ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — In just two seasons at the Naval Academy, Keenan Reynolds has already earned a reputation for exuding confidence and poise in pressure-filled situations.
The quarterback first displayed this quality as a freshman, when he came off the bench late in the second half to rally Navy past Air Force.
That, however, didn't help calm Reynolds' nerves before his first Army-Navy game last December.
"Oh yeah, I was very anxious coming out and being in that atmosphere," Reynolds recalled. "I'd never played in an NFL stadium before and it was packed and wild. It was definitely a different feeling, but once I got a couple drives under my belt I realized it was just a game and settled down."
On Saturday, Reynolds will face Army for the second time. The focus, of course, is to lead the Midshipmen to a victory over their most bitter rival and claim the Commander-In-Chief's Trophy, awarded annually to the team with the best record in games involving the three major service academies.
But Reynolds can also put his name in the NCAA record book — again. He has 26 rushing touchdowns, one short of the single-season mark for a quarterback, shared by former Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs and former Kansas State standout Collin Klein (2011). Reynolds passed Tim Tebow on the list with his unprecedented seven-touchdown performance at San Jose State on Nov. 22.
"It's definitely a blessing to be mentioned in the same breath with Ricky Dobbs and Collin Klein and the other guys on the list," Reynolds said. "It's kind of a surreal feeling, you could say. Coming into the game, I'm not really concerned about the record. If I break it, I break it. If I don't, I don't. I'm just worried about getting the W."
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo calls the 5-foot-11, 185-pound Reynolds "as good a quarterback as I've been around in option football." That's saying something, considering Niumatalolo was at Navy during the record-setting careers of Chris McCoy (1995-97) and Dobbs (2008-2010).