Army linebacker Kalib Fortner scored on a fourth-quarter strip sack and then stuffed quarterback Tai Lavatai six inches from the goal line with three seconds left to help the Black Knights beat Navy, 17-11, on Saturday and win the 124th meeting of the nation’s oldest service academies.
After falling behind 17-3, Lavatai led the Midshipmen to one touchdown to make it a one-score game and then drove them to the Army 6-yard line. With no timeouts and about 30 seconds left, Lavatai threw two incompletions before hitting Alex Tecza, who was tackled inbounds at the 2-yard line.
With no timeouts — and no opportunity to spike the ball on fourth down — Navy scrambled to line up and managed to get the play off. Lavatai surged forward as his whole team pushed, ahead of him and behind, but Army held its ground.
The play was whistled dead, and the replay confirmed that the ball never crossed the goal line. To kill the remaining three seconds, Army quarterback Bryson Daily took a shotgun snap, hesitated, and stepped out of the end zone for an intentional safety.
Cadets began to storm the field before being sent back for another review to see if time had expired. The confirmation from the booth set off another wave of Army fans onto the New England Patriots home field.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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