Yet it was hard not to feel good about the contest walking back to the parking lot after the game. People in the lots chattered as if the Cadets had won. Many folks were positvely giddy. And why? Because competitive November football reappeared on the banks of the Hudson at the best of times, the last game before Navy.
Led by the offense, which many had thought had been placed in the Witness Protection Program, emerged as a efficient,agressive unit from their first possession on. Carson Williams was on target for most of the game. Receivers were making catches of balls that weren't thrown right in their breadbasket. Running backs had lanes in which to run. Tulsa did not enter the game with good defensive numbers, and certainly that was part of it. But to see the offense repeatedly go down the field for the first time all year gladdened the hearts of those who had come to hate the glacier-slow running attack coupled with an inaccurate passing game. It was especially nice to see Jeremy Trimble having a career day to become Army's all time leader in receptions and yards.
But the defensive woes continue. Opposing runners have had their way for many weeks. The secondary struggled with receivers that had pogo stick leaping ability compared to those defending. The BK's have been giving up a ton of yards in just about every game this year. But their ability to make enough big plays to limit the damage on the scoreboard has been melting away the last few games. This has become a group hanging on for dear life.
Still in all, the refreshing feeling seeing different things tried by the offense, the Corps into the game in the 4th quarter instead of counting down another dismal defeat, the feeling one got from the sideline that everyone was agressive about winning instead of walking on eggshells trying not to lose, was hard to ignore and very easy to embrace.
The coaching staff has heard it from this space all year about being too conservative in most facets of the game. So here's a tip of the hat to giving the team their best shot to win the game.
So, what's it all mean? The Navy game will be talked about alot the next few days. But the feeling of dread Army fans have had the last few years can be put on the back burner. The Tulsa game should give those fans a feeling that for the first time in a while, good things may actually happen on Dec.1. In 2005, Army rode a 4 game winning streak into the game, giving fans and probably the team reason to think the playing field had been leveled. We soon found out that it didn't taste too good having the ball removed from our collective throats after the game.
Will it be another mirage on the 1st? There's at least reason to believe that this time it isn't.