With Boston College holding onto a slight 31-27 lead and 6:11 remaining in the 4th quarter, the Black Knights marched from their own 25 yard line on 12 plays. While utilizing 4:08 of the game clock and 74 yards later, it appeared that this would be a storybook finish for Army, who was hungry for a win. Not to mention the majority of the 39,492 fans who were just as eager to see the Black Knights register win number one of the 2012 season.
Faced with a 4th & goal from the BC 1 yard line, the call was a pitch left to Raymond Maples, but the Eagles defense stop the junior running back cold in his tracks and it appeared that someone had immediately let the wind out of sails of so many of the Army faithful ... it just wasn't meant to be.
As such, with 2:03 left on the game clock, Boston College had the ball on their own 1 yard line and clearly the Eagles were in the drivers' seat as many of the fans were making their way to the exit. However, the Army defense saw things a little differently and with 2 time outs on their ledger, the "D" dug in.
Andre Williams, who had the best day of his career as an Eagle, that included an impressive 99 yard touchdown run was stopped on three consecutive carries, which saw Army maximize the use of their remaining timeouts.
So on 4th & 3 from their own 8 yard line, BC was forced to punt and Gerald Levano pick the worse time to shank one. His punt put the Black Knights, 1st & 10 from Eagles 38 yard line.
Now the stage was set and if you were an Army fan, it was as if you had received a new lease on life, surely the coaches and players felt that way.
The Final Drive
With no time outs remaining, the storybook ending was still within reach.
1st & 10 at the BC 38 yard line and 1:03 remaining in the game: Steelman rolls right as he looks for slotback Malcolm Brown, but the pass floats over Brown's outstretched hands.
2nd & 10 on the BC 38 yard line and :57 remaining in the contest: With a strong left formation, that had Brown playing on the left wing, leaving Maples and fullback Larry Dixon behind QB Trent Steelman. The Army quarterback faked inside to his fullback, who hit the hole between center Will Wilson and guard Frank Allen, as Steelman strides left down the line of scrimmage and made the pitch to Maples for 9 yards, as he was knocked out of bounds ... stopping the clock at :52.
But what drew concern from the coaches, teammates and fans on the 2nd down play was the tackle made on Maples. Needless to say, cornerback Justin Simmons learned from fellow defensive back, Spenser Rositano who was knocked out of the game by Maples during his attempt to tackle the talented running back high. Simmons' hit was low and pictured perfect. Unfortunately for Army, the hit on Maples sent the team's leading rusher hobbling off the field and the Black Knights faced with a 3rd & 1 on the BC 29 yard line.
So with :52 to go in the contest and down 31-27, what could offensive coordinator Ian Shields have left in the arsenal that the Eagles hadn't already seen?
Well, Boston College may have seen this play a few times throughout the course of the contest, but it's execution was triple option perfect and rest became history.
From the BC 29, the formation would see Steelman under center, Dixon at his familiar fullback spot, along with Williams at the right slotback and Malcolm Brown flanked on the left wing.
Prior to the snap, Williams is sent in motion left and draws the attention of the Eagles' OLB, as Steelman faked the dive handoff to Dixon which froze one of the BC inside backers.
Steelman's 2nd fake (pitch), albeit slight (which was the same play run on the 2nd down to Maples), is to Williams, which kept the the OLB at bay. From his left guard spot, Frank Allen sealed off the other inside linebacker (see photo above), while Brown's block on the the Eagles' cornerback is the final piece to Army well executed option as Steelman then turned up field and hit the seam that had been created. The senior QB would outran the pursuit and hit paydirt for the winning score ...