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Dr. Saturday

‘Pitiful’ overtime call costs Navy Commander-in-Chief comeback

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Air Force 35, Navy 34 (Overtime).
Kriss Proctor's transition from hero to goat against Air Force could have been clocked with an egg timer.

Proctor, the Midshipmen's quarterback, led his team back from a 21-3 first-half deficit by throwing a game-tying touchdown pass and rushing for three scores, including the go-ahead points in overtime. But it was what he did after that overtime touchdown that ruined what would have otherwise been a performance to cement him in the annals of the Commander-in-Chief Trophy.

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After rushing a yard up the middle into the end zone to give the Midshipmen their first lead of the game, Proctor celebrated by apparently talking smack to an Air Force defender. The trash talk resulted in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was assessed on the pending extra point, which was missed, opening the door for Air Force to win the game.

And that's exactly what happened. But Proctor disputes the way things went down. Asked about the penalty after the game, Proctor defended his actions.

"I got up and I was trying to run to our sideline," Proctor said. "Some guy got in my way and I just told him to move explicitly and he called it. It's unfortunate that the refs made a call like that, but it's football. That's the way it is. If we make that PAT, we wouldn't be talking about it."
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To that point, Proctor had put the Midshipmen on his back and led them to what was shaping up to be a storybook comeback. He accounted for 266 yards of total offense as the Mids ran 105 plays,  most for any team in the FBS this season.

The heartbreaking loss will likely cost Navy the Commander-in-Chief Trophy for the second consecutive season. The trophy is given annually to the best service academy. Both Air Force and Navy still have to play Army, but even if all the teams ended up 1-1, the trophy would stay with the Falcons because they won it last year.

Navy hasn't lost back-to-back games against Air Force since losing six straight from 1997-2002. After that stretch, Navy had won seven consecutive Commander-in-Chief Trophies.

"This is an emotional game," fullback Alexander Teich told the Washington Times. "These guys know that coming in as a ref. You're reffing on CBS the Navy-Air Force game. There's no more emotion, you can't get any more psyched up about a game like that. You score a touchdown like that at the end, we'd fought back and worked so hard, it's disappointing. It's pitiful, really, it's pitiful. I'm just so upset about that."

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Graham Watson is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow her @Yahoo_Graham.

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