PHILADELPHIA -- Army and its plebe quarterback Chris Carter have stunned Navy in the first half of the 116th Army-Navy Game leading the Midshipmen 17-14 heading to the second half.
The nationally ranked Midshipmen entered the game as 21.5-point favorites riding a 13-game winning streak against their rival Army.
However, Army struck first in the first quarter taking a 3-0 lead and the Black Knights have answered each one of Navy senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds' attempts to regain control of a game he's dominated throughout his career.
Reynolds has scored two rushing touchdowns in first half to extend his NCAA career rushing touchdown record but his counterpart on the Army sideline has not flinched in only his second career start.
Army coach Jeff Monken elected to start Carter over more experienced quarterbacks on the roster after Carter performed well in the loss to Rutgers in Army's last game.
It looked like Navy would again take the lead into the first half as it has done so many times during its 13-game winning streak until Carter floated a perfect pass to junior wide receiver Edgar Poe who rumbled into the end zone to put Army up 17-14.
Army's defense stiffened on Navy's last possession of the half allowing Army to take the lead into half time. Navy's players walked silently into the locker room while Army players pumped their arms and sprinted through the tunnel.
Poe gained momentum for Army early in the game with a career record 50-yard return after Army's defense stopped Navy on their first possession. Army took its first lead with a 32-yard field goal by Daniel Grochowski following a drive that included a 31-yard completion from Carter to Poe.
Reynolds responded on the next drive with a 58-yard scamper into the end zone leaving most in the stadium expecting another Navy blowout.
But Army's freshman quarterback led the Black Knights down the field before another plebe, tailback Tyler Campbell, scored on a 29-yard touchdown run.
If Army wants to pull the upset and end the losing streak it will have to contain Reynolds in the second half. The star quarterback has rushed for 119 yards but he has struggled to throw the ball as Army has dropped two possible interceptions.
Carter must also stay poised and avoid turnovers. In past Army-Navy Games where Army has kept it close, key turnovers have led to Navy victories.
-- Michael Hoffman is a contribtor for Military.com and military analyst for Tandem NSI. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.