Army QB Trent Steelman Takes Loss to Navy the Hardest
Watching the final minute of the Army-Navy game truly showed what the agony of defeat looks like.
To paint the picture, Army is trailing 17-13 and inside the Navy’s red zone as they have a chance to score to take the lead with just over a minute to play. Army quarterback Trent Steelman went to hand off the ball to fullback Larry Dixon, but on the exchange the ball was bobbled on the exchange leading to another Army turnover as Navy recovered the fumble.
As Navy came back on the field for its victory formation, CBS cameras followed Steelman to the sidelines as he looked devastated. Steelman crunched over with his hands over his eyes crying. Watching this image one can’t help feeling bad for him and his Black Knight teammates.
This image of Steelman heartbroken and distraught over yet another loss to the Midshipmen will be one of the lasting memories of the 2012 college football season.
As Navy took their final kneel down to clinch the 113th installment of the Army-Navy game, the Midshipmen had won their 11th game in a row over Army by a score of 17-13. Through tight games or blowouts, Navy has made of habit of beating Army over the last decade.
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The Midshipmen can hook an anchor to the Commander in Chief Trophy and bring it to Annapolis for a record 13th time after a two year stint in Air Force. Before Navy started its 11-game winning streak, the longest one in the series, which dates to 1890, was five games for either team.
Trailing all game and outplayed by Army, many people watching the game in person and on television thought this time was going to finally be the year Army was going to beat Navy. After a missed field goal by Army, Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds led the Midshipmen down the field to score what would prove to be the final touchdown.
Army had 26 first downs to Navy’s 18, 418 yards of total offense to Navy’s 297 and 370 yards rushing. The difference in the game was turnovers. Army has been tortured by turnovers all season long and in this game it was no different as Army had three fumbles to Navy’s one.
Steelman felt the loss more than most. His resume as Army’s quarterback speaks for itself: he was the first true Cadets freshman to start a season at quarterback in the modern era; he’s the only player to throw and run for more than 2,000 yards; his 16 wins were most by an Army quarterback since Ronnie McAda from 1994 to 1996; and he finished his career ranked in the top five in program history in rushing yards, total yards, and rushing touchdowns. He surpassed Glen Davis, Army half back in the 1940s, in the most touchdowns.
Steelman wanted to win this game more than anyone else. His first two years, Navy proved too much for Army on the field by defeating this 17-3 in 2009, 31-17 in 2010. In 2011, Army lost 27-21 in another close battle, but 2012 was heartbreaking for Army and their fans losing 17-13.
As he walked off the field – and jubilant Navy celebrated on its side – Steelman was hugged by Niumatalolo, who told CBS Sports’ Tracy Wolfson right after the game that he was looking for Steelman, and shared words with Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the Chief of Staff of the Army. Inconsolable, Steelman headed off to the locker room.
While Army drops to 2-10 with the loss, Navy improved to 8-4 and will play Arizona State in the Kraft Hunger Bowl on December 29th.
This year’s installment of the Army-Navy Game was truly the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.