Coverage: ESPN Classic
1:00 PM ET, September 8, 2007
Michie Stadium, West Point, NY
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) -- Carson Williams came on in relief and helped save Army.
Williams threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Justin Larson on the first play of overtime and the Army defense held Rhode Island out of the end zone to give the Black Knights a 14-7 victory on Saturday.
Army snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating the Rams, a team from the Championship Subdivision, formerly Division I-AA.
Williams entered the game in the second quarter for David Pevoto, who sprained his left ankle and did not return. Pevoto, who began last season as the starter before losing the job to Williams for the final four games, regained the starter's role during training camp.
"Half of me was ready," Williams said. "I was into the game the entire game up until that point. ... Still, any time you go into a football game for the first play you're going to have butterflies and part of me definitely was nervous. But I stuck with it and finished the game."
Williams was 12-for-20 for 148 yards. Pevoto was 9-for-13 for 82 yards and an interception.
"I think Carson is very, very cool under pressure," said first-year coach Stan Brock, who earned his first victory. "I think he relishes that type of situation. Again, his makeup and the character that he has, the fact that he went back out there and worked so hard after being named No. 2, speaks volumes about the guy."
After Army took the lead in OT, Derek Cassidy hit Shawn Leonard for 21 yards and a first down at the Army 4. But the Black Knights defense held Rhode Island for the next four plays, with Caleb Campbell driving Jimmy Hughes out of bounds on the final play of the game at the 2.
That set off a wild celebration by the Black Knights and their classmates.
"We got to get in the end zone on the first play on the 4-yard line," Rams coach Tim Stowers said. "They made a good play and then they made a good play when we went outside too. On the last play, well, we scored on that play earlier, but they made some changes and did things different that time around. They made a good call."
Joe Casey ran 27 times for 107 yards for Rhode Island.
Rhode Island led 7-0 on Tim Allen's 5-yard run with 1:37 remaining in the first half. The Rams were attempting to topple Army, a Bowl Subdivision team, and earn its first win over a I-A opponent under Stowers, who took over in 2000.
Army tied it on their first possession of the second half on Mike Viti's 2-yard run that capped a 52-yard drive highlighted by Williams' 30-yard pass to Larson.
"He did a great job," Army fullback Mike Viti said. "When Carson was inserted in the offense, the offense didn't lose a step; it might have even gained a step. That's important for a backup."
With the game tied at 7 and Army driving with less than 30 seconds remaining, Kirk Blackmon sacked Williams from behind and the ball popped loose as the quarterback went down. Carl Daniel dove on the bounding ball, giving the Rams possession at the Army 47.
But Rhode Island ran only two plays, with John Wright sacking Rams quarterback Derek Cassidy with less than 14 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime.
"It felt like we let one get away," Cassidy said. "It's all about turnovers. We missed opportunities and killed ourselves on that last drive. We've just been shooting ourselves in the foot. I mean it's tough to win in general much less against a D-I team, but we beat ourselves really."
Cassidy went 11-for-13 for 145 yards for Rhode Island.
It was the second consecutive season Army won an overtime game in its home opener. The Black Knights won two overtime games last season.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-18||6-15|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||1-1|
|TD||01:37||Tim Allen 5 Yd Run (Bryan Giannecchini Kick)||7||0|
|TD||10:22||Mike Viti 2 Yd Run (Adam Demarco Kick)||7||7|
|TD||Justin Larson 25 Yd Pass From Carson Williams (Adam Demarco Kick)||7||14|