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Navy Tops Army in Philadelphia

Dec. 7, 1963 - The clock ran out on Army two yards short of the decisive touchdown, and Navy scored its fifth straight victory over the cadets, 21-15, at Philadelphia’s Municipal Stadium. Shortly after the 64th game between the service academies came to its exciting finish, with thousands of the crowd of nearly 100,000 pouring on to the field, Navy announced its acceptance of an invitation to play the University of Texas in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. Pat Donnelly, a 200-pound fullback from Ohio, scored all three Navy touchdowns today, tying Joe Bellino’s record in the 1959 Army game. Donnelly came off the field with even greater distinction than did Roger Staubach, Navy’s all-America quarterback and winner of the Heisman Trophy in his junior year, who was a spectacularly exciting figure throughout the game. The telecast of today’s game marked CBS-TV’s first use of the “instant-replay system.” Technical issues prevented use of the system until the end of the game, when Army scored a touchdown to cut the deficit to six points. Following Army quarterback Rollie Stichweh’s one-yard plunge, television viewers saw tape of him doing the exact same thing. Immediately, CBS phone lines were inundated with calls to confirm whether or not Army had scored again. Alas, Army had not scored again, broadcaster Lindsey Nelson assured the viewers, and soon enough, Navy had nailed down its triumph. Municipal Stadium, soon perhaps to be renamed the John F. Kennedy Stadium, was ringed by 36 American flags at half staff. The stands lost much of the typical festive atmosphere this year because of the assassination of President Kennedy, which caused the game’s postponement to this 22nd anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Before the game, there were 30 seconds of silence, a period so quiet that to close one’s eyes was to put one in an empty arena. It was, under the circumstances, a tremendous tribute to the fallen President.


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