ANNAPOLIS, MD – Justin Goodwin ran for 104 yards on 26 carries, replacing the injured Paul James, as Rutgers beat Navy 31-24 on Saturday.
James left the game with an apparent leg injury with 11:01 left in the second quarter. He had 96 yards on seven carries before being helped off the field.
Navy trailed by 14-points in the fourth quarter but pulled to within a touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Keenan Reynolds to Brendan Dudeck with 5:26 left. The Midshipmen got down to the 6 in the final minute, but could not convert.
Quarterback Gary Nova ran for a pair of touchdowns and the Scarlet Knights (3-1) amassed 284 yards rushing.
Reynolds was 12 of 22 for 231 yards with a touchdown and ran for two more scores.
Trailing 24-14 at the half, Reynolds found Jamir Tillman for 53 yards on the second play of the third quarter, setting up a 35-yard field goal by Nick Sloan. However, the Midshipmen (2-2) could not contain Rutgers, which increased the margin back to 14 on the next drive on a 1-yard run by Nova.
Navy mounted a comeback but could not overtake the Scarlet Knights.
Midshipmen linebacker James Britton suffered a broken left foot in the second quarter.
Navy got off to a quick start as linebacker Jordan Drake forced a fumble on the first play from scrimmage that was recovered by Quincy Adams on Rutgers' 25. Two plays later, Geoffrey Whiteside scampered 19 yards, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by Reynolds.
Rutgers tied the game with 3:45 left in the first quarter on a 38-yard touchdown run by James. On the ensuing possession, a Reynolds fumble eventually led to a 21-yard field goal by Kyle Federico, increasing the Scarlet Knights' lead to 10-7 with 14:53 left in the half.
Navy has lost five fumbles in three games this season after losing six all of last year.
The Scarlet Knights increased the margin to 17-7 midway through the second quarter with a 10-play, 80-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard run by Nova. Navy responded on the next possession with a 7-yard touchdown run by Reynolds.
Rutgers scored then again with 27 second lefts on a 91-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard run by Goodwin for a 24-7 lead at the half. It was the longest scoring drive of the season for the Scarlet Knights.