ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Keenan Reynolds ran for 159 yards and a touchdown and threw two scoring passes to Brandon Turner, helping Navy beat Florida Atlantic 24-17 on Saturday for its fifth straight victory.
By winning in their first game against the Owls (2-7), the Midshipmen (6-3) earned a spot in the Dec. 29 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco, where they will face a Pac-12 opponent. It will be the ninth bowl appearance in 10 years for Navy.
Reynolds completed 8 of 15 passes for 147 yards, as the Midshipmen rallied from a 10-0 deficit by scoring on four consecutive possessions.
But Navy had to hold on after Jonathan Wallace’s second touchdown of the game, a 3-yard fourth-quarter scamper, got the Owls within seven points. Wallace finished with 111 yards on 28 carries.
Since taking over as Navy’s starting quarterback four games ago, Reynolds has passed for eight touchdowns and run for four more. He briefly left the game with about 12 minutes remaining with an apparent left arm injury, but later returned.
Graham Wilbert completed 25 of 35 passes for 205 yards for Florida Atlantic.
Navy’s five-game winning streak is its first since 2009.
Wilbert connected on nine of his first 10 passes, helping the Owls take a 7-0 lead on a methodical 15-play drive that featured only one play longer than nine yards and chewed nearly eight minutes off the clock. Wallace scored on a right-side run from 1 yard out on the second play of the second quarter.
Mitch Anderson sneaked a low, 53-yard kick over the crossbar for a 10-0 lead, tying Mark Myers’ record set in 2003 for the longest field goal in school history.
A 48-yard run by Reynolds finally breathed some life into the Navy offense by moving the ball to Florida Atlantic’s 33-yard line. Four plays later, Reynolds found Turner cutting through the left side of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
On the next possession, the Owls turned the ball over on downs at Navy’s 15, and the Midshipmen needed only 2:03 to go ahead 14-10 on Reynolds’ 1-yard keeper with 7 seconds left in the first half.
On the opening drive of the second half, Navy marched 67 yards on nine plays, capped by a 31-yard strike from Reynolds to Turner.
On the ensuing drive, Navy’s Kwazel Bertrand recovered a fumble by Damian Fortner at midfield, and the Midshipmen turned the turnover into a 20-yard field goal by Nick Sloan for a 24-10 lead with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter.
After Reynolds departed with the apparent left arm injury, backup quarterback Trey Miller fumbled on his first play, with the Owls’ Trevon Coley recovering. It took Florida Atlantic seven plays to cut the lead to 24-17 on Wallace’s 3-yard TD run.
Reynolds returned for Navy’s next series and drove the Midshipmen to the Owls’ 34, where Sloan missed a 51-yard field goal try. Florida Atlantic then got as far as the Navy 22, where Wilbert’s fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)