A Corner Turned?

The loss to Buffalo Saturday was awful. To watch the Black Knights play so well for much of the game and then to start slowly giving it back to include a painful to watch possession in OT was just about as bad as it gets for an Army fan. It almost made all the blowouts Army has suffered through the past few years easier to take.

But then a thought occurs to you as you're chewing on your cap once again:
 
Hey, that's 4 weeks in a row of decent football!
 
During the previous option era under Jim Young and Bob Sutton, Army fans could be confident that the team would be competitive against just about everyone on their schedule. You knew the option would give everyone they played fits, even if they didn't win the game. They could beat or tie the Vols, bewilder Louisville every time they played, and scare the pants off Notre Dame on more than one occasion. Yes, they also had some mind-blowing losses. Think back to losses to The Citadel, Colgate, Holy Cross, Boston U. and others and maybe you start chewing on your cap again. But compared to the tenures of Berry and Ross, when you would make the trek up the hill to Michie knowing that it would be yet dismal day at the ole ballpark,  the option seems like the high point of the last 30 years.
 
Now the question becomes: Has this year's option attack given Army a chance to win every time they go out on the field, just like the old days? Or is this a false alarm similar to what happened after the 4 game winning streak a couple years ago? It says here that this time it's for real, at least against the opponents Army will face the rest of the season.
 
Now it's also true that Army could lay an egg against everyone during the balance of the season, acheiving the rare hat-trick of having yet another 6 game losing streak to finish the season. But it feels different this time. The BK's have progressed enough with the option to make you think that it's not a mirage. You see the OL becoming more and more effective each week. You see a stud player emerging in Collin Mooney, who will become even better if he's able to stop losing the ball at very unfortunate times. You see the coaching staff actually opening up the playbook a bit, even if it seems like opening up a 2 ton bank vault door (Holy cow, counter plays do work!). It makes you think that it could happen every week.
 
And the improvement in the defense has been eye-opening. Even with the 4th quarter troubles against the Bulls, Army still made a strong stand in OT to limit Buffalo to a FG. With so many underclassmen making contributions defensively, it gives Army fans hope for this group for the first time in many, many moons.
 
The thought here is that the Cadets will only win one more game, and maybe not even that. But the possibility remains that they could win more than that and make this a rewarding season. At least, you can be hopeful that disheartening blowouts are a thing of the past, and yes, maybe the corner has finally been turned. And maybe the opponent on Dec. 6 will finally know they've been in a ball game.

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