For more than 120 years, Army and Navy have been battling on the football field and the head-to-head series has become a December staple in the college football universe. On Saturday, the service academies met in Foxboro and, as often, produced high drama. Army was in control for most of the game, never trailing during the afternoon, and the Black Knights took a 17-3 lead with a touchdown at the 4:49 mark of the fourth quarter.
Considering the pace and style of both teams, that felt like an insurmountable lead, but Navy stormed back with a quick 59-yard drive to draw within a 17-9 margin. That began what was an utterly tremendous sweat around the over/under point total for the day, which closed somewhere between 27.5 and 28.5 points. When the Midshipmen scored the touchdown to climb within eight points, Navy went for a two-point conversion and, if converted, would have pushed over the total. The attempt was unsuccessful, but that was just the start.
Army failed to put the game away on offense and, after a controversial decision to punt on 4th-and-3 in plus territory, the Black Knights uncorked a poor punt that allowed Navy to take over with reasonable field position. Then, Army deployed the world’s most conservative defense, paving the way for the Midshipmen to drive the field, but the fireworks didn’t stop there. Navy attempted a quarterback sneak from the two-yard line on 4th and goal, ultimately falling short to the delight of anyone who had an Under on the game.
IT CANNOT GET CLOSER.
ARMY STOPS NAVY AT THE GOAL LINE. pic.twitter.com/Lf6d7KHsDR
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 9, 2023
However, there was more to come, because there was time remaining on the clock. From a game management perspective, it made sense for Army to play things safely and simply take a safety to ensure a victory. However, anyone with an Under at 27.5 or 28 did not like that idea, while those with Over bets on either of those numbers simply rejoiced when Army ran out of the back of the end zone.
The 2022 edition of Army-Navy actually went Over the total, but it needed overtime to do so. Prior to that, the Under hit in 16 straight meetings, making it a favorite of some handicappers. While this year’s total plummeted into the 20’s, making things more difficult for the Under side, those managed to nab it earlier in the week at 28.5 or higher were successful, while those who grabbed 28 at least emerged with a push. Still, there was wild drama on this one, and it was also a memorable, close-fought football game between long-time rivals.