I don't think I have to expound on my contempt for overtime. I've said it before and after an OT loss, I'm sure it always comes across as sour grapes, but I can't stand these disingenuous overtime results.
Sloppy game, How do you run for 400 yards own the time of possession and still come up short? Penalties and turnovers is how.
We knew Army couldn't go flawless this year, and when they did - they looked unbeatable. The recipe to take the same team and make them beatable is to mix in a fumble and a pick. Additionally, the penalties were killer. Not only did the fouls stall drives, but Buffalo was able to magnify the damage of pretty much every penalty.
Another theme I think should be mentioned is how Army's defense, while dominant - hasn't had their endurance tested yet. Today they found themselves on the field for a late extended drive and they couldn't answer the bell. I was as surprised as anyone that the defense let up 14 points in the 4th quarter, but during crunch time Buffalo moved the chains and extended drives. Let's not pretend there aren't other teams on Army's schedule that can conjure up some 1st downs down the stretch.
I don't want to take anything away from Buffalo's game, because they didn't have much going for them through 3 quarters - but when the chips were down they delivered big time. 14 points in the final frame to tie the game late - and given one opportunity to prove themselves in OT Buffalo did just that. Two missed kicks later... Buffalo finished the comeback and escaped with the win. Hats off to the Bulls defense, after an early feeling out process they did a great job getting off blocks and making plays. There are a lot of downs I know Army's offense would like back, but as much as I hate it - I guess if you want do-overs that's what overtime is for. Hmmph.
If you haven't realized it yet, this isn't going to be a special, magical year. 4-0 will have to wait and awakening the echoes of 1999 and 1958 will have to wait. The result is painful, especially in a loss like this - one that sends team perception and psyche spiraling back to earth. But this is NOT "Same old Army" - you're let down and your early season hopes likely lie on the scrap heap. Forget all about what you hoped would happen - stand up now and get back into this season. This season is everything we should expect from Army football. Army should beat the teams it has beaten. There will be strange road losses like this one - get used to it now. Some years it might be a team like Buffalo that gets 'em - other years it might be a home game or some other team with an edge. This one isn't Fordham, and it isn't the Yale game. Buffalo played as a game underdog, and they achieved in the 4th quarter. It happened; and this kind of game could happen in future seasons. But assuming Jeff Monken sticks around, the program is poised to make 4-0 happen in future seasons. Army has a lot to focus on and a lot to play for. The Cadets are and should be focused on the next game but overall, Army is playing for the future. We've got every reason to believe that Army will achieve and succeed as we thought they would before today. It could well be that this loss is this year's most important game for the Cadets. Army had their chances and didn't get the job done. Recognize that Army will soon get back to this spot. For now, it's pick up the pieces and move on.
Army Buffalo story, stats and highlights.
Saturday, September 24, 2016