PHILADELPHIA — Under a steady drizzle Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field, the Navy Midshipmen dominated their rivals from West Point 31-7 in front of a crowd of 68,705, snapping a three-game skid to Jeff Monken’s Black Knights.
“Perry with the carry” proved to be Navy’s (10-2) recipe for success in the 120th contest between the two service academies, with the senior quarterback who had never before beaten Army leading the way in the run-heavy contest with 304 yards on 29 carries — an absurd 10.5 yards per pop.
Perry added two rushing touchdowns to an incredible night that included nearly identical runs of 55 and 44 yards. The Tennessee native also added his name to a laundry list of all-time Navy rushing records.
His final Army-Navy contest, which President Donald Trump kicked off with a ceremonial coin toss, marked Perry’s ninth straight 100-yard rushing game and 10th 100-yard contest on the season — both Navy records.
But Perry was just getting started in cementing his name in the Annapolis record books.
A short run in the second quarter snapped Navy’s previous all-time single-season rushing record that was held by NFL veteran Napoleon McCallum. Perry now has 1,804 rushing yards on the year. His fifth career 200-yard game moved him into a tie for most all-time.
Perhaps most impressive, Perry’s 20 rushes of 20 yards or more on the season lead all of college football.
“Such a humble kid,” Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo said following the game.
“Here is a guy who rushed for 1,000 yards in three straight years and you would think he is a walk-on the way he carries himself. ... From a running standpoint, he is the greatest running back I have coached here at the academy."
Sophomore Jamale Carothers added 75 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown for the Mids, who totaled 397 yards on the ground for the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Midshipmen shut the door on a Black Knights (5-8) offense that, outside of a 78-yard touchdown drive on their second possession of the game, were held to just 70 total yards. Army amassed only 25 total yards in the second and third quarters combined.
Senior Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr., who came into the contest dinged up, was seen warming up before the game but yielded the starting role to junior Christian Anderson.
Hopkins would enter the game in the fourth quarter, but the game was all but on ice, with Army trailing 24-7.
Anderson led all Black Knights players with 56 yards on 21 carries. He scored Army’s lone touchdown.
In the end, Army was no match for a Midshipmen team that entered the game ranked No. 23 in the AP Top 25 poll. Navy’s 10th win marked the program’s highest total since 2015.
“Happy for our team but I feel most proud that we did it the right way,” Niumatalolo said.
“We won 10 games, our kids graduate, we have great grades, we do things right in the community. Of all the things I’m just proud that our team chooses the right way.”
Navy improved their overall record against Army to 61-52-7.
Jon Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.