Score - Navy: 31 Pitt: 17
A sign of a strong team is when it comes away with a win even when it doesn’t play particularly well. For Navy to have three turnovers and commit ten penalties and still get a 14-point victory says a lot about the quality of this group.
It was a back-and-forth game in the first half with both teams trading field goals in the first quarter and touchdowns in the second quarter, but Navy took command in the third quarter with two four-yard touchdowns. One was a four-yard pass from Keenan Reynolds to Ryan Williams-Jenkins and the other being a four-yard run from Noah Copeland.
The Panthers tried to stage a fourth quarter comeback and drew within seven points after a 12-yard touchdown pass from Tom Savage to Devin Street, but the Navy offense answered on the ensuing drive with a 56-yard touchdown pass from Reynolds to Darius Staten.
This was a game that showed how a defense can’t simply commit to stopping Navy’s running attack. Pitt held the triple option in check, limiting the Mids to only 159 yards on 43 carries, but Keenan Reynolds made them pay with his arm, throwing for 214 yards and two touchdowns.
In this simulated season, Navy is beating teams in a variety of ways.
When Pittsburgh took away the running game, Darius Staten took advantage of the opportunity to be a weapon out of the backfield as a receiver. He had three catches for 114 yards, including a big 56-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory for Navy.
Every season for the Naval Academy is always about beating Air Force and Army, but the Notre Dame game will have extra importance in this simulation. It’s ridiculous that the Midshipmen are still unranked while Notre Dame enters the game ranked No. 25 with a 5-3 record. A win over the Irish will almost certainly earn the Academy a spot in the polls. It’d also be one of the biggest wins in the history of the program.