With 5:52 left in the first half, Columbia was still down 14-0. As the Lions had walked off the field after Army's second touchdown, the Army fans added to the humiliation, waving white handkerchiefs in the Lions' direction, calling for their surrender.
But with barely three minutes left in the half, Columbia answered back. Rossides hit end Bill Swiacki on passes of 14 and 32 yards, and Kusserow ran five yards around right end to cut Army's lead in half.
On the second play of the next series, Galiffa fumbled the ball, and Columbia recovered on West Point's four-yard line. "This series of plays won the game for us," says 83-year-old John Bateman, who was the line coach for Columbia that day and the head coach at Rutgers from 1960 to '72. "Kusserow ran the ball down to the one, but the officials called it back because they said they weren't ready. We didn't score on the next two plays, and then [Ventan] Yablonski missed a field goal. In the next series Army's Rowan ran 83 yards for another touchdown. Instead of being tied at halftime, we were down 20-7. But when our players went into the locker room, they felt they could move the ball on Army. More important, they had been playing well enough to convince themselves they could win."
At halftime Little didn't say a word to his players. He didn't draw a play on the chalkboard or make any adjustments. He just let the Lions talk and scream and work themselves into a frenzy. It was the only time in four years that Rossides remembers Little's not making a speech at halftime.
The Lions held West Point to a stalemate in the third quarter. Then, on Columbia's first series in the fourth, the Lions began their comeback. Rossides hit halfback Billy Olson—who had been rejected by West Point—for 16 yards. They connected again on the next play for another first down. Two plays later Rossides found Swiacki for a diving 28-yard touchdown catch as an Army defender hung on the end's back.
After the next Army drive bogged down, Columbia took over on downs at its own 33. Rossides ran 22 yards on a bootleg, and then, two plays later, he and Swiacki hooked up for the game's most memorable moment. Scrambling toward the sideline, Rossides spotted Swiacki roaming free on the opposite side of the field. Rossides threw in hopes Swiacki would catch up to the pass. Swiacki dived for the ball, and just as it was about to hit the ground at the three-yard line, he scooped it up as if he were cradling a newborn baby.
Two plays later Kusserow walked into the end zone untouched. With Yablonski's extra point, Columbia was ahead 21-20 with 6:38 to play. Although there was plenty of time left, the Cadets didn't know how to come back.
"I remember the attitude Army had when they knew they were losing to this Ivy League team in light-blue uniforms," says Van Bellingham. "It would be hard to articulate without using a lot of curse words."
"They were swearing and calling us bastards and s.o.b.'s, everything under the sun," says Yablonski. "They were beaten emotionally. With six minutes to go, our enthusiasm was so high and theirs was so low, we could have scored again if we wanted to." As the game wound down, the Columbia fans waved white handkerchiefs at the West Point side of the field, where many of the Cadets had tears streaming down their faces.
O'Shaughnessy was awarded the game ball, which he donated to the school. After the game he headed to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where two days earlier his wife had given birth to their first child, a girl. Waiting on the subway platform, O'Shaughnessy noticed a familiar figure in the back of the crowd. As the man drew closer, O'Shaughnessy recognized Lieut. Col. A. Ray White. This was too good to be true, O'Shaughnessy thought. Before White could slink away, O'Shaughnessy grabbed him and asked, "How do you like Columbia now?" White stared blankly at his shoes, still too stunned to speak.