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Army beat Missouri to win the Armed Forces Bowl. Five thoughts and analysis of the game, and what it all means.

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Armed Forces Bowl: 5 Things That Matter

Final Score: Army 24, Missouri 22
CFN Prediction: Missouri 27, Army 21
Line: Army -9, o/u: 54

5. The running backs came through

Missouri had the two big storylines with starting quarterback Connor Bazelak benched, and with star running back Tyler Badie opting out. As it turned out, neither thing might have mattered all that much.

More on Part One in a moment. As far as Part Two the replacements did their jobs.

Elijah Young was quick, ripping off a game-high 75 yards. Dawson Downing ran for 69 yards. QB Brady Cook was dangerous with 53 yards. Badie would’ve made more of a difference, but the Tigers averaged well over five yards per carry.

On the other side, this was the Jakobi Buchanan show.

He only ran for 68 yards and a score on 21 carries, but he was the battering ram who kept converting on fourth downs and pushed through the Mizzou defensive front all game long.

He didn’t fumble. Army didn’t turn the ball over. However, Downing …

NEXT: The most frustrating game possible – for Missouri

4. The most frustrating game possible – for Missouri

Missouri has SEC talent.

It has the better all-around players, the better athletes, and the parts that should’ve been able to push past Army – and they almost did.

If you had told the Missouri coaches that Army would outgain the Tigers by 16 rushing yards, they’d have assumed it was an easy win.

Missouri’s offensive line destroyed Army’s defensive front – almost.

There were chances to keep drives alive – but Army’s D came through on a few huge fourth downs.

There were chances in the first half to put the game away – but Army’s D came through with a few huge stops. The Tiger field goals were nice, but the halftime score should’ve been at least 24-7 and game over. Instead, three field goals kept Army alive.

There was a chance to win the game, and Missouri’s offense almost got it done with the brilliant late touchdown drive – and then Brady Cook missed a wide open two-point conversion attempt that would’ve made it a three point game.

It was all right there for the taking, but …

NEXT: Yeah, Missouri lost, and it’s okay

3. Yeah, Missouri lost, and it’s okay

It was a loss. It was a painful last second defeat when the team seemed like it had the thing won.

However, freshman QB Brady Cook played like a keeper. Thrown into the tough moment as the starter, had completed 27-of-34 passes for 238 yards and a touchdowns, and he ran nine times for 53 yards and a score. He missed a few throws – especially on the two point try late – but he didn’t turn the ball over and he kept drives alive with his legs.

The offensive line was outstanding. The rotation of backs worked. The offense moved the ball well in the first quarter and in the final moments, and the defense was able to keep the Army ground game to under four yards per carry.

It was a brutal was to end the season, but there’s the motivation going into next year around a slew of good-looking young parts.

NEXT: Army went Army and did what it had to do

2. Army went Army and did what it had to do

Yeah, Missouri was missing a slew of players and kicked off the game with a new starting backfield, but Army lost starting quarterback Christian Anderson to an ankle injury.

In a next-man-up way, Tyler Tyler threw the one touchdown pass on fourth down when the team absolutely needed it.

Army did what it had to do by doing what it normally does.

Keep moving forward, keep getting positive yards, set up a manageable third down situation, convert on a short fourth down try – the Black Knights did that all five times.

The defense was hardly stellar, but it came up with a few massive fourth down plays, it bent but didn’t break in the first half after the first Missouri drive – the field goals instead of touchdowns were a big deal – the passing game came up with just enough production to matter, and there were no turnovers and just four penalties.

Army went Army, only this time it meant a win over a Power Five program.

NEXT: Army beating an SEC team is bigger than your think

1. Army beating an SEC team is bigger than you think

Of course there’s been success at Army against Power Five programs over its long and illustrious history, but this was a moment.

The loss to Navy might have stunk, but this was a great way to end the season.

Army beat Duke 21-16 in 2017. That was the last win over a Power Five program.

It beat Wake Forest in 2016, Boston College in 2012, and Northwestern in 2011, but there weren’t any massive wins over great teams. Missouri might not have been great, but it was a 6-6 team from the SEC.

42-38 at Vanderbilt in 1990. That was the last win by Army over a team from the SEC.

Army pushed Alabama in the 1988 Sun Bowl – a 29-28 Tide win – and it beat Tennessee in 1986, and …

It’s been a long time since Army was able to get a win like this, especially on a big stage. Time and again under head coach Jeff Monken, his teams would battle hard against the big boys and just miss.

The style worked, the perfection of the craft worked, and Army just got its fifth bowl win in six tries – the third win under Monken.