It was a bittersweet year for Army running back Malcolm Brown. His low point was perhaps the most horrifying moment of the 2010 season. Late in the fourth quarter of Army's 23--20 overtime loss to Rutgers at New Meadowlands Stadium on Oct. 16, Brown was returning a kickoff when he was hit by Scarlet Knights defensive tackle Eric LeGrand. The collision left Brown with a broken collarbone. It also fractured two of LeGrand's vertebrae and left him paralyzed from the neck down. Shaken, Brown wrote LeGrand a letter shortly after the game, saying, "Stay strong ... and trust in the Lord." (LeGrand is now breathing without a ventilator, and there is a measure of hope for his long-term recovery.)
Last week Brown ended the year on a high note. On Thursday in Dallas the sophomore helped the Black Knights (7--6) to their first winning season in 14 years, scoring Army's only offensive TD in a 16--14 victory over SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl. On his scoring run Brown flashed the speed that made him the Cadets' most consistent outside threat, taking a pitch from quarterback Trent Steelman and sprinting 13 yards around left end. Little wonder coach Rich Ellerson calls Brown "one of our best football players."
"After I came back," says Brown of the LeGrand incident, "I just tried to play every down like it was my last. Everything can be over in a heartbeat."
MIKE FUENTES/AP (BROWN)
FINISHING STRONG Brown scored three of his six TDs in the Cadets' final two games.