Army had their clocks cleaned on Saturday by the UNT Eagles. I find it fitting that North Texas' team name is the Eagles.
North Texas played a 3 technique LB just off the line when they could and unlike other cases where Army had been able to recognize and exploit the Eagle defender - there seemed to be no answer to North Texas' defensive game.
It's amazing to me that Army could still dominate the time of possession to the extent that they did - with almost a 2 to 1 edge in time on the ball. I have no idea how they could have such an edge in possession while simultaneously seemingly losing possession at every opportunity. Even so, the Army defense got gashed - particularly in the 2nd half. This time it wasn't the increased work load that did in the Cadets defense, it was turnovers.
7 turnovers in one game hasn't happened in a good long while, and I am prepared to wait for even longer until we see it again.
North Texas Defense really stole the show. They showed the Eagle 3 tech. LB and Army adjusted to an unbalanced formation... a little bit of what happened to the adjustment was that UNT applied consistent pressure between the tackles - limiting the fullback option - and they also had the most complete game I can remember seeing by the weak side safety. We saw the reverse work, and it worked nicely as misdirection off of the triple option to the strong side. Where Army let down was not relying on the reverse more often as UNT had that same safety pressure flowing over to the strong side along with the motion man.
Everything Army ran to the strong side got shut down, then out of the unbalanced set it just seemed like the offense never got out of the starting gate. This is where the luxury of not showing your whole playbook in October becomes a liability as all it takes is one guy not recognizing his key or one guy overthinking his play and then - miscue, or misstep - your offense gets off schedule and before you know it the clock is running and your team is behind.
All credit goes to North Texas' defense. They were disruptive at virtually every position on defense.
You had weak side secondary giving pursuit on every play, you had hitting and tackling exacting a price on ball carriers, the inside run was locked down. The only thing Army was left to do was run to the reverse edge, which they were working for, but due to turnovers and being behind by 2 or 3 scores never became a real point of attack.
You want to talk about the disruptive nature of the North Texas' defense... it seemed like the pitch was coming early on every play, but on most of those option plays the read was correct, UNT just had support for the pitch outlet - which set everything back for the Army offense. There was even a play where Bradshaw beat the #1 pitch key and tried to option the #2 man, which just shows how far away North Texas took Army off of their game plan.
Now Army fans are examining their season. The team needs 3 wins to go bowling. Still on the slate are Wake Forest and Notre Dame. It seems like a tall order for this team to go to a bowl, but that is not the be-all-end-all. Army can still win some hardware if they show up vs their academy rivals.
If you really want a splash of reality take a look at Soren Sorensen's chi-square rankings which show Army at 2-1 against the bottom 3 teams in Div 1-A
126 Buffalo 127 Texas El Paso 128 Rice
Strange for this kind of slide after a bye week.
Here's your North Texas/Army story, stats and highlights.