Lincoln Financial Field —Every year the Army and Navy cadets circle this date on their calendar because it is the most meaningful game for both academies.
Army Quinn Maretzki’s game-winning 39-yard field goal in the second overtime gave Army (6-6) a 20-17 victory over Navy (4-8) in the first overtime game in the history of the Army-Navy series. Maretzki’s game-winner came after Navy’s Anton Hall fumble at the Army one-yard line.
The NCAA instituted overtime in 1996, and the series had never had to go into OT to settle one of the sport’s greatest rivalry contests.
“Somehow, the ball got loose and we hit that thing when we needed to,” Army coach Jeff Monken said.
The game was in front of a packed house of 69,117 at the Lincoln Financial and the game was boring for about 29 minutes, the two offenses could not move the ball down field.
The first spark came in the final seconds of the first half when Army’s Noah Short blocked Riley Riethaman’s punt and Jabril Williams recovered — after almost knocking the ball out of the end zone — for the touchdown and a 7-3 lead.
There wasn’t much offense throughout the contest until the end of regulation things started to pick up when Maretzki kicked a 37-yard field goal with 1:53 left to tie the game at 10 apiece.
Army’s Markel Johnson ran 25 yards for a touchdown on the first play of overtime for a 17-10 lead, and Navy tied it when Xavier Arline hit Maquel Haywood with a 25-yard dart to knot it at 17-all.
It was Navy’s first completion of the game and Arline had perhaps the greatest 1 of 1 for 25-yard game in Navy history. He also rushed for 102 yards.
Hall — who earlier sprinted 77 yards for a TD — lost the ball as he dove towards the goal line and was hit on the one-yard line.
The teams combined for only 53 yards passing.
Hall’s push toward the end zone in the second overtime — and first OT game in Army-Navy history — resulted in a fumble that Army recovered. The Black Knights went from potentially playing for a tie to winning the game.
One of Cade Ballard’s rare passing attempts for the Black Knights was a success when a pass interference call brought the ball down to the 28 with four minutes left on a drive that set up Maretzki’s tying field goal. Army were happy with just pounding the ball down Navy’s throats.
Ballard was 2-of-10 passing for 26 yards.
“It’s obviously a big moment, but I try my best to put that aside,” Maretzki said. “Just being able to block everything out, (my teammates) just made that job so easy for me. So I just had to go out there and not even really think.”
Navy fell to 11-3 against the Black Knights at Linc. It was the 90th time the game was played in Philadelphia, including 38 straight times from 1945 to 1982.
“What do you tell them when you get your heart broken,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “We were in the driver’s seat. We were feeling pretty good. Unfortunately, the game slipped out of our hands.”
The series is hitting the road starting with next season’s game in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The 2024 game is at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland; 2025 is at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore; and 2026 is at MetLife Stadium, the New Jersey home of the Jets and Giants just outside New York City. The game returns to Philly in 2027.
“This team never stopping fighting, they never stopped believing,” Monken said. “Somehow, some way, we found a way to get it done tonight. It was an epic battle. It was one I’ll remember for a long time, probably forever.”