Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds scored two touchdowns to lead the Midshipmen to a 24-6 victory Monday over Middle Tennessee State in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Reynolds, the game's MVP, rushed for 86 yards and pushed his season total to a school record 31 touchdowns. Only four players in FBS history have rushed for at least 30 touchdowns in a single season. Reynolds is the first quarterback.
Navy (9-4) claimed a bowl win for the first time since 2009 and has won at least nine games in five of the last 10 years. The Midshipmen had lost five of their previous six bowls.
Middle Tennessee (8-5) struggled to move the ball consistently against Navy and managed just 314 yards, with most coming with the game decided. Blue Raiders quarterback Logan Kilgore (19 of 33 for 218 yards) was forced to settle for short passes and was picked off twice.
Navy broke open a tight game with two touchdowns in the fourth. Reynolds scored from the 1-yard line and running back DeBrandon Sanders took an option pitch 41 yards to put the contest out of reach.
The Midshipmen's triple-option attack grinded out 366 yards and an Armed Forces Bowl record for rushing first downs.
The Midshipmen drove right down the field on their first possession, keeping the ball on the ground the entire way. Reynolds took it the last 3 yards for his 30th touchdown this season.
The Blue Raiders responded on the first time they touched the ball, as kicker Cody Clark drilled a career-long 43-yard field goal. Clark added a 24-yarder in the second quarter.
The Midshipmen tacked on a 32-yard field goal from kicker Nick Sloan early in the second quarter for a 10-3 lead. Navy went into halftime up 10-6.
Both teams wasted scoring chances in the third quarter deep in opponent territory. Middle Tennessee was stuffed on fourth down at the Navy 6-yard line, while the Midshipmen lost a fumble on the Blue Raiders' 7.
Notes: Navy and Middle Tennessee met for the first time. ... Middle Tennessee has been bowl eligible in four of the last five seasons. The Blue Raiders are 3-5 all-time in bowls. ... Navy improved to 8-10-1 in bowl games. ... Two players were ejected: Blue Raiders linebacker Roderic Blunt and Navy defensive back Wave Ryder.