ANN ARBOR, MI, (CBS NEWS) – For the second time in as many seasons, Army West Point nearly pulled off the impossible. Last season, the Black Knights forced then-No. 5 Oklahoma to overtime before losing 28-21. This time around, Jeff Monken’s surging Army squad came up just short against No. 7 Michigan in a similar situation. In a game of fumbles, it was a strip sack that gave the Wolverines a 24-21 double-overtime victory in the Big House.
The last time Army won a road game against an AP top-10 opponent was 1963 when they topped No. 9 Penn State. Coincidentally enough, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was born in 1963.
While Army should be proud of its efforts, this was a concerning game for Michigan. Harbaugh’s team played one of the sloppiest games it could have against the Black Knights, fumbling the ball four times and losing three of them. Michigan also had nine penalties for 58 yards. Among them was an offsides call in overtime that gave Army a new set of downs. Connor Slomka ran for the go-ahead touchdown two plays later.
Additionally, the Wolverines were terrible offensively, averaging 2.4 per rush and twice failing to convert key fourth downs. The first failed attempt — a fourth-and-2 at the Army 19-yard line — could have instead been a field goal attempt that would have given them a 17-14 lead.
Ironically, Michigan’s consistently best play during on third-and-long situations. The Wolverines were 9-of-16 on third downs. However, quarterback Shea Patterson missed some wide open throws that could have given his team a much larger lead. In the end, though, Michigan’s defense came through just enough to survive and advance.