Army 3-3

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh, man what a win - Army beat Vanderbilt 16-13 at Michie Stadium

After the Tulane loss I called on Army to pass a little bit more- Rich Ellerson liked the idea to pass early and it paid dividends as the running game found some room to operate.

Army had control of the game as they picked off a pass and were on Vanderbilt's doorstep with under 8 minutes to play, but they couldn't put the ball over the line and had to settle for a 23 yard field goal.

It was a wild finish as Vanderbilt seemingly ended the game with a touchdown - only to have the points taken off the board for a penalty for picking the defender off his receiver. Another movement penalty took Vandy back to the 41 yard line where kicker Ryan Fowler kicked to send the game to OT.
It was poetic justice as Vanderbilt hit the left upright from 41 yards to force OT... Army kicker Alex Carlton hit the same upright from pretty much the same distance to win the game in OT. Really an unbelievable finish - and an unbelievable game for Carlton who went 3/3 on the day including a 51 yarder and the 42 yard game winner.

The Black Knights were primed to win this game and seem to have left the miscues of the early season in the past. The Vanderbilt Commodores were plagued with miscues, turnovers and penalties which gave Army the advantage throughout the game.

Not to take anything away from the win, I can't stand overtime in college football. I'll touch on this in my next blog, but first the Army/Vanderbilt story and stats.

Vanderbilt Army Live Streaming Options

I've got a link to Vandy's radio partners among the links, just hit the radio tab above to check that out.

No link for a live video stream just yet, but something should appear before gametime. Check back here for updates and links to a live video stream.

Of course, Knight Vision has a reliable video broadcast if you want the sure thing.

Army Legend: Doc Blanchard

Friday, October 9, 2009

Army football great "Doc" Blanchard will have his #35 retired during halftime on Saturday. In his time at West Point Felix Blanchard came to be known as "Doc", "Mr. Inside", even "Superman". In his 3 years Blanchard was selected as first team All-America three times. He spent three years at West Point and each of those years he was a Heisman candidate -winning the trophy in 1945 and finishing second and third in Heisman voting in '44 '46.

Doc Blanchard first enrolled at UNC in 1942 and since freshman were banned from varsity play, he played on their frosh football team. R.A. White a North Carolina Frosh team trainer relayed the story: "As a freshman, once he knocked out two tacklers on the same play. It got so bad some of the boys wouldn't even try to tackle him." Blanchard wanted to enlist in North Carolina's Naval V12 unit, but was turned back for poor sight in one eye and being 5 lbs overweight. Had he been admitted to the program, it's likely we would be talking about North Carolina Legend: Doc Blanchard.

Blanchard's first game for Army coincidentally was played against UNC. In that first game Blanchard played 17 minutes, carried the ball 4 times for a 4.5 yard avg, averaged 58 yards on kickoffs and punted once for 40 yards. In the backfield with Glenn Davis for the first time, his presence contributed to Davis' 125 yards in seventeen minues of play. Army won the game 46-0.

Blanchard was Mr. Inside to Davis's Mr. Outside; at 6'1" 210 he could power through the line for yardage and wear down Army's opposition. "Doc" could also find the edge as he was timed at 10.6 seconds in the 100 yard dash. Blanchard was big, strong, fast and took to the fundamentals of football as you would expect someone who compiled these football accolades:

Army letter winner
First Team All-America selection
Member college football national championship team
Heisman trophy runner-up

Army letter winner
First Team All-America selection
Member College Football national championship team
Heisman Trophy Winner - first junior to win award
AAU Sullivan Medal - given for good sportsmanship in amateur athletics -Blanchard was the first football player to win this award
Maxwell Club Award

Army letter winner
Member college football national championship team
First Team All-America selection
Placed 3rd Heisman voting

1952, 1953
Coached Army's Plebe and JV teams to combined records of 29-6-2

Member College Football Hall of Fame inducted 1959
Member Army Football Hall of Fame inducted 2004 (charter class member)

I can't possibly say enough about "Doc" Blanchard, so I'll highlight #35 in the words of his contemporaries:

"I've seen all the great fullbacks, this boy will be the greatest."
Glenn Thistlewaite, coach - Northwestern, Wisconsin

"Many experts insist that he is the greatest fullback of all time."
Roy Morrison, coach - Temple

"I have just seen Superman in the flesh, he wears #35 and goes by the name Blanchard."
Notre Dame coach, Ed McKeever

"This is the only man who runs his own interference."
Herman Hickman, Army Assistant coach

"He's the best football player I've ever seen."
Notre Dame Scout Jack LaVelle

"He has as much power as Nagurski, and he's faster."
Fritz Crisler coach, Michigan

"Compared to Blanchard, Paul Bunyon was a bum."
Green Bay Packers great Don Hutson
After graduation, Doc Blanchard was drafted third in the NFL draft - but he was denied a furlough to play ball and decided to become a pilot in the Air Force. Blanchard readily took to military service serving from 1947 until 1971 when he retired as an Air Force colonel
Blanchard spent three great years playing football for Army, but his 24 military career showed that "Mr. Inside" remained an Army insider to the end.

An absolutely must-read bio of Felix "Doc" Blanchard can be found over at For What They Gave on Saturday Afternoon.

Vanderbilt Army Preview

Just wanted to quick hit some previews to the Vanderbilt game.

Army long snapper Matt Arent hails from Tennessee and thus gets a spotlight piece from the

Vanderbilt is focused on Vanderbilt.

Army likewise, is focused on themselves, and rightfully so:

"It's a little bit like a car wreck. If you've been having trouble remembering to wear your seatbelt, get into a car wreck, and suddenly that's not a hard habit to come by. The challenge is of course to survive the car wreck, and we have."

Ellerson's version of a wreck looks something like this:

* Iowa State entered play against Army with 12 turnovers, the highest total in the nation, and the Black Knights were unable to force any.

* Tulane kept Army 44 yards below its rushing average.

* Alex Carlton missed a 37-yard field goal in the final seconds against the Green Wave after making his first three.

* Freshman quarterback Trent Steelman was 3 for 5 throwing and was intercepted at the goal line against Tulane.

Vandy comes into the game with a strong rushing attack.

In its two wins this season, Vanderbilt scored a total of 81 points, including 45 points against FCS foe Western Carolina in the season opener. Therefore, the team's average of 20.0 ppg is a bit skewed. Clearly, the strength of the offense is a ground attack that accounts for 195.0 ypg on an average of 4.5 ypc. Of the 12 touchdowns scored by the offense this season, 10 have come via the run. Warren Norman paces the Commodores with 336 rushing yards and three touchdowns, and his average of 6.7 yards per attempt is outstanding.
Both Army and Vanderbilt get back to basics as they're both coming off losses and will try to overcome their respective miscues.

This should be a pretty low scoring affair and even as an -11 point dog... if Army can take care of the ball and play possession football they have a puncher's chance to come away with a win.

Yearbook: Western Kentucky

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Western Kentucky is the newcomer to Division 1A football, but their football history is well archived in their yearbook: Talisman.

WKU began football play in 1913 and played an exclusively intercollegiate schedule by 1917. On that site they also have the first edition of the first incarnation of their yearbook, the 1915 Vista.

Another commendable effort in getting school history digitized and online. The PDF files are particularly big in this project, but well worth the download time.


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