If you woke up this morning and thought there was any chance Army (2-2) was going to come away with a win on the road against No. 5 Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12), then you are probably the most optimistic of Army football fans there may be. Army did not pull off a major upset of the Sooners, but boy did they come closer than anyone realistically could have imagined.
Oklahoma avoided being upset at home by Army with a 28-21 victory in overtime Saturday night. The game got off to a wild start with the two teams exchanging touchdown drives on the first five possessions of the game, with Oklahoma holding a 21-14 lead by the time the first punt was made by Army in the second quarter.
Army’s valiant effort in the second half to force the game to reach overtime was highlighted by the defensive effort to stand tall in times of need. Army intercepted a pass by Kyler Murray on Oklahoma’s first possession after halftime and capitalized with a 19-play drive covering 85 yards and ending with a short touchdown run by Andy Davidson to draw the game even at 21-21. The defense again made a big play with a fourth down stop on the goal line on Oklahoma’s ensuing possessions. The Sooners had three plays run from the five-yard line and in, but were stuffed on fourth down to give Army a chance.
Army managed to run out away from the shadows of their own end zone but was unable to take its first lead of the ballgame. With one final chance to avoid overtime, Oklahoma missed a 33-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.
Unfortunately for Army, the dream of a colossal upset that would shake up the College Football Playoff picture quickly disintegrated in overtime. Murray completed a touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb on the second play of overtime to give Oklahoma a touchdown lead, and Army’s Kelvin Hopkins Jr. had a fourth-down pass picked off by Parnell Motley to seal the win for Oklahoma.
Enough cannot be said about the effort shown by Army. It is not often a service academy gets a chance to take a highly ranked team and a playoff contender the distance, but Like the original Rocky movie, Oklahoma had just a little more to score the decision in their favor. Army dominated the time of possession with their offensive style gobbling up nearly three full quarters of the clock with 339 rushing yards and 26 first downs. Oklahoma was just too efficient early on with their offense and Army was unable to get an early stop.
Oklahoma will take a 4-0 record back into Big 12 play for the remainder of their regular season, beginning next week at home against Baylor. The Bears are 3-1 after their Big 12 opener victory against Kansas, snapping a two-game winning streak for the Jayhawks.
Army will be back on the road next week to play Buffalo. The MAC program is 4-0 after their demolishing of Rutgers on the road earlier in the day.
Army may have lost, but this is a game that will not soon be forgotten by Army fans around the country and the world.