Ross: the good, the bad and the ugly

The hangover from last Friday's 43-7 loss to Air Force at Michie Stadium is finally wearing off. But the humbling defeat will never be forgotten. If it wasn't the worst defeat in Army history, it was certainly coach Bobby Ross' toughest during his two-plus years leading the Black Knights.

We wish coach Ross the best. We hope his team responds to the Air Force blowout with a stirring performance at Notre Dame on Nov. 18 and a win over rival Navy two weeks later.

We support coach Ross!

Still, Air Force was a real clunker. It tops our list of Ross' worst five losses with the Black Knights.

5. Air Force 43, Army 7, Nov. 3, 2006 at Michie Stadium: Everything clicked for Army on the opening drive of the game.

The offensive line opened up big holes and Wesley McMahand busted through them. Freshman quarterback Carson Williams seemed poised to lead the Black Knights to victory.

Then it happened.

Williams fumbled on the Falcons' 2-yard line and Air Force linebacker Adam Zanotti returned it 98 yards for a touchdown. Still, nobody expected the carnage that followed.

Air Force capitalized on six Army turnovers, leading 43-0 at halftime, in its second-most lopsided win over the Black Knights in history. Williams threw four interceptions.

4. Rice 48, Army 14, Sept. 30, 2006, Michie Stadium: Army quarterback David Pevoto opened the scoring 4:30 into the game on a 2-yard run and the Black Knights seemed ready roll. After all, Rice entered as underdogs with heavy hearts. Dale Lloyd, a 19-year-old cornerback, died earlier in the week, after collapsing following a brief team workout. Army was trying to go 3-2 and surpass the .500 mark for the first time since 1996.

It wasn't to be. Winless Rice answered Pevoto's score with 31 unanswered points. Rice quarterback Chase Clement torched the Black Knights for 299 yards passing and a school-record five touchdowns.

3. Navy 42, Army 23, Dec. 3, 2005, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia: The buzz entering the game was that Army, riding a four-game winning streak, could beat Navy.

The Black Knights were competitive, for a half. Bruising Navy fullback Adam Ballard took over where Kyle Eckel left off, rushing for 192 yards and two touchdowns.

Army led 10-7 with 7:52 left in the second quarter. Enter Navy quarterback Lamar Owens. Owens rushed for touchdowns on 1 and 28 yards to give the Midshipmen a 21-10 halftime lead. Navy scored the first two touchdowns of the second half en route to its fourth consecutive blowout win over Army.

4. Connecticut 47, Army 13, Oct. 1 2005, Michie Stadium: You figure Army would have learned its lesson from its disappointing 40-3 loss at UConn the previous season.

Ross ripped the entire team for its lackluster effort. So what did the Black Knights do? They trailed 24-6 at halftime.

UConn freshman Darius Butler tied a school-record with three interceptions and set a Michie Stadium record with 122 return yards. Butler picked off two David Pevoto passes in a 21-7 UConn win earlier this year.

5. Navy 42, Army 13, Dec. 4, 2004, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia: It was Ross' first year, but any blowout loss to a service academy is a grave disappointment.

Ross' charges played Navy to a scoreless tie after one quarter. That's when it got ugly. The Midshipmen scored the first 28 points of the second quarter, including a 67-yard interception return for a touchdown by Josh Smith. Born and bred in Philadelphia, Navy fullback Kyle Eckel rushed for 179 yards and a touchdown.

Disclaimer: Since we mentioned the bad, let's mention the good. Last year's win over Air Force. The first win by Army in Colorado Springs in 28 years ... A four-game winning streak in 2005 ... Breaking the 19-game losing streak against Cincinnati in 2004 ... Defeating Baylor in Waco this year ... Almost beating huge favorite Texas A&M in San Antonio this year ... The big win at South Florida two years ago.


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