SYRACUSE – It’s bigger than a football game.
Army and Syracuse demonstrated the purest meaning of sports when they came together on the field at the JMA Wireless Dome in the fourth quarter.
The score was secondary. The health of Andre Miller was paramount as Army’s medical staff attended to defensive lineman. Miller hit the turf following a collision with a teammate.
Army players first took a knee followed by the Syracuse sideline. Once Miller was stabilized, the entire Army team ran onto the field to wish Miller. Syracuse players following, forming a huge circle as a standing ovation for Miller started.
Good news. Army coach Jeff Monken said in his postgame press conference that Miller has feeling in his extremities and was responding to him on the field. Miller was taken to Upstate Medical Center on the Syracuse campus. Army is expected to provide an update on Miller soon.
“That was the first time I’ve been a part of something like that with the opposite team coming out and supporting us,” Army senior running back Jakobi Buchanan said. “It definitely meant a lot especially in the course in the heat of battle.”
“The health and welfare of our players is the most important thing in our program and I know Dino (Babers, Syracuse coach) feels the same way,” Monken said. “I think there is just a respect in competition for the guys that are out there on the field playing the game. There’s enough respect for the way that game was going. We were battling and slugging it out. I think our guys were anxious to get out there and be around Andre and put their hands on him and tell him they love him. I think the Syracuse players coming out there with just a respect for the game and our guys. We appreciated that for sure.”
The bad news for Army was that the Black Knights were handed a 29-16 loss by Syracuse after building a 10-3 halftime. After controlling the clock in the first half, including an opening touchdown drive of nine minutes and 25 seconds, time of possession and the game’s momentum was flipped in the second half.
Army’s first 16 second-half plays produced minus 4 yards. While Syracuse and quarterback Garrett Shrader discovered some rhythm with two straight touchdown drives in the third quarter as the Orange (4-0) rolled up 26 straight unanswered points.
Syracuse’s defense sacked Bryson Daily four times. Army’s only score of the second half was an 80-yard touchdown pass from Daily to Noah Short with 2:32 left.
“They have a really good offense,” Army linebacker Leo Lowin said. “We saw that in the last couple of games they played, we watched it on film. In the second half, they kind of kicked in stride a little bit with tempo. It was quick. They were moving fast and they found some weaknesses that we haven’t really worked on. By the time we adjusted, they got a couple of points on the board.”