The Cadets had lost six players, including Freddie Myers, to academic ineligibility. The Cadets defeated Furnam[clarification needed] 41–0, the team's first shutout since the 1951 scandal. After a loss to Northwestern, the Cadets were undefeated for the rest of the season. In a scoreless tie against the Tulane Green Wave, future Green Bay Packer Max McGee starred for Tulane. In the Army–Navy Game, Army's 20–7 victory over Navy was its first since 1949. The turning point of the season was an October victory over #7 ranked Duke University. Duke featured stars such as Red Smith and Worth (A Million) Lutz. Tommy Bell ran up the middle. Quarterback Pete Vann switched the ball to his left hand, and made a southpaw pass. Red Smith was tackled by Bob Mischak in the final minutes of the game. Mischak ran 73 yards to make the tackle catching up eight yards of separation to save a touchdown. Inspired by Mischak, Army held Duke inside the one yard line, took over on downs, and eventually won the game. "When Bob Mischak, who was posthumously enshrined in the Army/West Point Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, made that unlikely play, what Blaik called " a marvelous display of heart and pursuit," the Army football team regained it's soul." Direct quote from Maraness
Before the end of the 1953 season, the New York Daily News had a headline in their paper that Vince Lombardi was the top candidate to become the Giants new head coach. Although Giants co-owner Wellington Mara was a classmate of Lombardi at Fordham University, the Giants were actually interested in Army head coach, Colonel Red Blaik. Blaik had declined the job, but recommended Lombardi, who was his offensive co-ordinator at Army. Despite being Red Blaik's top aide, Vince Lombardi was anxious and frustrated. Three other Army assistants, including Murray Warmath were now head coaches. In June, Lombardi had turned forty years old. Lombardi would be hired as the offensive co-ordinator for the 1954 season.