After breaking the NCAA’s all-time record for rushing touchdowns this season, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds was considered a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. But make no mistake: A trip to New York would not have been a lifetime achievement award.
Yes, in addition to holding one of the most prestigious records in college football, Reynolds has led No. 21 Navy (9-2) to a national ranking. Navy’s only losses? A road game against Notre Dame, which is now ranked eighth in the country, and a road game against Houston, which is now ranked No. 18.
Reynolds, however, was not invited to New York. Only Alabama’s Derrick Henry, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson were named finalists.
“It is what it is,” Reynolds said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It’s definitely something I would loved to have done. But No. 1, the priority is beating Army. That’s something I’ve been telling myself and I’m just worried about that.”
Navy plays Army (2-9) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia this Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. Had Reynolds been a Heisman finalist, he would have had to take a helicopter to New York immediately after the game.
“(It was) going to be kind of wild, and now it’s all very simple,” Reynolds said. “After the game, you just go celebrate.”
Navy has won 15 of the last 16 games in the series, including 13 straight.
Reynolds has rushed for 1,093 yards, thrown for 964 and accounted for 25 touchdowns (19 pass, six rush) and only one interception this season. The Midshipmen started 9-1 before losing to Houston the day after Thanksgiving.
“(The season has) definitely played out well for us, but we’re not done yet,” Reynolds said. “We still got two games left, and we have a great opportunity in front of us.”
Navy will play Pitt (8-2) in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28, but the Midshipmen are focused squarely on beating Army.
“This is the foundation of our program,” Reynolds said. “We live it. Everybody is focused on beating Army. That’s the No. 1 goal every season, no matter what. If you don’t beat Army, then the season wasn’t as good as it could have been.”
Reynolds said that there is a mutual respect between Navy and Army, as well as the other service academies.
“Absolutely,” he said. “The people that we have played against, most of them are regular schools and now you get a service academy. Same thing with Air Force. You (play) somebody who has given their lives to something bigger than themselves just like you. It’s pretty awesome.”