MT. PLEASANT, Mich. -- On Navy's official roster, quarterback Keenan Reynolds is listed as a true freshman.
Reynolds did not play like one Friday night at Central Michigan's Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
Making his first career start in place of the injured Trey Miller, Reynolds threw for three touchdowns and helped the Midshipmen salt away the game in the second half as they downed the Chippewas 31-13.
Reynolds finished with 139 passing yards and another 59 yards on the ground as he was solid all-around in helping Navy improve to 3-3 on the season. Central Michigan falls to 2-4.
"His composure and the way he took some shots, I was just very impressed by him," Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said of Reynolds. "To be able to play in a hostile environment on the road for the second week in a row and make the throws he did, it was just very impressive."
The three touchdowns thrown by Reynolds were the most by a Navy quarterback in a single game since Chris McCoy threw three in 1997.
With the score still a close 17-10 Navy advantage at halftime, Central Michigan ate up some clock on its first drive of the second half as it went 11 plays and 75 yards before David Harman kicked a 22-yard field goal to put the score at 17-13.
Cutting it to one score was short-lived for the hosts as the Midshipmen answered with a five-plus-minute drive to push the lead up to 24-13, ending it on a 2-yard Prentice Christian TD plunge.
Navy continued its surge the rest of the quarter as it pushed the lead to 31-13, tacking on another touchdown on a Reynolds 41-yard pass to Gee Gee Greene.
"They've won a lot of games here and have a lot of banners on the wall, so I thought our kids came in here and responded well," Niumatalolo said. "The thing I was most excited about is that we had a short layover from playing our rivals (Air Force) and I thought our guys really pushed forward. I was happy to see that."
After CMU failed to record a first down on its opening drive of the fourth quarter, starting quarterback Ryan Radcliff was yanked in favor of redshirt sophomore Cody Kater the rest of the way. Both of Kater's drives thereafter did not result in a single first down.
"We just struggled to get anything going offensively, I think we ran 22 plays total in the first half and it didn't get much better after that," said CMU coach Dan Enos. "Navy did what they always do and that is control the ball. When they possess the ball like that, it kind of chokes your offense and you feel you have to score on every drive."
Reynolds and the Navy offense found a rhythm early in the game. He led the Midshipmen on a 74-yard drive that ended in a 23-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Turner. Reynolds completed both of his passes on the drive for a total of 49 yards.
Central Michigan's Saylor Lavallii returned the ensuing kickoff 69 yards to put the Chippewas in prime real estate. Central Michigan could not do a whole lot with the possession, however, and were forced to settle with a 29-yard David Harman field goal. That made it 7-3 at the 8:32 mark of the opening quarter.
Navy's early offensive prowess continued on its next drive, eating up large chunks of yards and having it culminated by a Reynolds 19-yard TD strike to a wide open Greene at the front of the end zone, extending the lead to 14-3.
With 3:10 left in the first quarter, Sloan tacked on a 37-yard field goal to extend the Navy advantage to 17-3.
"It was big for us to get off to that start, because if well fell behind and they got their running game going we knew it would be tough to stop those guys," said Niumatalolo. "It was a great team win. Defensively, we played well and offensively we did some very good things. We controlled the ball very well."
In desperate need of something positive before halftime, the Chippewas manufactured just that as, on the sixth play of their next drive, quarterback Ryan Radcliff found Titus Davis for a 29-yard touchdown pass as the receiver eluded a defender near the goal line to cut it to 17-10.