In the last regular-season game of the college football season, Navy defeated Army 17-13 in this classic battle.
On paper, this game should not have been close. Navy had won 10 straight games in this rivalry, and Army entered with a 2-9 record.
However, the hatred between these two programs create an atmosphere where records do not matter. All these teams care about is defeating each other.
Noah Copeland got the scoring going with a hard-fought 12-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give Navy a 7-0 lead.
He was one of the best players on offense for the Midshipmen and rushed for a total of 99 yards on the day.
Army quickly evened the game, and it led to a back-and-forth battle from beginning to end.
Running back Raymond Maples was a leader for the Black Knights, finishing with 156 rushing yards. He perfectly complemented quarterback Trent Steelman, who had 96 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
A big moment was the missed field goal by Eric Osteen.
The Black Knights had driven deep into Navy territory about halfway into the fourth quarter, but a stand on third down prevented a possibility for a touchdown that could have sealed the game. Instead, the miss allowed the Midshipmen to stay within three points.
Keenan Reynolds then used his arm and legs to lead Navy on a spectacular scoring drive to regain the lead.
While Army brought the ball all the way inside the offensive 15 with a chance to win the game, the team fumbled away its final opportunity.
Turnovers were a major story, as the Black Knights were fortunate to only lose three of its six fumbles.
Unfortunately for Army, this ended up being the deciding point to give the team its 11th loss in a row in this rivalry.
Sometimes in a game like this, it is easy to lose perspective regarding the young men who are competing. What they do on the football field is great, but what they do off it is simply amazing.
One person pointed out their observation about the game.
"Show me another game where everyone playing, is willing to die for everyone watching."-Navy Seal in regards to the Army/Navy game.— DG (@theeGoldenboy) December 8, 2012
Other fans shared a similar sentiment.
I LOVE the Army-Navy game. Such tradition, excellence, and pageantry. The game isn't about football at its core. True warriors on the field.— Tim Morrison (@TimMorrison) December 8, 2012
As far as the game itself, it was not the most well-played contest of the football season. Bleacher Report's Dan Hope made this prediction early in the second half and turned out to be prophetic.
Judging off the first 2.5 quarters of this game, I think #ArmyNavy is going to be decided by a fumble, one way or the other.— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) December 8, 2012
Of course, these teams are not built like the rest of the country. Neither team is a big fan of the invention of the forward pass.
Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times broke down the play selection early in the game. Army ended with five passing attempts.
Play selection: Army --- 29 runs, 1 pass; Navy --- 17 runs, 4 passes— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) December 8, 2012
ESPN Stats and Information provided insight into the dominance of this rivalry of late.
Army has a 4th-quarter lead on Navy for the first time since 2001, the year in which it last beat Navy.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 8, 2012
Finally, the Navy's official Twitter account had a great picture highlighting the fans after the final touchdown.
This was the last game of the year for Army after the losing season.
Navy earned a spot in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and will take on Arizona State on Dec. 29. Hopefully, the next couple of weeks will give the team plenty of time to prepare for the Pac-12 opponent.
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