Army 21, Rice 21
Sep. 30, 1995
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) _ J. Parker kicked a 44-yard field goal as time expired Saturday, capping a furious last-minute drive and giving Army a 21-21 tie with Rice.
Trailing 21-7 early in the third quarter, Army (1-2-1) rebounded on two field goals by Parker and a 5-yard touchdown run by Steve Carpenter to salvage a game the Black Knights seemingly had lost.
Rice (1-2-1), coming off a 52-7 drubbing by LSU, took the second-half kickoff and scored in just 2:11 to take a two-touchdown lead. Josh LaRocca hit Jeff Venghaus with passes of 14 and 18 yards on the first two plays to move the ball quickly to the Army 33. Five plays later, Keilone Gordon scored on a 14-yard run and Army was reeling.
With a near-capacity crowd of 39,069 on hand, including ``Doc'' Blanchard, Glenn Davis and 50 other members of Army's national championship teams of 1944-45, the Black Knights refused to give in.
Parker kicked a 42-yard field goal to pull Army within 21-10. The Army defense forced a quick punt, and the Black Knights came back again, converting two third-down plays and another on fourth-and-1 before Carpenter scored on a 5-yard run.
Ronnie McAda's pass fell incomplete on the 2-point conversion attempt, but Rice was whistled for what turned out to be a critical holding penalty and Carpenter ran the ball in on the second try to make it 21-18 with 13 seconds left in the third quarter.
Army gambled four times on fourth down in the final quarter and failed three times. But the one the Black Knights did convert came in the final minute _ McAda gained 6 yards on a fourth-and-4 play _ and set up the tying field goal.
Army took the opening kickoff and marched 65 yards to a 7-0 lead, converting four consecutive third-down plays along the way.
Ron Thomas keyed the drive with two clutch third-down plays. He caught an 8-yard pass from McAda on third-and-7, Army's only completion of the first half, and gained another 8 yards on a pitch to the Rice 32. John Conroy, who gained 166 yards on 24 carries the previous week against 18th-ranked Washington, scored on an 8-yard run.
The Owls, who entered the game with a dismal third-down conversion rate of 21 percent (8-for-38), converted five of six against Army in the first half and gained a 14-7 lead at intermission.
LaRocca, mixing the pass and option to near perfection, led Rice to the tying score early in the second quarter. He gained 14 yards on a third-and-13 play to keep the drive going early, and hit fullback Spencer George for 13 yards to the Army 20. After a 5-yard penalty, LaRocca found split end Thad Bridges all alone at the 5 and he ran into the end zone untouched with 11:54 remaining.
Army, unable to generate any offense after the opening drive, fell behind when Rice got the ball back. LaRocca, who was 10-for-16 for 115 yards in the opening half, hit Jamey Whitlock out of the backfield for 18 yards and executed a nifty, last-second pitch left to Rodd Newhouse for 21 yards before Whitlock scored on a 1-yard run with 4:11 to go.