ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Though Navy was outgunned for most of the game by Indiana’s fast-paced offense, the victory celebration Saturday afternoon belonged to the Midshipmen.
Starting just his second game of the season, freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Matt Aiken with 2:02 to play and Nick Sloan added the point after as Navy rallied for a 31-30 win over Indiana.
Parrish Gaines’ interception with 1:38 remaining sealed the win for the Midshipmen (4-3), who beat a Big Ten opponent for the first time since 1979.
Earlier in the game, Navy linebacker Jordan Drake’s 24-yard interception return had cut the Hoosiers’ lead to 17-14.
What a game! What a great football game! Indiana moved the ball up and down the field (on us). ... We just found a way to make one more play than they did, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said.
It was the fifth straight loss for Indiana (2-5) and came despite the fact the Hoosiers moved the ball almost at will against Navy for most of the first three quarters and gained 417 yards on 78 plays.
They are like a machine out there. We just tried to do our best to slow them down, Niumatalolo said.
Indiana led 30-21 with 12:18 left. The Hoosiers had also led Navy 17-7 after opening the game with scoring drives of 67, 50 and 72 yards.
The Midshipmen led only once before the winning score when they took a 21-20 lead on Darius Staten’s 17-yard run with 7:37 to play in the third period.
Indiana countered with drives of 58 and 80 yards, yielding a 30-yard field goal by Mitch Ewald and a 3-yard run by Tevin Coleman.
On the Hoosiers’ last two drives, however, they failed to pick up a first down – allowing Navy the time and possessions it needed to stage a comeback.
We just needed to get the initial first down and get it rolling, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said.
As good as we played, we always have mistakes. We had a couple of critical ones at the point of attack that hurt us getting a first down at the end of the game.
Reynolds led Navy on scoring drives of 74 yards on 16 plays and 72 yards on nine plays to win the game.
Of the winning touchdown, Reynolds said that the Hoosier defenders were pinching the corners and that offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper had called the play.
Coach Jasper had been telling me all week to get my eyes around, Reynolds said. I was actually a little late, so I saw (Aiken) standing by himself.
Indiana quarterback Cameron Coffman completed 25 of 37 passes for 244 yards and the Hoosiers also rushed for 173 yards, led by Stephen Houston’s 82 yards.
Shane Wynn and Kofi Hughes each had seven catches for Indiana.
At the end of the day they made the stops, they made the plays, they got two turnovers and we got none, Wilson said.