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Navy struggles, loses to WKU after Reynolds injured

The SportsXchange

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Navy sophomore quarterback Keenan Reynolds had to leave the game Saturday with concussion-like symptoms in the second quarter on Saturday and the Midshipmen never recovered on offense.

Western Kentucky took Navy out of the ranks of the unbeaten, defeating the Midshipmen 19-7 at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

Reynolds gained 23 yards rushing and 20 yards passing before he left the game after a hit by WKU linebacker Andrew Jackson. Navy (2-1) then struggled on offense and didn't score after his 1-yard TD run in the first quarter.

"I'm feeling better," Reynolds said. "Got some rest, and now I just need to focus on getting back for next week."

The Midshipmen were looking to go to 3-0 for the first time since 2006, but left Bowling Green 2-1, managing just 107 yards of rushing.

"We are going to give Western Kentucky credit," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "(WKU defensive coordinator Nick) Holt had them ready on defense. I thought our 'D' played well too, they had enough stops but its going to be hard to beat anybody scoring seven points. But we have to find a way to move on."

The Hilltoppers (3-2) have now won two straight after a 1-2 season start. Senior running back Antonio Andrews had 182 yards in 32 carries for WKU.

"That's a good win for us," WKU coach Bobby Petrino said. "I'm real happy for our players, our assistant coaches. I thought we did an excellent job on defense, had a great plan and worked hard at it."

The Midshipmen took the ball 62 yards in 10 plays on its opening offensive possession, scoring on a 1-yard quarterback dive by Reynolds to make it 7-0 at the eight-minute mark of the first quarter.

Western Kentucky got on the board thanks to Garrett Schwettman's 30-yard field goal, cutting the score to 7-3 with 10:33 left in the half.

The Hilltoppers had one final chance to score in the first half, going 10 plays in 2:48 down to the Navy 19, but Schwettman missed a 36-yard field goal wide left, leaving the score 7-3 at the break.

Western Kentucky took its first lead of the game with a 88-yard scoring drive that lasted 15 plays and 6:40 of game clock. Antonio Andrews capped it with a 2-yard plunge over right tackle to make it 10-7 with 5:41 left in the third quarter.

Andrews scored from 11 yards out with 9:39 left in the game, taking a handoff out of the shotgun, cutting back to the left, getting hit at the 3 and backing in across the goal line to give Western Kentucky a 17-7 lead.

"Offensively I thought we did what we had to do to win the game," Petrino said. "Our offensive line, I thought, wore them down."

WKU senior linebacker Xavius Boyd sacked Navy quarterback John Hendrick in the end zone with 5:46 left to make it 19-7.

"They out-coached us and out-played us, and you have to give those guys credit," Niumatalolo said. "Coach Petrino and his staff, they beat us, they played better than us, coached better than us. Coach Petrino did a better job of getting his team ready. We lost and I am not going to make excuses."

Western Kentucky resumes Sun Belt Conference play Thursday at Louisiana-Monroe while Navy hosts Air Force on Saturday.

Reynolds has been Navy's starting quarterback since the middle of his freshman season. He gives a lot of credit for his success to his father, Donnie, who played strong safety at UT-Martin.

"My dad talked to me about football before I even understood what he was talking about," Keenan said earlier in the week. "Once I got to high school, we watched film on our own every Thursday night before games. He always pressed me about getting tape on a team, and I think it really paid off."

"I told him before (he went to Navy) that football is a job," Donnie Reynolds said. "If you don't want to work at it, then you don't need to go and play, and he said, 'No, Dad, I can do it.'"

Reynolds finished last season with 898 passing yards and nine touchdowns and 649 rushing yards with 10 touchdowns as Navy went 8-5.

This season he is on the Davey O'Brien Award watch list for the top quarterback in the country.

NOTES: WKU's Andrews moved into second on the program's all-time list for all-purpose yards in a career with 5,321. ... Navy began the day as the nation's No. 1 rushing offense at 398 yards per game.
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