Just when it looked like Navy might pull away for its 10th-straight victory in this storied rivalry, Army quarterback Trent Steelman led a rally to tie the game at 14 heading into the second half.
Steelman scored Army’s first touchdown on a 34-yard gallop right up the middle of Navy’s defense. He ran through a Navy line that had bottled up Army’s attack led by star defensive end Jabaree Tuani.
Tuani had dictated the first half with a dominant performance causing one fumble, recovering another and tallying one sack. Once Army gained some confidence off Steelman’s touchdown, though, Navy struggled to slow the Army ground attack.
After Steelman’s touchdown, Navy was unable to move the ball and was forced to punt. Army marched right back down the field and scored another touchdown with 49 seconds left in the half on a 5-yard run by junior slotback Malcolm Brown.
Both teams have forgotten about any semblance of a throwing attack, depending on their dominant running games. Army completed the only pass of the game in the second quarter. That hasn’t slowed the offenses. Army has already rushed for 201 yards and Navy has run for 129.
If Army wants to pull the upset and end their nine-game losing streak, it must do a better job protecting the ball. Army fumbled twice leading to both of Navy’s scores. Army can ill afford to give Navy any more advantages.
Two years ago, Army went into halftime leading Navy 3-0 only to lose 17-3. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo made adjustments and blew Army out of the water.