BALTIMORE (AP) — Navy was enjoying great success running the ball and its defense was pushing aside the massive but inexperienced Ohio State linemen.
Many of the red-clad fans in the stadium were starting to fidget, because it appeared as if a huge upset might be in the making.
The Midshipmen could not sustain the momentum. Fifth-ranked Ohio State took advantage of two mistakes and pulled away to a 34-17 victory Saturday.
Navy (0-1) held a 7-6 lead and was driving on the opening series of the second half when Ohio State's Joey Bosa hit Keenan Reynolds as the quarterback was tossing a pitch to Demond Brown. The ball got loose, and Darron Lee took it 61 yards the other way for a touchdown.
That might have been enough to send Navy reeling, but the Midshipmen immediately responded. Ryan Williams-Jenkins ran 67 yards to the Ohio State 17, and Reynolds scored from the 1 to put Navy up 14-13. That gave Reynolds a touchdown in nine straight games, tying the school record.
Later in the third quarter, the Buckeyes made their move. Devin Smith got behind the Navy defense on the right side, caught a pass from redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett and broke a tackle for an 80-yard score. It was the longest touchdown against the Midshipmen since an 87-yarder by Tulane in November 2004.
After Navy closed to 20-17 with 13:54 remaining, the Buckeyes launched a 10-play drive that featured just one pass. Ezekiel Elliott converted a fourth-and-1 from the Navy 45 and Barrett threw a 19-yard completion before Elliott ran in from the 10.
Barrett's 9-yard touchdown pass to Mike Thomas made it 34-17 with 2:09 left, and the Midshipmen were done.
"They did a great job of battling and finishing us off at the end," Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "We had some uncharacteristic mistakes that we don't normally have, and against a team like Ohio State you can't do that. We knew coming into the game we had to play perfect."
Ohio State (1-0) won despite allowing Navy's triple-option attack to amass 370 yards on the ground, including 118 by Williams-Jenkins.
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