MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Navy's triple option worked so well the Midshipmen added a wrinkle.
Keenan Reynolds threw three touchdown passes — two on play-action calls — to lead Navy to its second straight victory, 31-13 over Central Michigan.
Reynolds, a freshman who filled in for injured starter Trey Miller and rallied Navy to an overtime victory last week at Air Force, was 6 of 11 for 139 yards and also ran for 59 yards for the Midshipmen (3-3).
"Our playmakers were running wild," he said. "I had to get them the ball. I felt comfortable throwing the ball."
Making his first career start, Reynolds became the first Navy quarterback to throw three touchdown passes since Chris McCoy against Colgate in 1997.
"He showed great composure," coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "We're super impressed with him."
Twelve of the Midshipmen's first 14 plays were runs, but Reynolds caught the Chippewas over-playing the run on the final plays of Navy's first two drives. He found a wide-open Brandon Turner for a 23-yard strike on a play-action pass and hit Gee Gee Greene with a 19-yarder on an almost identical play later in the first quarter.
Reynolds teamed with Greene again on a 41-yard scoring pass in the third quarter.
"It's kind of rare to have a plebe come out with the performance he did, but he did very well," Greene said about the freshman quarterback."
The Midshipmen outgained the Chippewas (2-4) 238-70 on the ground. Noah Copeland ran for 70 yards on 15 carries, and Prentice Christian finished with 64 yards and a touchdown on 13 tries.
"I thought we got out-executed tonight," Chippewas coach Dan Enos said. "You have to give Navy credit. They did a good job. They kept things in front of them on defense and on offense they do what they always do."
Central Michigan cut it to 17-10 in the final minute of the first half on Ryan Radcliff's 29-yard touchdown pass to Titus Davis. The Chippewas closed the gap with a field goal early in the second half, but never threatened the rest of the night. Christian answered with his touchdown and, after the Chippewas were forced to punt from their own end zone, Greene effectively ended the game with his second touchdown catch.
Radcliff was 11 of 19 for 139 yards and a touchdown before being pulled early in the fourth quarter.
Niumatalolo was pleased with his defense's work against a quarterback that came into the game averaging 259 yards. Nearly all the pressure and three sacks came from a three-man front.
"That's a good offense," Niumatalolo said. "They've scored a lot of points against a lot of people and I was very proud of the way our defense played."
Davis caught two passes for 48 yards, including his 13th touchdown catch in 18 career games.
The loss was the third straight for the Chippewas. They are 0-3 against Navy.