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Navy tops Air Force, 48-45, in last-minute thriller

Oct 07, 2017 10:14PM ● By Jake Russell
By Jake Russell

Navy knew defending their home turf against their service academy rival Air Force would be difficult. But up 38-17 late in the third quarter, there was a sense among the record crowd of 38,792 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium that extending the blue and gold's home regular-season winning streak to 17 games was all but a formality.

That proved to be anything but as the Falcons launched a fierce 28-3 rally to take the 45-41 lead with 1:53 remaining. The Midshipmen, never one to fold when the odds are stacked against them, mounted a drive of their own that will be remembered for years to come. Over the course of 11 plays, quarterback Zach Abey led the Midshipmen 75 yards downfield with the icing on the cake coming in the form of a 16-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Carmona with 15 seconds remaining.

After an incomplete pass, Air Force (1-4) had one last chance to pull off the upset. Laterals galore were no help for the Falcons as they could only muster a six-yard run as time ran off the clock. The Brigade of Midshipmen stormed the field for the first time since upsetting No. 6 Houston in Annapolis on October 8, 2016. Navy is 5-0 for the first time since 2004 and the second time since 1979.

The Mids also ran for 471 yards on the ground, marking the first time in program history they have run 400 yards or more in three straight games. They ran for 569 yards against Cincinnati two weeks ago and 421 yards in a 31-21 triumph at Tulsa last Saturday.

All that stands between Navy and their 16th Commander-in-Chief's Trophy is a date with the Army Black Knights on December 9 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The Midshipmen travel to take on the Memphis Tigers on Saturday, October 14 at 3:45 p.m. on ESPNU before returning home to take on Central Florida at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday, October 21 at 3:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.