ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Keenan Reynolds wrapped up his record-setting college career at Navy in spectacular fashion, running for three touchdowns and throwing for another Monday to lead the Midshipmen past Pittsburgh 44-28 in the Military Bowl.
Reynolds ran for 144 yards on 24 carries, completed 9 of 17 passes for 126 yards and had a reception for 47 yards on a trick play.
The 5-foot-11 senior leaves Navy (11-2) as the NCAA career leader with 88 touchdowns and 530 points. His 4,559 yards rushing are the most by a quarterback in NCAA history.
Qadree Ollison rushed for 73 yards and scored two touchdowns for Pitt. Nate Peterman threw a TD pass but was intercepted three times.
It all added up to a disappointing ending for the Panthers (8-5) in their first season under coach Pat Narduzzi.
After Quadree Henderson returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for Pitt, Navy went up 21-7 at halftime and built a 31-7 lead midway through the third quarter.
Pittsburgh scored two touchdowns in 17 seconds to close to 31-21, but could not complete the comeback.
It was 38-28 when Reynolds capped a nine-play drive with a 9-yard run with 4:19 remaining. The TD broke a tie with Kenneth Dixon of Louisiana Tech for most in Football Bowl Subdivision history.
The victory provided the Midshipmen with their first 11-win season in 135 years of football. It’s also the first time Navy has won three straight bowl games.
It was the first game for the Midshipmen since they beat Army and coach Ken Niumatalolo decided to stay at Navy instead of taking the head coaching job at Brigham Young.
Playing before a sellout crowd of 36,352 in its home stadium, Navy used its triple-option attack to overwhelm a team that went 6-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and ranked 20th in the nation against the run. The Midshipmen finished with 590 yards in offense, 417 on the ground — including 114 by fullback Chris Swain.
After Henderson weaved from end zone to end zone for the game-opening score, Reynolds directed a 75-yard drive that ended with his 1-yard touchdown run.
Later in the first quarter, Reynolds capped a 14-play march with a 5-yard TD. Navy’s next touchdown came on an 11-yard pass from Reynolds to Tyler Carmona.
Niumatalolo momentarily abandoned the triple option in the third quarter in favor of a bit of trickery. Reynolds pitched the ball to fullback Shawn White, then went around the right side of the line for a catch-and-run that set up a 26-yard touchdown jaunt by Demond Brown.
It was 31-7 before Nate Peterman threw a 4-yard TD pass to Ollison, and a 22-yard fumble return by Jordan Whitehead got Pitt within 10 points.
After Navy scored another touchdown, Ollison ran for a 45-yard score to make it 38-28.
But this was to be Reynolds’ day. In his final significant drive with the Midshipmen, he converted three third downs and drew the Panthers offside on a fourth-and-3.