Army WKU Game Notes

Friday, October 11, 2019

Army game notes are up for the Western Kentucky game (.pdf)

Western Kentucky game notes are up for the Army game (.pdf)


Army 3-2

I think we will find that this game will ultimately be less about the result or the end of the fine home win streak... and more about how the team responds. It’s all about the response. Is this a crossroads for Army football? No, I don't think so, Army will have ample opportunity to achieve their team goals this year, so the mentality gets back to that one-game season. It is a disappointing loss, and I found it pretty humbling to hear the coaches and players self flagellate after getting soundly stomped. As harsh as his criticism was, Jeff Monken's assessment of the game was spot on. Tulane was the more prepared, more organized team to say nothing about Tulane's size advantage and their can-opener of an offense.

The last time Army lost the time of possession statistic was the way back in the first game of 2017. Army beat Fordham 64-6, and kicked off enough to lose the possession number. Last week Tulane won the day with 30:39 of possession to Army's 28:36.

If I take away one thing from this game - It really highlights the fine line that Monken's teams have walked in the last 3 years. Tulane played a fine game. Just like Hawaii played a fine game, just like Buffalo played a fine game, Just like San Diego State and Duke and Rice all played fine games. Army football has been able to regularly wrestle wins away from teams and just as they win games by converting 4th and 2 - the other side of the coin is losing on that 4th and 2 conversion - or in this case, just losing in general. That's the kind of edge that Army plays on - there have been a lot of Army games that Jeff Monken has coached where this team is lucky to escape with their hats.  Army football has transformed into a winner, but let's not forget that this team can lose to any team on the schedule.

As for Tulane. I had a bad feeling about this one from day 1 of the season. I don’t think we match up well against Tulane's players and our defensive scheme seems to get drawn and quartered like that, by not even the RPO itself, but the athletic improvisations that stem from the run of play.  give Tulane credit. They should be proud of where their team stands right now. Tulane had six different people carry the ball and 5 of them ran for touchdowns. Army's players took responsibility with Elijah Riley citing not getting off blocks and not tackling as the reason Army's D fell apart. You could really tell in the post game press conference that Army players and coaches hate losing.

Is the house on fire?  No, not even close, but this loss stings. The loss ends the home win streak, and this marks three straight losses to Tulane and a sense that the series is slipping away. Tulane has extended their series lead over Army to 12-9-1.

Tulane and Army are scheduled to play again next year Sept. 19th  in Uptown New Orleans.

Tulane Army story, stats and highlights.


Army Tulane Game Notes

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Tulane game notes are up.

This one is one of my favorite games, and I'm glad it's back on the schedule.

Army's last two losses were of the overtime variety (Michigan and Oklahoma in'18). Prior to that was the season opener loss at Duke. Before that there was the 2017 North Texas last second North Texas loss....

and before that the previous loss for Army football was Tulane's comeback win in 2017. Two years is a long time to wait for retribution, and most players on Army's roster didn't play in the 2017 game.

Tulane looks better than they have looked in a long time. I don't know what to expect out of this game, as I have no idea what Kelvin Hopkins status is. Tulane QB Justin McMillan is 8-2 as a starter for Tulane.

Here are the Army game notes (pdf).

Tulane notes here (pdf)

Army 3-1

Thursday, September 26, 2019

It's never ideal to get to the 3rd QB by game 4, but it seems like the system is already in place to have the younger QBs succeed. Jabari Laws got the start and almost made it to the end of the first quarter when he was sidelined by a tackle that was deemed a targeting penalty. That's tough luck for Laws. Christian Anderson came on to finish the game and performed pretty well. It wasn't 137 yards in his first start, but  75 yards in 3 quarters of play is nice. Zero turnovers is a good clean start too.

It seemed like Army moved away from live reads with Anderson, relying mostly on the dive play - which is just a handoff, not a read. They used a lot of alternate motion and play design, but there was an awful lot of plays with no live read, whether it was attacking the edge with the rocket toss or inside using Slomka power. Anyway, Anderson came on and within one quarter Army was in the lead 24-14. In the second half we saw a couple of good option plays.

With 4 penalties in the first 5 minutes, Morgan State got off to a pretty bad start but overcame their play with a couple of big plays.
Morgan State's first score was a 3rd and 13, 72 yard heave.

