Army-Navy Game 2012: Fumble Dooms Army, Navy Retains Commander-in-Chief's Trophy
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Turnovers cost Army the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy against Navy in 2012.
The end result was an 11th consecutive victory for the Midshipmen over the Black Knights, 17-13.
What occurred throughout this year's contest epitomizes the outcome of virtually every football game. Turnovers impact a game at all levels and especially fumbles when two triple-option offenses square off.
On the day, Army lost three fumbles and Navy coughed it up three times losing one.
Unsurprisingly, multiple turnovers then loosely translates into a defensive slugfest as well. Each defense locked it down when backed up inside its own red zone because the offenses were consistently finding solid field position after the turnovers.
So, with 715 total yards gained between the offenses, it was reasonable to expect a fairly high-scoring game. Well, factor in only 22 passes being attempted and the explosiveness was held in check by play-calling, turnovers and defense.
Interestingly enough, Army outgained Navy 418-297, had more first downs (26-18), was slightly better on third down and averaged almost two more yards per rushing attempt.
Unfortunately for the Black Knights, the final lost fumble occurred during the most critical of moments. Senior quarterback Trent Steelman had a bad exchange with running back Larry Dixon inside Navy's red zone.
That said, this takes us back to the original point about how every football game is determined.
Turnovers, especially multiple ones, are just too overwhelming for any team to overcome. Regardless of how efficient an offense may be, providing the opposition with additional possessions typically results in a loss.
What aspect impacts a football game the most?
Saturday was evidence of that, because Army had a chance in the final minutes.
Fumbles, though, are excessively more damaging and demoralizing than interceptions to a certain degree. At least when the quarterback is intercepted, the field position does not immediately change in favor of the defense—unless a pick is returned for nice yards or a score.
And because of that instant field position impact, when multiple occur to a run-heavy offense such as Army, it's no surprise Navy wins despite losing on the stat sheet.
Therefore, the Black Knights must wait another year for a chance to line up against and try to beat the Midshipmen.
Army has not defeated the Naval Academy since a 26-17 victory in 2001. And after Army came close but fell in 2011, it's safe to say Navy knows how to win the nail-biters in this historic college football rivalry.
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