Army 16, Vanderbilt 13, OT
Carlton kicked a 42-yard field goal in overtime Saturday to give Army a 16-13 victory over Vanderbilt, just a week after missing a potential game-winner against Tulane.
"It was the complete opposite feeling that I had last week," Carlton said. "After it went in, I don't know, it got kind of crazy down there. Everybody was hitting me on the head. It was just a great feeling."
The field goal, which hit the left upright, was Carlton's third of the game. He also kicked a 51-yarder in the second quarter, Army's longest field goal since 1994.
"I'm not surprised it came down to the last play and then some, but also not surprised we found a way to win," Army coach Rich Ellerson said.
With the win, the Black Knights (3-3) matched their victory total from each of the last three seasons. It was Army?s first win over a BCS opponent since 2006, and it delighted the 34,357 fans at Michie Stadium, including Gen. David H. Petraeus, leader of the U.S. Central Command who was celebrating his 35th class reunion at West Point.
"We're a program on the verge of tipping the right way," junior linebacker Stephen Anderson said. "This was the best true-team win that we've had this season."
Vanderbilt (2-4) forced the game into overtime when Ryan Fowler hit a 41-yard field goal with less than 52 seconds remaining for a 13-13 tie. Quarterback Larry Smith went 4-for-7 for 79 yards on that drive, but Vanderbilt had a potential touchdown called back because of offensive pass interference by Udom Umoh. It was the second would-be Commodores TD negated by a penalty, and Vanderbilt was penalized 12 times for 99 yards.
"We had penalties, and we were very inconsistent in our execution," Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said. "When we got big plays, somehow we figured out a way to get a penalty to bring it back."
The Commodores' opening possession of overtime fell short when Andrew Rodriguez forced Warren Norman to fumble at the 1-yard line, with the ball falling into the end zone for a touchback.
"I was chasing him from behind, and he popped through a gap," Rodriguez said. "And I think he thought he was in. It looked like he let up a little bit, so I just attacked the ball and it came out and rolled through the back of the end zone."
Smith finished 11-for-24 with 144 yards and two interceptions.
Quarterback Trent Steelman led Army with 97 yards rushing on 25 carries.
Army opened the scoring with that 51-yard field goal with 6:22 remaining in the first half.
Vandy threatened on its opening drive of the second half, with Smith's 18-yard pass to John Cole placing the Commodores at Army's 5-yard line. But the Black Knights kept Vanderbilt out of the end zone as the Commodores tied the game at 3 with Fowler's 19-yard field goal.
Both teams saved their offense for the fourth quarter.
Steelman surged into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown just 46 seconds into the final quarter for a 10-3 Army lead.
"I have to say that was one of the craziest touchdown runs I've had," Steelman said. "I had everybody pushing me left and right trying to find my way into the end zone."
Army, however, was forced to kick from its own 15 after Jason Johnson removed his helmet in celebration, earning a 15-yard penalty. That proved costly as Norman returned that kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown
But Donovan Travis' fourth interception of the season set up Carlton's 23-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter to give Army a 13-10 advantage, an edge erased by Fowler's last-minute field-goal to tie it at 13.
"It's kind of a storybook ending for the week we've been through," Ellerson said. "We came back with a purpose."