The following is written with abject apologies to Charles Dickens.
“It was the best of times; it might have been the worst of times. It was the age of Jeff Monken's wisdom; it was the age of foolish Texas-San Antonio penalties. If Dickens had been writing about Saturday's Army-Texas-San Antonio game instead of Paris and London in the 18th century, he might well have ended his description of Army's 28-16 victory by writing, “it is a far, far better thing that Cade Ballard and Tyhier Tyler have done than they had ever done before.”
What Ballard and Tyler did on Saturday in the Alamadome was lead the Black Knights to an unlikely but convincing victory. Ballard, a five-foot-9-inch 205 pound freshman had taken exactly zero snaps as a college football player coming into the game. Tyler, a sophomore, listed generously at 5-8 and 185 pounds (the generous part being the 5-8) had matched him in game experience.
And yet, they were Army's quarterbacks against a team that had stayed in the game a week ago at 15th-ranked Brigham Young until the final minute before losing, 27-20.
This game would have looked like a tough out if Jabari Laws—the starter against UTSA a year ago—Christian Anderson or Jemel Jones, the starters in Army's first five games this season, had been available.
None was in San Antonio Saturday. Maurice Bellan, who had played well in one series late in the tooth-pull 14-9 win over Citadel a week ago, was on the sideline but Monken decided to go with the kids.
Tyler rushed the ball for 95 yards on 19 carries, including a 37-yard sprint to the end zone. Ballard had the one and only Army pass completion of the day, but it was massive, a 53-yarder to Camden Harrison, who played for the first time all season and turned a good play into a great one after catching the ball at the UTSA 40 by sprinting down the sideline to the 10.
A roughing-the-passer penalty on the play put the ball at the five and Ballard jumped up from the late hit and ran right on the next play and into the end zone. Read more.