ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) As Keenan Reynolds scored touchdown after touchdown, he kept passing some of the biggest names in college football history. By the time Navy’s 52-19 win over Georgia Southern was over on Saturday, Reynolds occupied a unique place in the sport’s annals.
Reynolds ran for a career-high 277 yards and six touchdowns and passed for another. He set a record for Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium with his six touchdown runs.
With 58 – tied for ninth most in NCAA history, Reynolds now has the third most by a quarterback. Reynolds trails only Eric Crouch and Colin Kaepernick who had 59. During the game, he passed Tony Dorsett, Marshall Faulk and Tim Tebow’s career touchdown marks – and Reynolds is only a junior. He’s 19 touchdowns away from Montee Ball’s record of 77 – with two games remaining in this season.
”I honestly didn’t know where I ranked,” Reynolds said. ”In this offense, if one person doesn’t do their job, the whole play fails.”
There wasn’t much evidence of failure from the Midshipmen, who are now 5-5, within one win of bowl eligibility. Navy has two games remaining against South Alabama and Army.
”There’s no breathing room,” Midshipmen coach Ken Niumatalolo said. ”I like our chances.”
Reynolds’ touchdown runs were from 1, 22, 1, 27, 15 and 39 yards.
”The guy is a special quarterback,” Niumatalolo said.
Reynolds ran 30 times and also threw for 71 yards with five completions in eight attempts.
”That was an average game for him,” guard Jake Zuzek said.
The Eagles (8-3) had their seven-game winning streak broken. Georgia Southern in its first season as an FBS member, had averaged 386.4 yards rushing per game.
They had 84 at halftime, but in the second half with the Eagles far behind, Matt Breida had touchdown runs of 36 and 88 – Georgia Southern’s longest of the season. Breida had 211 of his school’s 375 yards rushing.
It was just the seventh time in NCAA history there were a pair of 200-yard rushers in a game – the first since 2005.
”Any time you lose it hurts,” Breida said. ”Everybody is mad right now, but this game is over. It’s done. We have to look forward and try and win the Sun Belt championship.”
After the Eagles scored an opening touchdown, the Midshipmen scored 31 unanswered points, thanks to Reynolds.
”This guy has done it forever,” Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz said. ”We were throwing a lot of things at him, and I think we were throwing too much at him. We might have outthought ourselves.”
The Eagles began the game with an efficient 13-play drive that took nearly seven minutes. L.A. Ramsby, who carried on the last four plays scored from 2 yards.
Navy tied the score on its first drive when Reynolds ran in from a yard.
Reynolds’ 14-yard touchdown pass to Jamir Tillman and Austin Grebe’s 38-yard field goal put Navy up 17-7 at halftime.
Reynolds’ 22-yard touchdown run opened up the second half and Navy led 24-7. He added a 1-yard touchdown run after he set up the score with a 33-yard pass to Demond Brown to pad the Mids lead to 31-7.
Breida’s 36-yard scoring run late in the third quarter cut Navy’s advantage to 31-13.
Reynolds’ first two fourth-quarter runs came after interceptions from Quincy Adams and Daniel Gonzales. Gonzales’ return was 68 yards.
After Reynolds’ fifth touchdown, Breida scored from 88 yards, the longest of the season for Georgia Southern.
For Navy’s seniors, it was their last game at home. They’ll play at South Alabama on Nov. 28 and against Army in Baltimore.
Niumatalolo grew emotional when he spoke of his seniors. He was speechless for about 30 seconds when describing the team meeting.
”I’m so blessed to coach these guys,” Niumatalolo said. ”Our country is in good hands.”