Their second score was set up by a Jabari Laws fumble deep in Army territory.

Coach Monken went ape after the second MSU touchdown. That's the only time Army has trailed a game in regulation this year. The jolt worked and the team pulled together 31 point blowout featuring 403 rush yards.

Elijah Riley said this after the game "We came out in the first half and second half with low energy, not really focused on the task at hand. Couldn’t tell you the reason for it   "We shouldn’t come out any game with low energy. Going forward, we’re just going to have to lock it in, not allow another game like this to take place." 

It's important to recognize that, and let's be glad that we're figuring that out in the first 1/3 of the season.

Simply put there needs to be better focus in all phases. Army seems to get dunked on in every game - it's one thing to have that happen on 4th down in the Big House, it's another to give up that kind of stuff at home against a 1AA squad. Again, no disrespect to Morgan State - they'll get their share of wins with Tyrone Wheatley as coach.

Jabari Laws got the start and almost made it to the end of the first quarter when he was sidelined by a tackle that was deemed a targeting penalty. We may not know the status of any of the QBs until next week. Christian Anderson came on to finish the game and performed pretty well. It wasn't 137 yards in his first start, but  75 yards in 3 quarters of play is nice. Zero turnovers is a good clean start too.
So the team is down 14-7, Anderson steps on the field and  - within one play the game is tied. It took just one more quarter and Army had a 24-14 half time lead.

It seemed like Army moved away from read option with Anderson, relying mostly on the dive - which is just a handoff, not a read. They used variations in motion and play design but there were lot of plays with no live read, whether it was attacking the edge with the rocket toss or inside using Slomka power. Hey, simpler is better is some cases. I still think it's amazing how the offense can go back into such a small base set of plays and still dominate.

Army football now has one week off before facing Tulane at Michie Stadium. I'd say it's a pretty good time for a bye week. Connor Slomka carried for a career high 110 yards and a TD, Artice Hobbs carried the ball once and caught one pass - so mark him down for 89 yards and 2 touchdowns.

So it's 3-1 for Army who now have 15 straight home wins. The Jeff Monken era has brought incredible success for Army football and particularly their play at home.

Here's the Morgan State Army storystatshighlights, and replay


Morgan State / Army Game Notes

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Saturday's game notes are up.

Army's game notes are here (.pdf).

Morgan State has MEAC conference notes (.pdf) available.

I don't know why I didn't realize this until now, but the Hawaii game will kick off after midnight (ET).

When I lived in Oregon I used to cherish the late Hawaii game, because with the Pacific time zone - it seemed like games would wrap up relatively early on the mainland, and Hawaii gave me one last game to watch after the PAC 12 late games. I don't know how I'm going to like watching Army play after midnight, correction: I know that I'm going o enjoy watching Army play after midnight, but I don't know how well my neighbors and my kids will appreciate it.

... only one way to find out.


Army 2-1

Monday, September 16, 2019

UTSA's defense changed up their look late in the 1st quarter to a sort of 5-3-3 blanket defense ultimately forcing 2 fumbles and 4 punts before Army would finally break through and score. Jabari laws' 41 yard scamper on the first play of the drive put Army over on the San Antonio Roadrunners and has me optimistic about the future of the offense.  It was Laws' first start he carried the ball 23 times for 137 yards and 1 TD.

As much as I focus on the offense, it was really the superior defensive effort in the first half that set the tone for this one. Army never trailed and never seemed in trouble, though the Roadrunners played them tough in spots. I never get tired of going into a game expecting to be mesmerized by the offense, but the defense comes on and just smashes people. UTSA was 7/15 on critical downs including the fake punt and a4th down conversion pass on one of their touchdown drives.

30,000 people showed up, which is a decent crowd. San Antonio, TX pretty good place for a ball game. I know there was a post game alma mater misunderstanding with the UTSA band. That's the kind of thing you just gotta let go.The  Army football program and its traditions have the respect of UTSA its program and its people. I know UTSA will show that whenever Army makes another trip to the Alamodome. It's nice to get the show on the road once in a while. Army will be home for the next month with games against Morgan State, then a bye week, and then Tulane.

Kell Walker had 80 yards on 5 carries. Connor Slomka had 17 carries for 59 yards.

