Army scored on its first two possessions of the game, marching methodically down the field each time to forge a 14-7 first-quarter lead while the Army defense forced BC to a pair of three-and-outs.
Dixon’s 34-yard run keyed Steelman’s 1-yard opening touchdown, and after the Eagles tied it on a 1-yard run by Williams, the Black Knights scored again.
Steelman capped a nine-play, 77-yard drive with a 27-yard burst off right tackle late in the first quarter.
Army’s young defense has been overwhelmed this season to rank near the bottom of the Football Bowl Subdivision. And the offense, despite an average of 367 yards, had been plagued by turnovers. That’s a bad combination, and those weaknesses reappeared after that solid first quarter.
When a punt by Army’s Chris Boldt and a penalty against BC pinned the Eagles at their own 1, the Black Knights were poised to pounce. Instead, Williams bolted through a huge hole off right tackle, brushed off a tackle attempt by freshman Chris Carnegie, and sped 99 yards for a touchdown to tie it at 14-all.
It was the longest run in BC history and not bad for a team that was averaging just 84.5 yards rushing per game, 116th in the nation.
A bad pitch by Steelman on a third-and-1 play near midfield led to Army’s 14th lost fumble of the season, and the Eagles capitalized on Nate Freese’s 25-yard field goal to take a 17-14 lead midway through the second.
Steelman gave the ball right back again on Army’s next possession, losing a fumble at his own 38. Rettig made the Black Knights pay again, hitting Amidon for a 20-yard touchdown in the left corner with 2:46 left in the half for a 24-14 lead.
But when BC tried to run out the clock, the Army defense rallied to force a punt and the Black Knights took advantage. Grochowski kicked a career-long 46-yard field goal as time expired to make it a one-possession game and give Army a huge mental boost.
‘‘We knew it was going to be a hard one,’’ Army coach Rich Ellerson said. ‘‘Guys kept stepping up and making plays. It never occurred to us that we wouldn’t be successful.’’