Army 1-0

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I don't know if I've ever seen an 8 point blowout, but if ever there was one, wow that was it.
Army throttled Buffalo for three quarters before a furious comeback to make the game more than close: it was downright competitive down the stretch. The result was in question at the end, but for 3 + quarters it was a Black Knights showing of force.

Army continues to live and die by the turnover, and while they had some takeaways (key takeaways as it turned out) there needs to be improvement on taking care of the football. Things like special teams and keeping that laser-beam focus.

The coaching staff clearly had the team prepared. Once Angel dropped the ball on the second play of the game the natural thought was "Not again." Unlike years past the team not only weathered the early storm - they played on that proverbial 'edge' making some very good plays on both sides of the ball and had the game sewn up until the 4th quarter debacle.

When Army had the lead just after the half I actually wondered aloud if they would take their foot off the gas or keep the conclusion of their playbook in the back pocket. In the past few years we wouldn't even see the inside counter "Doc" or half of the misdirection plays until the 3rd or 4th game of the season. Saturday, Army was relentless until the 4th quarter running of the Bulls.

We sort of knew the schemes coming in: a multiple option look with some pistol, and some wing-t, plus a 3-3 stack on defense. I didn't expect the seemingly effortless offensive outburst nor the impressive defensive performance. After watching the first half it reminded me of 2004-2007 West Virginia.

If you asked me at any point in the past if I would make that comparison between Army and Rich Rodriguez' WVU teams I would have told you to get lost. Here we are, though, Army has talent all over the field - not WVU talent, but seasoned men on both sides of the ball. They may not be as fast, they may not end up ranked, but the schemes just kind of looked alike. For the first game of the season I could think of a lot of worse teams to be compared to than WVU. Any way, Army earned any positive accolades they've gotten for the Buffalo game.

Even if the game exposed Buffalo as a punching bag (in  fairness, they showed a lot of punch to be able to bring the game back) it was a must-win game for Army - and they played like it was must-win.

Sal has a postgame video analysis up.

Larry Dixon had a great game rushing for a career high 174 yards and 2 scores.

Take nothing away from Josh Jenkins' 2nd pick - it was a heck of an athletic play to make that grab, but buffalo QB Joe Licata took about a 4 second wind up on that toss. Throwing that pass from the college hash mark to the deep boundary was just the wrong decision. A pick is a pick, though - and a win is a win.

Up next: Army's most physical challenge.

Here are the Army/Stanford game notes (.pdf)

Your Buffalo/Army story, stats, and highlights.




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