Here's the Army/UTSA  storystats and highlights.

Army UT-San Antonio Game Notes

Friday, September 13, 2019

Game notes are up for Saturday's game.

Army game notes can be found here (.pdf)

UT San Antonio game notes are here (.pdf)


Army 1-1

It takes a game like that to kind of snap ourselves back into reality. This as Army's first loss since September 22 last year. It takes a road game to ranked Michigan to knock this team off their game. This was a winnable game, in a long, long line of winnable games. There were some coaching decisions that hurt Army's chances of winning,

Michigan's 4th down fake was pretty snappy. Army showed the same pressure after the UM penalty on 4th so the Wolverines audible into a little pass play.

I would really rather talk about what Jeff Monken and company have done for the fortunes of Army football. It's amazing.

I don't know if you could ask for a more exciting ball game either.

With such a great run of success Army football has sort realized some other measures of their success. It's a strange measure to mark these twin OT losses to Oklahoma and Michigan as Army's measuring stick simply because they are, after all, losses. This game just like Oklahoma last season should be a valid measuring stick by which to judge Army football. It's no wonder why I believe ties are a good thing for football. You won't be able to convince me that the institution of overtime is a good thing for college football.

What a second half. Army gets Michigan to go 3 and out to open the half. They get a 2 yard run from Slomka and then Artice Hobbs pulls in a 34 yard catch and run that set Army up for what would have been a go ahead score. Army works the ball down to the Michigan 1 yard (2nd and 1) line before a penalty turned the situation into a 3rd and goal from the 6. It's rare for the offense to go into panic mode but panic set in on 3rd down - timeout called and then Army comes in and tries to throw when they know they have 2 downs to score. Army has pounded the ball and dominated possession for the last two years. I think if the coaching staff had a chance to call that 3rd down again they would probably run Slomka and another keeper with Hopkins.
Michigan played solid defense out of the 3-3-5 stack. Not every team can succeed against Army's option with the 3-3-5, but Michigan's defense played alright. The Michigan Defensive Coordinator said they played out of the stack and blitzed every down. I thought Army kept it pretty simple on offense.

What might we take away from another loss like this one?
Well, for one we can look forward to dealing out some pay back as soon as Oklahoma comes calling next year.

Other than that it's Army's first loss in a year, OT loss - probably should have been a win.

Here's the Michigan Army story, stats, highlights and replay.


Yearbook: Michigan Ensian

Friday, September 6, 2019

Here's an interesting collection of yearbooks from the digital collection HathiTrust.

It's strange in that the collection links the full .pdf yearbooks directly from the catalog which I think I've only seen one time before, and it was the university's library catalog not a private digital consortia like this one. Really interesting to see the tech set up like this and that a private group is interested in preserving a yearbook as rich in college football history as this one. The copyright and watermark indicate that Google did the digitization for this set of yearbooks.

The University of Michigan has a robust collection of yearbooks available online. The Michigan Ensian was first published in 1896 and the Wolverines have been playing football since 1876, so a lot of their football history is chronicled in this collection. The collection has 96 volumes in total, but some of them are only partially available to view online, so there are 89 editions available in their entirety.

Michigan has such a rich football history and these pages are chock full of Michigan game writeups, pictures and stories about the players and games of yesteryear.

Don Peterson goes up and over Stanford in 1951

Here's a look at a mass momentum play from the 1914 season.

Michigan vs Michigan Athletic Club

One thing I noticed is that the scans all have a little grain to them. That is, not natural technical anomalies from older photos, but all of the pictures look like they have some kind of digital cross hatching on them. You can probably pick some of that up from the first photo of Don Peterson above.

Regardless, this is a valuable and unique collection very worthy of being archived online, and I'm proud to add them to my collection of Yearbooks. 

Check out the full collection of yearbooks under the Yearbooks tab above.


It is the mission of The Unbalanced Line Online Library to present important and interesting historical texts to college football fans. Items will be added regularly as blog postings and can be easily indexed in the Yearbooks button on the site bar.

Copyrighted material is used expressly under the fair use guidelines of U.S. Code 17 #107 through #118 stating that the criticism, comment, news reporting, educational use or research of copyrighted material is not held in violation of copyright laws.

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