Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson
Joe Buckley had to win the kicking duties for Navy this week, and Navy is sure glad he did after coming up with the game-winning field goal to give the Midshipmen a 16-13 overtime win over rival Air Force.
The win gives the Midshipmen seven consecutive victories over Air Force and gives them a leg up in the quest for their seventh consecutive Commander-in-Chief Trophy.
And Buckley provided most of the scoring. He was 3-of-3 in the game, including a career-high 47-yarder.
It was an amazing turnaround for Buckley, who had lost his kicking job after missing two of his three kicks this season. Both of the misses were inside 35 yards.
Buckley was replaced last week by sophomore Jon Teague, who missed one of his two kicks against Western Kentucky, which prompted coach Ken Niumatalolo to open the competition back up.
Buckley made all of his kicks during practice and Teague missed his final attempt.
Choosing the right kicker was key. In 2004 and 2005, Navy won the game on field goals. Last year, Matt Harmon tied a school record by kicking four field goals (of 32, 35, 42 and 48 yards).
And now Buckley can join that lore.
“I wish that I could take credit that we had some type of scientific kicking drill," Niumatalolo said after the game. "But we were very fortunate that we made that switch and he was huge, obviously."