By Eric Gilmore, Sports Xchange
2:51 AM EST, November 23, 2013
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Quarterback Keenan Reynolds ran past an overmatched San Jose State defense and into the NCAA record book early Saturday morning, leading Navy to a 58-52 victory in triple overtime at Spartan Stadium.
Reynolds rushed for a career-high 240 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns, the most rushing touchdowns in NCAA history by a quarterback.
In the third overtime, Navy safety Parrish Gaines intercepted San Jose State quarterback David Fales' pass in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 3. Moments later, Reynolds fittingly raced 25 yards on first down for a touchdown, sealing Navy's win.
"Guys are blocking their butts off the whole game," Reynolds said. "I think that definitely had something to do with it. We pride ourselves on grinding people, and grinding them and grinding them until they don't want to play us anymore. Hats off to my teammates."
Now with 26 rushing touchdowns, Reynolds moved into second place on Navy's all-time single-season list, one behind Ricky Dobbs. He also moved into third place on the NCAA's single-season list for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, one behind Dobbs and Collin Klein.
Reynolds became the fourth quarterback in Navy history to rush for at least 1,000 yards and pass for at least 1,000 in a season. And for the sixth straight game, he ran for at least one touchdown and passed for at least one.
Fales completed 42 of 56 passes for 440 yards and five touchdowns.
"Fales is everything that is advertised," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "What a quarterback he is. Unbelievable quarterback, but we got a pretty good quarterback ourself, too. Duel of two quarterbacks. Different styles. Both of them played well. I'm just glad our guy made one more play.
"The kid is unbelievable. They say he's 185 pounds. I don't know how heavy he is. He is a tough sucker mentally and physically. ... Keenan Reynolds is as good a quarterback as I've been around in option football."
Reynolds increased Navy's lead to 38-30 with a 20-yard touchdown run with 2:38 left to play. Reynolds said that in retrospect he should have gone down and kept the clock moving because San Jose State basically let him score to get the ball back.
"I should have taken a knee," Reynolds said. "I felt bad about that."
The Spartans answered with Fales' 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kyle Nunn as time ran out in regulation. The Spartans went for two, and Fales hit wide receiver Chandler Jones in the end zone, sending the game into overtime.
"We did a lot of good things, but that one play at the end," Fales said of his interception. "I thought it was going to be fine, but their safety made a good play. It's tough to lose like that."
San Jose got the ball first, and Fales fired a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nunn, putting the pressure back on Navy. But Reynolds immediately bolted 25 yards for a touchdown, and kicker Nick Sloan kicked the PAT, making it 45-45.
In the second OT, Navy triple-optioned its way to another score with Reynolds running off left tackle for 7 yards and a touchdown, putting the Midshipmen ahead 52-45. But San Jose pulled even on Thomas Tucker's 5-yard touchdown run.
Trailing 16-10 at halftime, Navy opened the second half with a nine-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take a 17-16 lead on Reynolds' 3-yard run up the middle. The Midshipmen had four double-digit runs on the drive as their triple-option kicked into high gear.
The Midshipmen defense forced the first punt of the game, and receiver Shawn Lynch returned it 24 yards to the Navy 46. Nine plays later, Reynolds headed right and shoveled the ball to running back Darius Staten for a 3-yard touchdown pass. That pass put Navy ahead 24-16 with 4:58 left in the third quarter.
The Spartans forced a punt and marched 88 yards for a touchdown. This time, Fales hit wide receiver Tyler Winston on a 4-yard touchdown pass in the back right corner of the end zone. Winston got behind cornerback Brendon Clements and made a leaping grab. The Spartans went for two again, and this time Fales ran into the end zone, extending San Jose State's lead to 30-24 with 9:31 left to play.
Navy roared back to take a 31-30 lead on Reynolds' 38-yard touchdown run with 7:06 remaining. Reynolds' scoring burst up the middle came two plays after he hit wide receiver Casey Bolena over the middle for 19 yards on third-and-10 from the Navy 30.
Minutes later, Navy's defense forced a huge turnover. Fales completed a short pass over the middle to running back Jarrod Lawson, but linebacker William Tuider delivered a crushing blow from behind, knocking the ball loose, and safety Wave Ryder recovered at the Navy 45 with 5:47 remaining.
NOTES: Navy WR Matt Aiken suffered an injury to his left knee with 5:02 left in the first quarter when he was tackled after making a catch. He had to be helped off the field. ... Sophomore OT Joey Gaston and sophomore C Blaze Ryder made their first career starts for the Midshipmen.
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