One Last Look Back

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I suppose it's time to get over the Navy/Army game
As with any wound it's important to clean the injury up before you put a bandage on it and this post is going to attempt to do that regarding the last loss. Here are the game recaps for Navy/Army 2010.

TheReporterOnline touches on some one Navy/Army game record.

John Howell (Lansdale Catholic), a sophomore at Navy, caught the longest reception in the Army/Navy series with a 77-yard TD reception in a 31-17 Navy win. It was only Howell’s second reception of the season. He does have 11 carries for 77 yards and two touchdowns.

The Recap touches on another game record.

The Midshipmen (9-3) fumbled the ball away on their next series and Army drove to the Navy 3, when - on first-and-goal - Navy senior Wyatt Middleton picked up a fumble by Steelman and rumbled 98 yards for a touchdown.
It was the longest fumble recovery in the history of the Naval Academy and gave the Midshipmen a 24-7 lead with 1:03 left in the half.
"Our backs were against the wall," Middleton said. "From being at the [3-yard line], it's like, 'Aw, man, they're about to score on us.' Then, all of a sudden, we score a touchdown . . . My emotions were at a high peak right there."

Sure, it's clear that Philly loves Army/Navy Navy/Army, but the website of that name apparently didn't love it enough to write up the actual game.

Personally, I love when writes on Army football.

Even though the Black Knights did not secure a victory this year, falling to the Mids 31-17, they will go on and fight another day, taking on the Southern Methodist University Mustangs Dec. 30, in their first bowl appearance since 1996.

The game is what brings these two great institutions together every year on a neutral site, yet the game embodies so much more than just football. For one Saturday afternoon in early December, the country and audiences in far-off lands get an opportunity to sit back and see what Army and Navy football players play for and what they represent and stand for. 

The boys over at Presnap Read try to sell next year on us -

Yes, the gap has closed. At least a bit, though today’s results claim otherwise. No, the gap on the scoreboard hasn’t closed. Navy’s still quicker and faster, but Army’s improving — next year, maybe next year, the Cadets can get the better of the Midshipmen. For now, this rivalry continues to be all Navy.

To me that is a hard sell. Rich Ellerson has his toughest job ahead of him as there will be new starters across both lines and in key positions on defense. While a repeat act of 2010's results would make next year's season a ringing success for Army, counting on a year like that would only heap unrealistic expectations on fan and team alike.

The team can definitely make progress next year without capturing the CIC trophy, and may not even need to gain bowl eligibility to experience success, but a losing year loses the 15 extra bowl practices and could stunt the development of a team that is clearly 2 years away from taking the next stride in its progress.

Sal looks at the fumble return as the turning point of the game.

The uncharacteristic news outlets all got their fingers in the pie. I find it funny to see a football article by the Huffington Post, but press is press. If they keep up the USMA articles maybe more HuffPo readers will turn on to Army football 

Whether or not Army beats Navy next year we know Army is making progress, for now the Black Knights are going to have to quantify that progress in other terms. For at least one calendar year we've got to look to other manifestations of progress. That isn't to say Army can't compete with Navy, that is just saying that the Black Knights have manifest more progress until the next time Army plays Navy.

With that said, take a look at next year's slate.

9/03/11- at Northern Illinois

9/10/11- San Diego State

9/17/11 - Northwestern

9/24/11 - at Ball State

10/01/11 - Tulane

10/08/11 - at Miami (Ohio)

10/22/11 - at Vanderbilt

10/29/2011 - Fordham

11/5/11- at Air Force

11/12/11 - Rutgers (Bronx, NY)

11/19/11 - at Temple

12/10/11 - Navy (Washington, D.C.)

Some solid teams appear on the 2011 schedule, with notable games against Tulane at Michie Stadium (the last scheduled game of the series), vs. Rutgers at Yankee Stadium, and solid home dates against Northwestern and Fordham.

These teams may all be stronger next year than they were this year, but these are not powerhouse teams. Army has nothing to be afraid of next year and everything to play for. Lamenting Navy ended on Sunday, from here on out the theme will be for Army to just get better. Get better and quantify the progress.




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