LANDOVER, Md. – Playing his last game before he goes to SEAL training, Alexander Teich absolutely, positively did not want to be known as a member of the Navy team that finally lost to Army.
The fullback was out there returning kickoffs, something he hadn’t done all year. He was running over to the stands to fire up the Brigade of Midshipmen that took up a quarter of the lower bowl of the Washington Redskins’ stadium.
It took a bit more suspense than usual, but Teich and Navy made it a perfect 10 against Army, winning 27-21 Saturday in the 112th edition of one of the biggest rivalries in sports.
“I’m an emotional person – I don’t know if you guys noticed yet,” the senior captain said with a smile. “I was amped. You don’t want to let that ball drop in on the senior class, and I was going to do whatever it took.”
With President Barack Obama presiding over the first Army-Navy game to be played in the vicinity of the nation’s capital, the Mids (5-7) got a pair of touchdown runs from quarterback Kriss Proctor and one from Teich to win their 10th straight in the rivalry.
At least this one was close. Navy had won the other nine by at least a dozen points. The Mids needed a pair of fourth-quarter field goals from Jon Teague and a fourth-down stop in their own territory before fans could start chanting “10 more years!”
It eased the sting – and then some – of Navy’s disappointing season. The Mids had a streak of eight straight bowl appearances come to an end this year.
For Army’s graduating class, the sting won’t go away, even if they did finally make a game of it.
“ ‘Almost’ – it doesn’t work. But it’s something I have to live with now,” Army senior linebacker Steven Erzinger said. “ ‘Almost’ is my legacy now.”