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Tulane comes back to win; Army comes up wide right, 17-16
Collegefootballfan.com enjoys Big Tailgate Party
West Point, NY - W
Army got off to a quick start capitalizing on a blocked punt by DT Chris Swain that put the Army on Tulane's 10-yard Line. QB Trent Steelman (20 rushes for 95 yards, 1 TD) took it in from the one-yard line and Army was off to a quick 7-0 lead. The Cadets extended the lead before the period expired when Alex Carlton converted the first of his three FGs for 37 yards. The Green Wave started its first TD drive as the first quarter expired.
QB Joe Kemp connected with WR Jeremy Williams who gained control of the ball while tip-toeing down the right sideline for a 15-yard Tulane TD to close the gap, 10-7. Neither team scored again before the intermission. The US Army Band played a medley of military marches during the half as they remained stationary. John Massimilla, our Penn State connection, joined us at halftime during his first visit to West Point. John was visiting with a friend whose son is a 22-year old plebe at West Point. He gave us a disappointing overview of the previous week's PSU loss to Iowa that he attended, and we discussed upcoming plans to meet at the Penn State Homecoming against Minnesota in two weeks.
The score remained the same entering
the fourth period until Carlton converted his second FG, this time from 32 yards
away into the first minute of the final period. On Tulane's next
possession, Army forced a fumble recovered by Josh McNary at the Tulane 15-yard
line - a perfect spot to now look for what we waited for all day. Many
among our group wondered like we did at the Duke game why Army never looked to
pass to 6'10" WR Ali Villanueva, especially once in the red zone.
Army seems to have a unique offensive weapon they never consider to use.
It makes no sense now to have moved the guy to that position from tackle if
they're not going to take advantage. We thought Coach Ellerson learned a
lesson late in the Duke game when they finally threw to him three times on the
final drive and finished with a TD catch in the end zone. Army did not
look his way once all day. We fans don't get it. Steelman recovered
his own fumble, and Army moved backwards ten yards before repositioning itself
at the 19. Carlton was called in to extend the lead, but just barely, as
his kick went off the right upright before bouncing through for three - a
sign of things to come. The Cadets had a 16-7 lead with 11:44 left in the
game. Seven plays and 61 yards later, Tulane's Andre Anderson took it over
from the one 2:34 later to put the Green Wave within two, 16-14. Army
showed once again on its next series that they either lack imagination or have
no confidence in any type of passing game as they crossed into Tulane territory.
On a third and twelve and on a subsequent fourth and nine, they stuck with the
option game and turned the ball over on downs to Tulane at their 37. Andre
Anderson ( 17 carries for 70 yards, 1 TD ) made the big play for the Wave on its
next series running 42 yards to the Cadet four before he was run out of bounds.
I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but it almost seemed as if Anderson
got out of bounds to intentionally not score to give Tulane the opportunity to
take time off the clock as about three and a half minutes remained. Army
was forced to use two of its remaining three remaining time-outs before Ross
Thevenot booted through his FG from 23 with 2:20 left for a 17-16 Tulane lead,
its first of the day. Army seemed to have a quick answer for how it would
use its remaining timeout when Damion Hunter returned the ensuing kickoff
46 yards to the Tulane 41. The Cadets and their fans roared as they sensed
that Army was going to find a way to win this one against a team they've had its
best success against over its past 12 losing seasons having taken six of twelve
during that time. Army felt even better when Steelman hit Hunter along the
sideline and stopped the clock out of bounds for a seven-yard gain. They
connected again for eight and a first down. Kingsley Ehie rushed for six
more to the 20. The Cadets lost two, but Steelman regained them as he tried to
center the ball between the hash marks, but finished a little more off to the
right than we think he wanted to. The Cadets called their final time-out.
Tulane HC Bob Toledo called for another to "ice" Carlton. That and the
Extra points - This was the second time we saw Bob Toledo coach a team. Last time we saw him coach, Rod Foster had a big day for him as the UCLA Bruins defeated the Washington Huskies back in 2001, 35-13, at the Rose Bowl.
Jeremy Williams had six catches for 108 yards and a TD for Tulane. He's supposedly a good pro prospect.
Navy is in the driver's seat for their seventh straight Commander-in-Chief's Trophy as they defeated Air Force in OT Saturday, 16-13, in Annapolis. They are two of Army's remaining seven opponents along with Vanderbilt and Rutgers among others. This loss puts the odds against Army to win six games this year which is what they need for the Eagle Bank Bowl bid they've been offered. It looks like we'll be seeing the ACC play an opponent from Conference-USA instead.
This is our second Army-Tulane game. The first was in 1996, Army's last winning season. They thumped Tulane 34-10 that day during a nor'easter. They beat Navy, lost only to Syracuse in the regular season, and fell to Auburn in the Independence Bowl, 32-29,to finish their season 10-2 and ranked No. 25. This was only our second time ever attending a Tulane game. With another loss, Army ties Navy for the most losses in our record book with 27 for each. Navy has 14 wins to Army's 13.
Friends reminded me of the words of Navy's version of "On Brave Old Army Team";
"We don't play Notre Dame.
We don't play Tul-ane.
We just play Holy Cross
'Cause that's the fearless Army way!"
Some of Lenape Valley HS freshman players joined us for this year's Big Tailgate.