BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — When sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds had to leave Navy's game Saturday with concussion-like symptoms in the second quarter, the Midshipmen never recovered.
Western Kentucky knocked Navy from of the ranks of the unbeaten, defeating the Midshipmen, 19-7, at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
Reynolds had 23 yards rushing and 20 yards passing before he left the game after a hit by Hilltoppers linebacker Andrew Jackson. Navy (2-1) struggled on offense without him and didn't score after his 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
"I'm feeling better," Reynolds said. "Got some rest, and now I just need to focus on getting back for next week."
The Midshipmen, looking to go to 3-0 for the first time since 2006, left 2-1, managing just 107 yards of rushing.
"We are going to give Western Kentucky credit," Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said. Western Kentucky defensive coordinator Nick Holt "had them ready on defense. I thought our 'D' played well, too. They had enough stops, but it's going to be hard to beat anybody scoring seven points. But we have to find a way to move on."
The Hilltoppers (3-2) have now won two straight after a 1-2 start to their season. Senior running back Antonio Andrews had 182 yards on 32 carries.
"That's a good win for us," Western Kentucky head coach Bobby Petrino said. "I'm real happy for our players, our assistant coaches. I thought we did an excellent job on defense, had a great plan and worked hard at it."
The Midshipmen took the ball 62 yards in 10 plays on their opening offensive possession, scoring on a 1-yard dive by Reynolds to make it 7-0 at the eight-minute mark of the first quarter.
Western Kentucky got on the board with Garrett Schwettman's 30-yard field goal, cutting the score to 7-3 with 10:33 left in the half.
The Hilltoppers had one final chance to score in the first half, moving as far as Navy's 19, but Schwettman missed a 36-yard field goal wide left.
Western Kentucky took its first lead with a 15-play, 88-yard scoring drive. Andrews capped the series with a 2-yard plunge over right tackle to make it 10-7 with 5:41 left in the third quarter.
Andrews scored again, from 11 yards out, with 9:39 left in the game, taking a handoff out of the shotgun, cutting back to the left, getting hit at the 3 and backing in across the goal line to give the Hilltoppers a 17-7 lead.
"Offensively, I thought we did what we had to do to win the game," Petrino said. "Our offensive line, I thought, wore them down."
Western Kentucky senior linebacker Xavius Boyd sacked Navy quarterback John Hendrick in the end zone with 5:46 left to make it 19-7.
"They outcoached us and outplayed us, and you have to give those guys credit," Niumatalolo said. "Coach Petrino and his staff, they beat us, they played better than us, coached better than us. Coach Petrino did a better job of getting his team ready. We lost, and I am not going to make excuses."
Western Kentucky resumes Sun Belt Conference play Thursday at Louisiana-Monroe, while Navy hosts Air Force on Saturday.
Reynolds has been Navy's starting quarterback since the middle of his freshman season. He finished last season with 898 passing yards and nine touchdowns and 649 rushing yards with 10 touchdowns as Navy went 8-5.
This season, he was named to the Davey O'Brien Award watch list for the top quarterback in the country.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun