Navy QB Reynolds Joins Exclusive 30-TD Club
Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds became just the fourth player in college football history to rush for 30 touchdowns in a single season on the first possession of Monday's Armed Forces Bowl.
Reynolds, a sophomore, heads the team's triple-option attack and also is one of five players to rush and throw for more than 1,000 yards in 2013.
Barry Sanders set the all-time single-season rushing touchdowns record in 1988 with a remarkable 37. Curiously, the only other instances have occurred in the most prolific passing era ever: Wisconsin's Montee Ball (2011), Colorado State's Kapri Bibbs (2013) and Reynolds.
Since Paul Johnson's second season in 2003, including every year of Ken Niumatalolo's tenure, Navy has won at least eight games and played in a bowl (with one exception, a 5-7 year in 2010). So the team's 8-4 record entering the bowl is business as usual. The Midshipmen's best win came against Pitt, but the team lost to Western Kentucky of the Sun Belt.
Navy plays Ohio State, Rutgers and Notre Dame next year in addition to going for a 13th consecutive win against Army. If Reynolds can continue to score at this frequency, it's possible he could become a Heisman finalist in the mold of Northern Illinois' Jordan Lynch this year. The latter also attended a smaller program as a running quarterback, though Lynch guided his team to a BCS bowl last year and throws more frequently.
Still, 30 touchdowns in a season is nothing to scoff at. LaDainian Tomlinson has the NFL record with 28 for the San Diego Chargers in 2006, but Reynolds topped that mark, albeit against inferior competition, in just 12 games.
Bibbs, who also flashed onto the scene midway through his sophomore season at Colorado State, already has declared for the NFL draft, so if Reynolds gets to 30 again next year, he'll be the first in college football history to repeat the feat.
To do it, he'll have to have some luck. Reynolds scored four of his touchdowns on a short field during Navy's five overtimes this year. The Midshipmen also will face three triple-option teams next season (Air Force, Georgia Southern, Army), which typically means fewer possessions. At 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, having carried more than 450 times during his first two seasons, Reynolds also will need to avoid injury.