With four consecutive wins, Navy (8-4) now wants to do something it hasn't done since 2009 — win a bowl game. The Midshipmen will get that opportunity when they meet Middle Tennessee State (8-4) on Monday in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas.
Time has done little to dull the sting of Navy's 34-point loss to Arizona State. Although that 62-28 outcome at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl took place on Dec. 29, Midshipmen on the defensive side of the ball are still carrying a grudge about that performance.
A little more than a month into the season, Navy had lost to all three Football Bowl Subdivision opponents it had played, and the closest result in any of those beatings was 12-0 at home to San Jose State.
J.O. "Bo" Coppedge, a former Navy football player and wrestler who ran Navy's athletic department from 1968 until his retirement in 1988, died Wednesday night -- less than three days before the Midshipmen were scheduled to play Arizona State in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds took advantage of the added attention Saturday against Texas State, pitching to a slew of slotbacks and handing off to sophomore fullback Noah Copeland en route to a 21-10 victory over the Bobcats before 31,004 on senior day at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
After a slow start by Navy and its burgeoning star, the Midshipmen overcame an early 10-point deficit to Florida Atlantic on Saturday, roaring back behind Reynolds to take a 14-point lead and holding on for a 24-17 victory before a chilled crowd of 29,326 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
At the start of the season, Navy was fielding one of the youngest football teams in the country. That perceived weakness has gradually become a strength, and the Midshipmen can become bowl eligible with a win Saturday against Florida Atlantic.