Navy had just taken the lead on Army with 12:42 remaining last December, surely the final uppercut in Army’s crazy notion of snapping its forever losing streak to the Midshipmen. This would be the worst of them all, though, the 15th straight against a Navy despite a 14-0 third-quarter lead.

That’s when along the Army sideline, quarterback Ahmad Ali Bradshaw tapped defensive coordinator Jay Bateman on the shoulder. Just get one more stop, Bradshaw told him.

In other words Bradshaw, as Navy’s demons crept across the field and threatened to enjoy another tearful final-seconds sideline procession, had forged another plan, one that likely descended from his climb out of the South Side of Chicago’s gritty streets. I will get us this go-ahead touchdown, Bateman. Make sure your guys do your part.

And so Bradshaw did just that, taking Army 80 yards in 12 plays elapsing almost seven minutes and capped by his 9-yard TD scoot off the right side with six minutes left. Army forced a punt on the ensuing drive and Navy never regained possession as Bradshaw and company ate up clock and yardage to cap a 21-17 victory. The was streak over at 14 games as Army fans flooded the field with tearful glee.

Join the conversation at and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra 

To ask Army folks, nobody on that field in Baltimore was surprised by Bradshaw’s execution amid one of the tightest spots in recent West Point football history.

“There is something about him that when he steps into the huddle, those guys believe good things are going to happen for our team,″ Army coach Jeff Monken said. “There is a leadership and poise about him that is uncommon.″

“He is the calmest person I know,″ added running back Kell Walker, “especially coming from the environment that he did. Intellectually, he’s the smartest quarterback I’ve ever been around.″

Tackle Brett Toth put it another way.

“You could tell he’s in the backfield without looking," he said. "You can feel his command and his presence.″

Such is praise reserved for the best of quarterbacks. Only the very best step into a huddle with 10 cultish believers, without a bit of doubt or uncertainty sifting into their minds.

Army and Bradshaw will have a heck of a time topping last year’s breakthrough 8-5 season, the Navy win followed by a victory over North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

That said, Army has won its first two games to start 2017 and entering Saturday’s game at Ohio State has a real shot at even bigger things, including victories over Navy and Air Force and its first Commander in Chief’s Trophy in 21 years.

And they have that shot because they have Bradshaw, a senior, under center.

“One thing that coach stresses is that winning games doesn’t get any easier this season,” Bradshaw said. “In fact they get harder.″

The star quarterback preaching against complacency is the kind of tone that helps coaches sleep at night. Don’t expect Army to get giddy over its big season, only its second winning season since 1996.

Bradshaw, who has rushed for a team-best 324 yards while averaging 9.5 yards per carry this season, won’t let them.

Yet while Bradshaw will talk all night about the team and his teammates, he is reticent to peel back a layer or two about himself. He is perfectly polite and accommodating, just not a walking billboard.

In that sense, Ahmad Ali Bradshaw is the polar opposite of his middle namesake, Muhammad Ali. Bradshaw’s description of his hero, however, clears up the connection.

“He always stood up for what he believed in,″ Bradshaw said. “I think about him all the time.″

Is there a more powerful tool in sports than belief? Certainly not on the second Saturday in December when Army gasped, and Ahmad Bradshaw cut a deal with the defensive coordinator.

Get the latest Buckeye football news. Sign up for the BuckeyeXtra newsletter.