For a team that wasn’t supposed to be there, they played like they belonged, providing the crowd of 39k with a thriller. The Mean Green of North Texas played their hearts out fighting back from a 21 point hole but came up short. They forced overtime on a drive that stalled at the end of regulation on a 37-yard field goal by Trevor More with .28 seconds remaining to make the score 31-31. In overtime sometimes it’s the luck of the draw choosing heads or tail. Army won the toss and put together a determined drive that faced a 4th and goal from the 3-yard line. There really was no decision to make, it was do or die time, and Jordan Asberry took the pitch into the fun zone for the game winner giving his team the upper hand 38-31.
North Texas had their opportunity to match, but miss fired on all cylinders. A couple of passes went awry before they ran out of bullets; the last desperate one was intercepted by Elijah Riley. But the gunslingers from North Texas went down firing they just didn’t hit the bullseye. However, they left it all out there on the field giving the fans their money’s worth and optimism for the future. Last year they won only one game this year they went 5-8 it appears they are heading in the right direction under the leadership of first-year head coach Seth Litrell. The easy points or the difference makers nearly cost Army the game they failed to convert their extra point attempts, had they, the game would have never made it to overtime. We all know the phrase would-a, could-a, should-a.
The game wasn’t billed as a thriller it was a rematch of two teams that played earlier in the season with North Texas laying the wood on Army 35 – 18, despite that the Mean Green wasn’t supposed to be there. They got into the bowl game because no other FBS teams were eligible by record so they resorted to team B based on their Academic Progress Rate score not their record of 5-8. North Texas got on the scoreboard first consequently that was the only time they held the lead. Amazingly with all the spread offenses and fancy pass first teams in the country Army only threw four passes in the entire game.
They rushed 74 times and averaged a whopping 6.48 yards per carry. The Black Knights ran for 480 yards. Donell Woolfork had 119 and two touchdowns. They passed only when they absolutely need to, that was on the winning drive when they threw it twice. The main one to keep the drive alive on 3rd and 8 when Quarterback Bradshaw hit Edgar Poe for 15 yards to pick up the first down allowing them to keep the ball. That was perhaps the most important play of the game. The game featured some big plays Tyler Campbell took one to the house for 70 yards he didn’t even have to finish the zig and zag he just zagged his way downfield leaving others behind. Bradshaw the games main man (MVP) ran the ball 18 times for 129 yards, one a beautiful 65-yard touchdown. In the illustrious history of the Cotton Bowl Stadium, no other quarterback has run for as many yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Jeremy Timpf was credited with 15 tackles 12 solo. Corner Back Elijah Riley finished the game with 2 interceptions none more important than the last. If you had to pick the biggest issue for North Texas it was their defense couldn’t get off the field Army converted 10 third down attempts into a new series of downs. Drives like that are total momentum killers. However, give them credit they made the stop at the right time late in the fourth quarter when Army was going in for the kill on 4th down deep in scoring territory. Had they picked up the first down it would have been lights out. It was that stand that allowed them to get into scoring territory to kick the field goal that took the game into overtime. When they reached their destination they had to hick ups a false start and a holding penalty which put the Green Machine in reverse taking them out of Kicker Moore’s range then on 2nd and 23 they didn’t pick up the first but got 14 yards back on a successful pass that put them back in range.
Football is really the ultimate team sports one can’t get over anxious the other can’t go right when the play is designed left and as a team, you have to know how to close out a game. North Texas made it an entertaining thriller but ran out of time and gas.
The 2016 Heart of Dallas Bowl victory goes to the ARMY BLACK KNIGHTS 38-31