdown return was a big momentum

changer in the game.

”It was amazing to get the ball,” he said. ”It was just like

practice. I didn’t know what to do with the ball. I was just trying

not to drop it.”

On his game-clinching interception, Gaines said it was a matter

of being in the right place at the right time.

”We knew they had to pass the ball,” said Gaines, who was

mobbed by his teammates after the play. ”It was good to get that

interception for the team; it was one of the best moments of my

life.”