Army Holds Off Navy to Win the 2023 Army-Navy Game presented by USAA

The Army West Point Black Knights defeated the Navy Midshipmen, 17-11 in the 124th edition of the annual Army-Navy Game presented by USAA.

by Army Athletic Communications

FOXBOROUGH, MA -- The Army West Point Black Knights (6-6) defeated the Navy Midshipmen (5-7), 17-11 in the 124th edition of the annual Army-Navy Game presented by USAA. The win marks two consecutive wins for Army over Navy and marks Army's fourth Commander-in-Chief's Trophy outright win in the last seven years.  

For the first time in the 124-year history of the Army-Navy Game, the Army West Point Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen squared off in Foxborough, Massachusetts in Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots. In a fitting year to host America's Game, it marked the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, taking place just one week after the Army-Navy Game. The state of Massachusetts also marks the birthplace of the United States Army.  

In front of a roaring crowd of 65,878, Army charged onto the field, led by a flyover from a Boeing CH-47 Chinook, Boeing AH-64 Apache, and a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.  

Team captains Jimmy Ciarlo, Austin Hill, Connor Finucane and Leo Lowin took to midfield together one last time for the coin toss. Calling heads, Army won the toss and deferred to the second half.

On the first series of the game, the Army defense forced a three-and-out sniffing out a halfback pass attempt by Navy's RB Eli Heidenreichi and a tackle for loss by DL Kyle Lewis.

Army opened the game gaining a first down on a short run by QB Bryson Daily. Daily then completed his first pass of the day to WR Casey Reynolds for a gain of 10. The Black Knights faced a fourth-and-two from the Navy 47-yard line which Head Coach Jeff Monken wasted no time going for. Daily faked a QB draw and tried to connect with WR Noah Short down the seam, but overthrew him, turning over the ball on downs.

Receiving a short field, Navy moved to the Army 24-yard line following a 12-yard run by Brandon Chatman. On the ensuing play, Army DB Max DiDomecio intercepted Navy QB Xavier Arline pass attempt and returned it 30 yards.

On Army's next drive, WR Ay'Jaun Marshall and freshman RB Kayne Udoh each broke out on runs of 10-plus yards to set Army up within the Navy 25-yard line. Army again faced a fourth-and-two from the Mids' 18-yard line, in which Daily plunged up the middle for a gain of three and a first down. The first quarter came to a close with the game still scoreless, but with Army set up with a first and goal inside the Navy five-yard line.  

Army finished off the drive as Daily threw a four-yard touchdown pass to TE/RB Tyson Riley, where Daily got the snap and quickly threw the ball to an uncovered Riley who was split out wide right catching the Navy defense out of sorts to take a 7-0 lead. Army marched 65 yards on 12 plays chewing up 7:13 on the game clock.

The teams would trade punts across the next four drives, with the defenses settling in while Navy made the switch to Tai Lavatai at quarterback to begin its fifth drive of the game with 5:21 to play in the half. Lavatai was able to pick up three first downs on the drive, moving the ball into Army territory before the Black Knights got a stop on fourth and short with Jackson Powell stuffing Lavatai just inches short of the line to gain. 

Receiving the ball back with 1:05 remaining from its 36-yard line, the Black Knights were able to move into field goal range in the final seconds as Daily hit Tobi Olawole and Reynolds through the air to set up a 47-yard field goal attempt. Quinn Maretzki made good on the kick, knocking in his third 45+ yard field goal of the season to put Army ahead 10-0 heading into halftime. It marked the fourth time in the last eight Army-Navy games that the Black Knights held the Mids scoreless through the opening half. 

To open the second half, Army churned out a couple of first downs on a 14-yard run by Udoh and a 10-yard run by Daily but were held and forced to punt. On Navy's first offensive drive of the second half, the Army defense forced a three-and-out as seniors LB Jimmy Ciarlo and DB Quindrelin Hammonds shared a tackle for loss.  

Following a controversial call on a would-be fumble and recovery by Army, by Navy punt returner Amin Hassan, Navy maintained possession. On the next play, QB Tai Lavatai broke free up the middle for a rush of 25 yards. Navy was able to move down to the Army 19-yard line, settling for a 37-yard field goal by K Nathan Kirkwood to get on the board and cut the lead to a one-possession game, 10-3. On the drive, the Midshipmen marched 12 plays, 70 yards that took 5:08 off the clock.  

After three consecutive punts, LB Kailb Fortner made the play of the night stripping Lavatai, scooping up the ball and returning it 44-yards to the house to make it a 17-3 ball game with just 4:49 to play.

The Midshipmen would respond to quickly make it a one-possession game again. Lavatai threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Umbarger. They would be unsuccessful in their two-point conversion attempt as Army held on to an eight-point lead. 

After forcing a three and out, Navy would get the ball back at its own 27 yard line with 1:39 to play. On second-and-one, Lavatai found Eli Heidenreich for a 26-yard gain. A few plays later an 11-yard pass completion got the ball to the six-yard line. After two incompletions, Navy faced a third and goal from the six, FB Alex Tecza would get the ball to the two-yard line after a touchdown-saving tackle from Fortner, as Navy then hurried to the line with only five seconds left. There, the Army defense made a stop that will be remembered by Army fans forever, stuffing the QB sneak attempt Lavatai. With three seconds left from the goal line, Daily took an intentional safety to kill the clock and seal the victory and the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy for the first time since 2020. 

Rookie Kanye Udoh, playing in his first Army-Navy Game led the Army ground game with 88 rushing yards on 13 carries (6.8 avg.). Daily added 84 yards on 27 attempts (3.1) and passed 7-for-14 for 54 yards with a touchdown. Reynolds logged three receptions for 32 yards.  

Fortner led the way for the Army defense with 10 tackles (five solo), and his strip sack fumble recovery for a touchdown. Lowin finished right behind him with nine tackles