Army 1-1

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tough loss for the Black Knights, but there were a lot of positives to take from the game. The Army defense wrapped up the Blue Devils for much of the 1st half. Josh McNary got it started early with another sack. It was clear that the D was causing confusion as Duke started the game 1/8 passing. It wasn't until Duke played their redshirt freshman QB that they started doing anything at all on offense. While the defense played tough up front it was the pass that ultimately did them in.

As a team Army outperformed Duke for the entire first half and showed that this game was not only winnable, but that this year's team can expect to compete every single week. Great games from Mealey, Steelman & Carter plus big WR Ali Villanueva showed his worth.

The Army offense showed some grit against a bigger team, but turnovers at inopportune times really set the team back. The two picks at the end put the game out of reach, but fumbles and penalties will cripple Army's attack vs any opponent. More than turnovers there were a few plays where unfinished blocks made the difference between short gains and first downs.

Offensive penalties were minimal so that's a plus, and I thought a couple of the penalties vs the defense were too close to have been called one way or another. I'm disappointed in these little things more than I am with the outcome - finishing each play, playing smart physical football and taking care of the ball are equivalent to success for this Army team. Without those things easy wins quickly turn into close games and close games can turn into blowouts.

Special teams saw kicker Carlton drill his first try of the season, Army's hoping to get a ton of points out of him this year.

The late back to back interceptions - both returned for touchdowns - didn't help the scoreline, but it's clear that Army lost this game on their own.

I'm optimistic about the rest of the season, a bowl bid is certainly possible provided the team learns from their mistakes and makes improvements starting next week.

Story and stats from ESPN.
Highlights available here: CBS Sportsline.

Looking ahead Army plays Ball State who plays FCS New Hampshire tonight.



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