As DudeSpin predicted last week, a missed PAT would cost Airborne dearly in this contest. As Eron Riley waltzed into the end zone after coming in from out of bounds - ala Don Beebe in the Bills' comeback from 35-3 in the playoffs against the Oilers (I'm not bitter) - for the 1st of his four touchdowns on the afternoon, Airborne spirits were high. But alas, a missed PAT signalled what was to come for the rest of the day - an inability to finish.
Thanks to my paid-for cable (including DVR), I was able to watch all four quarters of Airborne's epic clash against Navy. Thad Lewis looked sensational at times, but Airborne kept shooting itself in the foot. Whether it was an ill-advised penalty here, or a missed FG there, or letting a backup QB run wild against you, Airborne could never put the game out of reach. Despite being down 11 points midway through the 4th quarter, and running a wishbone offense, the Midshipmen never gave up and eventually drove down the field to set up for the game winning 40+ yard FG boot. As a sidenote, Airborne fans must weep at the news that other teams had FG kickers who could make FGs longer than 30 yards.
Nevertheless, the game showed that Airborne has heart; Airborne has talent; but Airborne has to put it all together. As one of my favorite coaches (Dick Vermeil) is apt to say: focus and finish gentlemen. Focus and finish.