The third-stringer, now a backup behind Carson Williams, was asked not just to fill in, but to do so in the fourth quarter after Williams left with an injury. Thrown into the cauldron of big-time football, the young man didn't bat an eye. He strode onto the field, gathered his teammates, and proceeded to complete 6 of 7 passes. Given the way Army's offense has performed this season, the game seemed all but over when Dunn entered the huddle with 29 seconds left, and the home team--down 17-10 to Tulane--80 long yards from the end zone.
Kevin Dunn, however, believed. He got his team close, and then, with Army at the Tulane 36 with four seconds left in regulation, the relatively inexperienced quarterback had the poise needed to throw the pass inside the field. Yeah, that sounds simple, and even pathetically obvious to some, but a lot of young quarterbacks will allow adrenaline to get the best of them in these situations. All too many times, this writer has seen Hail Mary passes gunned out of the end zone, past the end line and into the first row of seats. Dunn's ability to throw a catchable ball within the field of play is the foremost component of a quality Hail Mary pass. Mike Wright picked the perfect time to catch his first-ever touchdown pass at the collegiate level, but Army found its "Mister Wright" only because a mature fill-in quarterback had the werewithal to put his team--and his heroic receiver--in position to make the game-tying plays that would lead to victory in overtime.
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This game is a just and bountiful reward for a hard-charging team that has competed so gallantly in 2007 to date. This bunch deserved a much better fate, and a more respectable pair of scoreboard results, at Wake Forest and Boston College. The delightful and delicious irony for this team is that it is now winning games in which it hasn't played quite as well. Tulane's Matt Forte gashed the Black Knights' defense for 202 yards on 32 carries, but with pluck and perseverance, the West Point footballers stayed in the fight and pulled off the miracle finish in regulation before rising up on defense to win in the extra stanza. Just as life can fail to give you a material reward on some occasions, the workings of the world can reward you when you least expect it. What counts is that you never stop trying.
Will the Black Knights of the Hudson keep fighting after this sensational win over Tulane, which sent Michie Stadium into a frenzy and lifted this team to a .500 record at the season's midpoint? You can bet on it, folks.
You could say the answer to that question is a Dunn deal.
A young quarterback just wrote a very special chapter in Army football history.