What went right
When Navy needed its defense to play flawlessly, it did. And when it needed quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada to make a big play, he did, too. With Navy leading 24-20, Air Force drove to the Navy 15-yard line. But that's as far as it got. Navy's defense did its job, and Air Force committed penalties that moved the ball back to the 39-yard line, out of field-goal range. A punt set up the Mids at their 20-yard line, and after a running play gained 2 yards, Kaheaku-Enhada took off on a 78-yard scoring run that made it 31-20.
What went wrong
With Air Force driving for the lead with less than two minutes left in the third quarter, the Mids couldn't stop the Falcons on fourth-and-one at Navy's 36-yard line. Three Mids missed tackles on Air Force quarterback Shaun Carney, who ran for 26 yards to extend a drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown run by Chad Hall.
With Air Force leading 20-17, the Mids set off on a drive late in the third quarter that included two fourth-down conversions and ended with what would be the game-winning touchdown. The last of those fourth-down efforts came from the Air Force 2-yard line with 9:18 left in the game. Navy coach Paul Johnson bypassed a field-goal try and told Kaheaku-Enhada to go for the touchdown. With fullback Eric Kettani making the lead block, Kaheaku-Enhada pushed his way into the end zone for a 24-20 lead.
What it means
Navy (3-2) is above .500 and the Mids control their fate in the race for the Commander in Chief's Trophy, which they have won four consecutive years.
The Mids have next weekend off before traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers on Oct. 10. Pittsburgh (2-3) lost, 44-14, to Virginia last night.