Forget what happened in the first 50 minutes in Michie Stadium on Saturday against Massachusetts. When it came down to brass tacks, Dahman completed five passes on a game-winning touchdown drive, including the difference-making strike to Walter Hill with just over three minutes left. After a defensive win in Akron and a complete team win in Colorado Springs against Air Force, Army found a third and distinctly different way to lead a ballgame: with Dahman rallying his mates downfield in a display of aerial excellence.
Well-rounded teams find different ways to win, and as this increasingly satisfying season progresses, Army's football team is becoming increasingly resourceful. The fact that Dahman, an oft-maligned quarterback, could become the focal point of a victory has to be cause for particular enthusiasm and optimism in Bobby Ross' locker room.
Dahman's heroics on Army's winning drive are significant in the life of this football program not just because of the three-game win streak; not just because the Black Knights of the Hudson won their first home game in 2005; not just because this program has now improved on its 2004 win total (three to two, with two games still remaining, one of them a very likely win against Arkansas State next Saturday); and not just because the bad taste of an 0-6 start has been quite thoroughly eliminated.
No, the biggest reason why Dahman's deeds of derring-do are so important is that the emergence of clutch play at quarterback will enable Army's ground game to be that much more effective. The knowledge that Dahman can make plays will keep opposing defenses mindful of the passing game, which will then enable Jones and Wesley to have that much more success with the running game. When Army can get defenses on a pendulum, and leave them uncertain in terms of what to expect on every snap, the Black Knights will become even more lethal on the offensive side of the ball. The presence of real scoring punch in West Point is the very ingredient that will make Army football a program that could contend for bowl bids in future years. After all, the other military schools--Navy and Air Force--have had success (Navy in recent years and also this season; Air Force over the past two decades under now-embattled coach Fisher DeBerry) because of unique offenses that managed to score big. And while Army doesn't have a special system such as the triple option of the Midshipmen or the wishbone posed by the Falcons, simply having balance is what will make Bobby Ross' offense effective, with son Kevin calling the plays.
Zac Dahman didn't just win a game against U-Mass. He became the man of the hour against a bunch of Minutemen. And even more importantly, he injected some much-needed balance into the Army program, and a season that just keeps getting better.