Army’s struggles continue in late loss to WKU

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Army is off this weekend so I finally have some time to look back and post some photos. I apologize for the lack of updates here this season, I fell behind and have been out hiking and taking photos almost every weekend, so it’s tough to catch up here. That said, Army’s season is winding down with two more games left against winless, 0-9 Hawaii and… Navy. Here’s a look back at Army’s rough last-second loss to Western Kentucky last weekend.

I guess the most memorable thing from this game was Army’s uniforms, which were similar to the ones they wore against Navy in 2008 — a black top with camo letters, a camo helmet and matching pants. I personally really like that look, probably more so than the full ACU camo they memorably wore in 2010 against VMI. Army also went with a camo look at Air Force two weeks ago. Whether you like them or not, believe me, these are far and away the most popular uniforms when it comes to the players and cadets. The team loves putting on camo, so it was nice to see the program bring this back in 2013.

Of course, it didn’t help. Army lost to a 2-8 Air Force team despite a strong first half and then gave away a win to Western Kentucky with 32 seconds left. Army is now 3-7 and, with the loss to WKU, they are officially no longer eligible for a bowl game.

Sal from the Times Herald-Record had an interview with Army’s athletic director, Boo Corrigan, in which Corrigan more or less said head coach Rich Ellerson’s job is safe for now. (Somewhat related, it’s worth noting the absolutely shameful, disgraceful move by the Record this month to fire it’s entire photo staff along with three longtime editors. For those of you in the Hudson Valley who have enjoyed the Record’s coverage of Army football over the years, you have the very talented Chet Gordon to thank. It was a sad day on Saturday when I walked into the photo workroom and Chet wasn’t there.)

But luckily, Sal is still around, and he asked Corrigan, bluntly, if Ellerson needs to beat Navy to keep his job.

“We are going to sit down and evaluate the program like we did the last two years,” Corrigan said. “It’s no different than the way we have handled ourselves since we’ve been here.”

Anyway, back to the photos. A cool autumn day featured the parachute team, a helicopter fly-over and generally nice weather. It was senior day at West Point, so the team’s long line of seniors were honored alongside family and friends. Here’s Raymond Maples, whose season didn’t turn out as planned due to a groin injury:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

The parachute team arrives:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

And the team takes the field through a tunnel of cadets and academy leaders:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Army tried some trickery on the opening kickoff with kind of a short squib kick, and it actually worked — the Black Knights recovered the ball:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Except it was called back due to a penalty, and WKU safely caught the ball on the ensuing kick.

Here’s a look at the uniforms, with Hayden Pierce (9) on the right:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Army’ trademark play cards:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Western Kentucky’s punt coverage:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Army began its drive from deep in their own zone with a handoff to Matt Gianchinta:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Here’s Angel Santiago with a run to the left:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

A section of the Corps wore white polar bear hats. I have no idea why, but it was worth a photo:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

During the first half, I went up to the Superintendent’s Lounge to take a portrait of someone and brought along my 400mm lens, which gave me this opportunity to work in some cadets on a nice late autumn background:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Down below, I had a different angle of the fall foliage:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Elvis was in the house:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

I got a nice sequence here of a catch and run in front of Army’s Shaq Tolbert:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Finally we reached halftime, which included a nice speech from West Point’s new superintendent, Lieutenant General Robert L. Caslen Jr., who spoke about veterans and the military. Cadets then opened up this field-length American flag during some patriotic music… I had hurt my back a day earlier at the gym, so I wasn’t really set on climbing up to the root of Michie for a photo. Instead, I walked up to the top of the east stands and tried to capture the flag along with the Corps and other smaller flags:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

So, it came out OK. Nothing to special, but it does show Lusk Reservoir, a bunch of flags, cadets, the small uniform flag patch, the orange hills, most of Michie…

Western Kentucky’s Antonio Andrews really ran through Army all day — I believe he’s the No. 1 rusher in the nation — and so I made sure to get a few of him:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

After falling behind early, Western Kentucky chipped away in the second half

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

The sun came out late in the game, making for some nice shots of QB Brandon Doughty:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Here’s Ellerson on the sideline:NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Finally, Army’s Terry Baggett ran through traffic and scored to put Army ahead, 17-14, about halfway through the fourth quarter. Baggett went nuts (evidently he’s been working out) and Army looked like it was headed for win No. 4:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army
NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Western Kentucky took over and Army recovered a fumble almost immediately:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

So, about four minutes to go, Army ahead and driving. I looked up at the scoreboard and thought, “I need to get my wide angle lens for some celebration photos.” I walked around the field, from the Corps to the Army bench to grab my lens, and by the time I got there… guess what? Western Kentucky was on the doorstep of at the very least tying the game with a field goal. Then, a huge pass to Willie McNeal (below) setup the inevitable go-ahead touchdown:

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Western Kentucky pretty much walked into the endzone on a goalline run, and that was it. Army trailed by four with 32 seconds left, and suddenly, I didn’t need the wide angle lens anymore.

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army

Later on, I found a number of my images made it up around the web, including one on NFL.com:

nfl

Here’s Baggett screaming on USA Today:

All the college football action in Week 11

And one of Antonio Andrews on The Tennessean:

Hilltoppers run for winning TD in final minute to beat Army - The Tennessean - tennessean.com

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