Three Keys Revisited: Navy vs. Army

On the last regular season Saturday of the season Army and Navy carved out an emotional showpiece for the service academies in front of a national audience of millions. The images of Trent Steelman breaking down in tears after a late fumble that cost Army its first victory over Navy in a decade will live long in the memory and encapsulate just why this is still the greatest rivalry in the game.

On the last regular season Saturday of the season Army and Navy carved out an emotional showpiece for the service academies in front of a national audience of millions. The images of Trent Steelman breaking down in tears after a late fumble that cost Army its first victory over Navy in a decade will live long in the memory and encapsulate just why this is still the greatest rivalry in the game. On this Saturday the Mids did enough right to bring home the victory, and with it the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, winning it in the finale for the first time since 2005. Here is how the Midshipmen fared in meeting their keys.

1) Keep Trent Steelman under 100 yards rushing

The Mids knew that keying on Trent Steelman and stopping him was the ultimate key to shutting down the Army run game. This game though meant everything to Steelman as the senior had never beaten Navy in his career, and as a result he seemed to play with even more passion and spirit than usual (and that is saying something). Navy was able to keep the Black Knights playmaker under 100 yards, he finished with 96 on the ground, but he was a constant threat and was able to break tackles and make people miss on a number of those mid-length runs which keep drives alive. Even as a Navy fan it was heartbreaking to see the man who has come to define Army over the last four years be involved in the botched hand off which ended the game for the Black Knights.

2) Feed Gee Gee Greene

Though Navy tried to involve Gee Gee Greene to some extent, it was obvious from the start that the Black Knights were not going to let him be the difference in the game. Greene was limited to just seven touches (four rushes, three receptions) and the man who totals nearly 100 yards in total offense per game amassed only 38 on the day. Many of the touches Greene normally gets went instead to fullback Noah Copeland as Ken Niumatalolo and his staff clearly saw the middle of the Army defense as more vulnerable than the edges. While Greene will be thrilled with the victory I am sure he would have loved to play a more important part in it.

3) Enjoy the moment

The delight of the Navy players was palpable as soon as the late fumble was recovered and the Mids were able to run out the clock on their first CIC Trophy win in three years. This game is always special regardless, and this was the first time that anyone on the field had played in it when so much was on the line for both teams. With the Ralph Montalvo accident still playing on the minds of all involved, wrapping up the regular season with this win will lift the spirits of the entire Naval Academy.

Now on to the little matter of a bowl game.

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