Three Keys Revisited: Army vs. Navy
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Three Keys Revisited: Army vs. Navy

On the last regular season Saturday of the season Army and Navy carved out an emotional showpiece for the service academies in front of a national audience of millions. The images of Trent Steelman breaking down in tears after a late fumble cost Army its first victory over Navy in a decade will live long in the memory and encapsulate just why this is still the greatest rivalry in the game.

On the last regular season Saturday of the season Army and Navy carved out an emotional showpiece for the service academies in front of a national audience of millions. The images of Trent Steelman breaking down in tears after a late fumble cost Army its first victory over Navy in a decade will live long in the memory and encapsulate just why this is still the greatest rivalry in the game. On this Saturday the Black Knights did enough to win the game three times over. Mistakes at crucial times, however, cost Army dear and we will have to wait a little longer for the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy to return to West Point.

1) Keep the Trent Steelman rushing streak going

Everyone at the Linc knew that for Army to win Steelman was going to have to have one of the biggest games of his career. This game meant everything to Steelman as the senior had never beaten Navy in his career, and as a result he played with even more passion and spirit than usual (and that is saying something). Navy was able to keep the Black Knights playmaker under 100 yards, he finished with 96 on the ground, but he was a constant threat and was able to break tackles and make people miss on a number of those mid-length runs which keep drives alive. When you add in the monster day of Raymond Maples (156 yards rushing) then it should have been enough for Army to win. The late fumble was nothing short of heartbreaking and hopefully Steelman will be able to look back on his Army career and see much more than how this game ended.

2) Stop Gee Gee Greene

Though Navy tried to involve Gee Gee Greene to some extent it was obvious from the start that the Black Knights were not going to let him be the difference in the game. Greene was limited to just seven touches (four rushes, three receptions) and the man who totals nearly 100 yards in total offense per game amassed only 38 on the day. Many of the touches Greene normally gets went instead to fullback Noah Copeland as Ken Niumatalolo and his staff clearly saw the middle of the Army defense as more vulnerable than the edges.

The job the Army did on Greene was nothing short of excellent and they were flying to the ball with more determination than we have seen all year. Though the defeat hurts right now it will be interesting to see if coach Rich Ellerson can figure out how to tap into this effort in more games from next season onward.

3) Enjoy the moment

You could tell from the first kickoff that the Army players were 100 percent up for this game. The pageantry, traditional and all the rest clearly wakes up something inside the Black Knights and they have been at their very best this season in games which evoke that sense of pride. There are no words to describe how the game ended, but for Army to be this close to the trophy after years in the wilderness at least gives the staff something to build on going forward.