Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds runs the ball against Hawaii on Saturday, Nov. 9 in Annapolis, Md. Navy won 42-28. (Gail Burton / AP)
ANNAPOLIS, MD. — Even though Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo recruited Keenan Reynolds for his ability to throw the ball downfield, the sophomore quarterback continues to dazzle his opponents with his feet.
Reynolds ran for four touchdowns, including one for 67 yards, and threw for another as the Midshipmen kept Hawaii winless with a 42-28 victory Saturday.
Reynolds also finished with a career-high 226 yards on 28 carries. He now has 18 rushing touchdowns on the season, one behind Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs for most in the nation.
With the victory, Navy (5-4) is just a win away from qualifying for a bowl game for the 11th time in 12 years.
“(Reynolds) played well,” Niumatalolo said. “Hawaii had some good stuff. They had a good game plan defensively, so it took us awhile to try to get our rhythm a little bit. They did a nice job. But Keenan stayed with it. I thought the kid played phenomenal.”
Hawaii running back Joey Iosefa returned to the lineup for the first time this season since fracturing his foot and finished with 191 yards on a school-record 35 carries and a touchdown. Sean Schroeder completed 29 of 33 passes for 246 yards with three touchdowns for the Rainbow Warriors (0-9).
“Being able to get the opportunity that I had to carry the workload was an honor,” Iosefa said. “My main goal is to hold onto the ball and not give it up to the opposing team, gain as many yards as I can to help out the defense. I could not worry about my foot today because the more I think about it, the more it stops me from being a good runner.”
Hawaii has now lost 12 consecutive games on the road dating to 2011 — the second longest streak in school history.
With the game tied at 14, an interception by Hawaii’s John Hardy-Tuliau was nullified by a roughing-a-passer penalty on the first drive of the third quarter. Three plays later, Navy fullback Quinton Singleton made them pay with a 12-yard touchdown run.
“He’s definitely the leader,” Singleton said about Reynolds. “He just inspires everybody. He takes command of the huddle. He puts you in the right place and he’s a great play caller.”
Reynolds then scored from 6 yards to increase the lead to 28-14 with 4:39 left in the third quarter. Hawaii went to a no-huddle offense and put together an 18-play, 99-yard drive, capped by a 6-yard run by Iosefa to pull with a touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, Reynolds ran 67 yards to increase the margin back to 35-21. It was the longest play of the season for Navy. Hawaii, however, would not go quietly and cut the margin again on a 6-yard pass from Schroeder to Clark Evans. But once again, Reynolds answered with another 21-yard scoring run to put the game away with 1:36 left.
“The whole game I thought I was one block away or one missed tackle away from breaking loose,” Reynolds said. “I just tried to remind myself to stay patient because it was going to come eventually.”
The Rainbow Warriors entered the game as one of five winless teams in the FBS and didn’t do much to help themselves early against the Midshipmen.
After Hawaii’s Donnie King Jr. fumbled a punt on his own 26, Reynolds found Geoffrey Whiteside in the corner of the end zone on the next play for a 7-0 lead with 10:08 left in the first quarter. Hawaii tied the game with 6:21 left in the half on a 40-yard pass from Schroeder to Keith Kirkwood.
Navy retook the lead 14-7 on a 1-yard run by Reynolds, but the Rainbow Warriors knotted the score again on an 8-yard pass from Schroeder to Evans with 45 second left in the second quarter.
The Rainbow Warriors concluded a 10-day road trip that covered 9,863 miles, six time zones and another 47-10 loss to Utah State.
“It was a great effort by everyone,” Hawaii coach Norm Chow said. “I thought the team played very well but you cannot make mistakes against a well-disciplined team like Navy.”