These Army-Navy games earned their stripes

December 07, 1990

The 21-21 tie in 1926 is generally acknowledged as the best game in the Army-Navy series. A rundown on what are arguably the best five of the 90 games played:

* 1926, Chicago: Army 21, Navy 21 -- Before 110,000 in Soldier Field, the largest crowd ever to watch a college football game, unbeaten Navy claimed the national championship by tying once-beaten (by Notre Dame) Army. The Middies took a 14-0 lead, but the Cadets, with Lighthorse Harry Wilson and Chris Cagle leading the charge, surged ahead in the third quarter, 21-14. At dusk, with the field framed by piles of snow, Alan Shapley scored untouched on a reverse on fourth-and-three from Army's 8-yard line. Tom Hamilton, later to become Navy's coach, dropkicked his third extra point of the day for the tie.

* 1946, Philadelphia: Army 21, Navy 18 -- Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard concluded their college football careers before a gathering of 102,000. The game climaxed three years of invincibility for Army, which had won the national championship the previous two years and finished second to Notre Dame in '46. Navy, which entered the game with seven straight defeats, trailed at halftime, 21-6, as Blanchard and Davis accounted for all three Cadet TDs. The Middies drew within 21-18 and had a fourth down on Army's 3-yard line when time ran out.

* 1954, Philadelphia: Navy 27, Army 20 -- Army was the top offensive team in the country. Navy led in defense and was second only to the Cadets in offense. Quarterbacked by the man who later would become their coach, George Welsh, the Middies were known as the "Team Named Desire" and went on to beat Mississippi in the Sugar Bowl. Welsh passed for three TDs and ran for another. The Middies stopped Army on its 8-yard line late in the game.

* 1963, Philadelphia: Navy 21, Army 15 -- This was the year that Roger Staubach won the Heisman Trophy and coach Wayne Hardin won his fifth straight over Army. The game was postponed a week after President Kennedy was assassinated. Pat Donnelly tallied the last of his three TDs on a 20-yard run for a 21-7 Navy lead, but Army's Rollie Stichweh scored on a keeper and then ran for a two-point conversion to make it 21-15 with six minutes left. Do-it-all Stichweh recovered Army's onsides kick at midfield and the Cadets marched to Navy's 3-yard line when time ran out.

* 1989, East Rutherford, N.J.: Navy 19, Army 17 -- The Middies had dropped three straight to Army and were suffering through their seventh straight losing campaign with a 2-8 record. Although junior Mike Mayweather gained 84 yards to become Army's all-time rushing leader with 2,961 yards, the Army offense that had averaged 360.5 yards, fourth best in the country, was held to 208. The game, the first in the series ever played at Giants Stadium, had five lead changes. After junior Frank Schenk kicked a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining, Navy inched back into the lead in the series, 42-41-7.

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