PHILADELPHIA — For the second straight season, quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw directed a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter of the Army-Navy game.
Bradshaw was the catalyst as Army marched 65 yards on 13 plays for a touchdown that produced a 14-13 victory over archrival Navy before a sellout crowd of 68,625 at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday. Bradshaw dove over the goal line from 1 yard out to cap the decisive drive, which lasted 13 plays and took 7 minutes, 40 seconds off the clock.
Bradshaw’s touchdown with 5:10 remaining tied the score and kicker Blake Wilson booted the extra point to put the Black Knights ahead.
Bradshaw led the way with 94 yards rushing on 21 carries as the Black Knights (9-3) beat the Midshipmen in consecutive years after enduring a 14-game losing streak in the series.
Malcolm Perry was spectacular in his second career start at quarterback, rushing for 250 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries for Navy (6-6).
Navy moved into position to attempt a game-winning field goal, but Bennett Moehring’s 48-yard attempt missed wide left as time expired. Moehring’s kick appeared to be long enough, but turned at the last instant and was just outside the goal post.
Moehring’s final field goal attempt was 10 yards longer than it could have been as Navy committed a pair of false start penalties after reaching the Army 23-yard line. Senior right guard Evan Martin and senior wide receiver Tyler Carmona lost focus at the most inopportune time and the two 5-yard penalties were absolute killers.
Facing fourth-and-six from the 37-yard line, Perry made a tremendous play by picking up 12 yards and a first down after having initially dropped the snap. That set up first down from the enemy 23-yard line, but that is when Martin moved before the whistle.
On third down from the 26-yard line, it was Carmona who flinched and was whistled for the false start. That brought the ball back to the 31-yard line and Perry was stopped for no gain on the repeated third down.
Perry pretty much provided all of Navy’s offense as four other ball-carriers accounted for just 44 rushing yards. Zach Abey, who played quarterback in short-yardage situations, had the only pass completion of the game for the Midshipmen — a 2-yarder to Perry.
Army drove downfield with relative ease on the game’s opening possession with Walker delivering the big play, a 33-yard gain on a power sweep. Woolfolk capped the impressive 11-play, 68-yard march by barreling into the end zone from 3 yards out to give the Black Knights an early 7-0 lead.
The Midshipmen responded by also moving the length, but their opening possession stalled at the 10-yard line and head coach Ken Niumatalolo elected to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Bennett Moehring that made it 7-3 with 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Army picked up one first down before being forced to punt on its second possession. Navy took over at its own 26-yard line and needed just three plays to take the lead. Perry pretended to pass on third-and-4, but tucked the ball and ran instead. The speedy sophomore cut right, slipped through a big hole on the back side and raced 68 yards into the end zone.
Perry has yet to be caught after breaking into the clear this season and several chasing defenders could only watch him pull away to paydirt, giving Navy a 10-7 lead at the 11:28 mark of the second period.
It was a defensive struggle for the remainder of the first half with each team punting twice. Navy missed a great opportunity to add to its lead when wide receiver Craig Scott underthrew a wide-open Perry on a gadget play. Scott had gotten the ball on a reverse, but threw a knuckleball that was nowhere near Perry, who was all alone in the flat.
Perry had 146 rushing yards on 15 carries at halftime, but three other ball-carriers managed a mere 22 yards among them.
Perry added to his total on the opening possession of the second half, making the correct read on a zone option play and breaking loose for a 46-yard gain. He made a lightning-quick cutback to make one defender miss and was barely tripped up at the 11-yard line.
Three subsequent runs gained just five yards and Navy had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Moehring that made it 13-7 with just under six minutes elapsed in the third period.
It appeared Army would make the home team pay for failing to finish in the red zone by scoring a touchdown on its only possession of the third period. However, a false start penalty on third-and-eight from the 10-yard proved derailed the drive.
Blake Wilson came on to attempt a 35-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter and pushed the kick wide right.
Navy went three-and-out on the subsequent possession and that failure to move the ball from deep in its own territory or take any time off the clock proved costly. Owen White got off a 40-yard punt, but Army still got good field position — starting the decisive possession at its own 36-yard line.
Bradshaw jump-started the game-winning drive with back-to-back gains of 12 yards on option keepers. The senior standout would carry the ball seven more times for 23 yards on the determined march.
Running back John Trainor also delivered a big play on the drive, taking a pitchout and spinning out of a defender’s hands to pick up 8 yards and set up third-and-goal from the 1-yard line.
(c)2017 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)
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