BOSTON – Larry Dixon figured the partial government shutdown wouldn't ruin his chance to score on a long touchdown run.
He made that run, an 80-yarder, just two days after the Department of Defense announced military academies could play football despite the gridlock that had caused parts of the government to cease operations.
"I just assumed we were going to play. I love football," the Army running back said after a 48-27 loss to Boston College on Saturday. "If they said, 'well, Saturday we weren't going to play, it's OK,' but I didn't let it stress me out. You can't do that. I couldn't affect it. They weren't looking for my opinion."
Army coach Rich Ellerson wasn't concerned either.
"That's a non-issue," he said. "We anticipated playing throughout. That's one thing at West Point. The guys are too busy to spend a bunch of time around the water cooler talking about what might happen this weekend. They had their heads down doing what cadets do all week long and when we got them on the football field they practiced very well. Preparation was fine."
Their play wasn't.
Andre Williams rushed for 263 yards, one less than the school record and tied a BC mark by running for five touchdowns.
The Eagles (3-2) have one more win than they did all last season and have seven games left.
Williams entered the game as the Atlantic Coast Conference rushing leader with 515 yards and 128.8 per game then built on that with the best performance of his career. The senior scored on runs of 34, 1, 37 and 3 yards before capping his scoring with another 34-yarder early in the fourth quarter as BC took a three-touchdown lead. He carried the ball 30 times.
BC's single-game rushing record of 264 yards was set by Montel Harris in 2009 against North Carolina State. He also rushed for five touchdowns in that game.
Williams lost one yard on his last carry and didn't play on the Eagles last series. He and coach Steve Addazio said they weren't aware he was close to the record.
"Those things are all nice," Addazio said, "but with a team's success, individual goals will come."
In last year's 34-31 loss to Army, Williams ran for 199 yards, his career high at the time, and two touchdowns, including a 99-yarder. He surpassed that this season with 204 yards rushing in a 24-10 win over Wake Forest.
"I was thinking about last year's Army game all week and the controversy about whether the game was going to be played just really was playing with my heart," he said. "When we found out the game was going to be played, it was really a good opportunity and I wasn't going to let it pass me."
BC led 31-20 after a first half in which the teams scored on the first six possessions and nine of 10, ending with Nate Freese's 49-yard field goal as time expired.
Army (2-4) scored on its first play of the second half on Dixon's 80-yard run as the Black Knights cut the lead to 31-27.
But then Williams led the Eagles on a 93-yard march, capped by his fourth touchdown, on a 3-yard run. He rushed on 10 of the 13 plays for 52 yards.
Freese added a 28-yard field goal before the 227-pound Williams powered through the line again for his fifth touchdown.
"We feel better about ourselves offensively, especially in the first half," Ellerson said, "and we're sore as heck with ourselves defensively because we allowed them to come out and manhandle us."
Neither defense could do much in the first half.
Daniel Grochowski kicked a 38-yard field goal for Army before the Eagles got the ball. On their first play, Chase Rettig completed a 68-yard pass to Alex Amidon, the longest completion and reception of those players' careers. The drive ended with Rettig's 3-yard scoring pass to Dave Dudeck.
Then Army, a ground-and-pound team that relies on the triple option, fooled the Eagles.
Angel Santiago handed the ball to Terry Baggett, who flipped it back to Santiago as Xavier Moss ran downfield without being guarded. Santiago completed the pass and Moss scored on the 75-yard play. It was the first pass play of the game for Army. And it came after the Black Knights didn't throw a pass in the second half of last Saturday's 35-16 victory over Louisiana Tech.
Then Williams put BC back in control, scoring three touchdowns in a span of 11:1.