The 118th Army-Navy game came down to a last-second field goal attempt in swirling, snowy conditions Saturday in Philadelphia. Two false start penalties pushed Navy back, forcing kicker Bennett Moehring to try a 48-yard field goal with just 0:03 left.
Moehring’s attempt had just enough height to clear the cross bar, but it drifted outside the left upright by less than a foot, giving Army a 14-13 victory, its second consecutive win against Navy. It is the fourth time the two teams have played a one-point game. Army has won them all.
With the victory, Army (9-3) won the Commander-in-Chief's trophy for the first time since 1996. Earlier in the season, Army defeated Air Force 21-0.
"It means a lot," said Army co-captain and quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, who led Army with 94 rushing yards and the game winning touchdown. "We've been working toward this since I've gotten here (at West Point). We talk about it every day, and it's the biggest accomplishment we've had so far."
"I'm so proud of this team, this guy (Bradshaw)," said Army Head Coach Jeff Monken. "What a leader, what a competitor. And this whole team, (I'm) just so proud. As a coach and as a program you want to be able to overcome the adversity that faces you. To have group of guys as resilient as ours that believe – there was never a moment they thought we weren't going to win the game. We had the drive to take the lead and got the stops we needed right there at the end. It was a great day to celebrate this team and all they've done."
After taking the lead on the first possession of the game, the Black Knights found themselves trailing 13-7 with less than 13 minutes left in the game. Starting on the Army 35, Bradshaw finally got untracked, logging runs of 12, 12 and 9 yards. With Bradshaw sharing the running duties with Andy Davidson and Darnell Woolfolk, Army continued a relentless advance that led them to a second-and-goal situation on the Navy 9.
Bradshaw then rolled to the left and surprised everyone with a pitch – his first of the game – to running back John Trainor, who turned and dashed up the left sideline only to be knocked out of bounds less than a yard from the end zone. On the next play, Bradshaw pushed straight ahead for the touchdown and the ensuing PAT gave Army the lead.
"It was just a quarterback sneak," Bradshaw said. "I don't think I would've gotten in (the end zone) without my fullback and offensive line. The Navy defense did a great job all day stopping us inside."
With 5:10 remaining, the game came down to Army’s defense versus Navy’s offense. "I told (the defense) 'This is the ball game. We've got to make a play and win'," Monken said. "The game was on the line we just made enough plays."
Army struggled to contain Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry, who ran for a game-high 250 yards and one touchdown on 30 carries. Under Perry's leadership, the Navy running attack advanced from its own 35 to the Army 23 as the seconds ticked down. But Evan Martin was called for a false start, sending the Midshipmen back to the Army 28 and two plays later Tyler Carmona was whistled for the same infraction, leaving Navy with a third-and-16 on the Army 31 with just three seconds left. Navy had no choice but to try for the field goal by Moehring, who had made two earlier in the game.
The season is not over for either team. Army faces San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 23, while Navy plays Virginia in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28 at Annapolis, Md.