Final Statistics: Army 16, Vanderbilt 13 (OT)
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Alex Carlton kicked a 42-yard field goal in overtime, after Andrew Rodriguez forced a fumble on Vanderbilt's first possession, as Army beat the Commodores, 16-13, Saturday in front of a season-best crowd of 34,357 fans at Michie Stadium.
Army won the toss in overtime and elected to play defense. The Commodores were driving when Rodriguez knocked the ball out Warren Norman's hands at the one-yard line and out of the end zone, forcing a touchback.
The Black Knights ran the ball three times before calling on Carlton. The sophomore's kick hit off the left upright but went through as Army improved to 3-3.
Last week against Tulane, Carlton missed a potential game-winning kick. Saturday, he had no such problems, making the game-winning field goal and bringing the Corps of Cadets out of the Michie Stadium stands and onto the field for a celebration.
Army, playing an SEC team for the first time since 1996, improved to 6-1 all-time in overtime.
The game was tied, 3-3, following three quarters of play before each team posted 10 fourth-quarter points and forced overtime.
The Commodores gained 13 yards on first down, no gain on second and appeared to be driving for a touchdown when Rodriguez swooped in and forced the fumble.
Malcolm Brown rushed for no gain and freshman quarterback Trent Steelman carried twice, setting up Carlton's heroics.
Rodriguez made a game-high 13 tackles and helped lead a defensive effort that kept Vanderbilt's offensive out of the end zone.
Steelman completed a career-best seven passes for 47 yards and was the leading rusher with 97 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. Patrick Mealy ran for 48 yards on 10 carries and Brown gained 39 on 11 rushes.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Army went on top early in the second period. After a Vanderbilt punt, the Black Knights used 10 plays to go 22 yards and the first of three Carlton field goals. Steelman gained 15 yards on the possession before Carlton kicked a career-long 51-yard field goal.
Vanderbilt tied the game to start the second half when Ryan Fowler booted a 19-yard field goal with 11:12 left in the quarter.
Army went back on top with a time-consuming touchdown drive. Following a Vanderbilt punt, the Black Knights marched 80 yards in 13 plays during a possession that lasted 6:33 and led into the fourth quarter. Steelman capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. He called his own number, was initially stopped at the line of scrimmage, but continued moving and punched into the end zone as his helmet came off. Carlton's PAT made it 10-3 with 14:14 left in the game.
Vanderbilt quickly quieted the large crowd when Warren Norman returned the ensuing kickoff for a 76-yard touchdown and the second tie of the ball game(10-10).
Army was driving on its next possession but was stopped on fourth down at the Vanderbilt 20. On the Commodores' first play, Donovan Travis stepped in front of a Larry Smith pass and returned the interception 36 yards to the seven-yard line. Carlton's second field goal, from 23 yards, put Army ahead 13-10 with 7:33 to go.
Each team traded punts and Vanderbilt got the ball back with 3:48 left in the contest. The Commodores drove to the three-yard line where it was first-and-goal. Stephen Anderson and Travis teamed for a tackle on no gain. Vanderbilt had a touchdown called back before of offensive pass interference. An incomplete pass and false start penalty forced Fowler to kick a 41-yard field goal with 00:52 left to play.
Army threw two passes on the final possession of regulation but both fell incomplete as the game went to overtime.
Army will look to go above .500 as the team heads to Philadelphia, Pa., to take on Temple on Saturday, Oct. 17, at Lincoln Financial Field at 1 p.m.