Army 2-2

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Updated: Replay of Army Tulane 2017 added

Army left points on the field. The lack of a kicking game was pretty glaring in this one. 4th down from the 19 yard line seems to be a place where a winning football team should kick for some points. I love to see the foot on the gas pedal, but especially playing from behind in a winnable game - you have to find a way to move the score up. After the final whistle it was a 4 point rivalry game win for the Green Wave, so one three pointer doesn't quite get you there - and the coaching staff knows that, maybe it points to their lack of trust in their kicker (maybe it's their goal to never kick in the red zone). Army operates their offense with the 4th down in play on most drives, but in the sense of maximizing opportunity a reliable field goal unit can take the guesswork out of some of these 4th down decisions. You can't really second guess the call to go for it instead of kicking the points, but it seems like there need to be ways to get points other than extending every other drive to 70 yards and a touchdown.

Without Darnell Woolfolk in New Orleans, Army leaned on a steady diet of Andy Davidson, and the inside run looked like the difference maker by midway through the fourth quarter. I'll have to watch the tape again to see what was going on in the first half, but you know what you're getting when Andy Davidson gets the ball. It would have been nice to see him break the plane of the goal line on his 42 yard run.

Key moments for Army defense: Final drive - 3rd and 10 - QB Banks got loose and made a play with his feet for 15 yards moving the chains. That's a huge spot where the defense covered well and busted the play open only to lose contain and have Banks scamper for the first down. Tulane converted three 4th downs in their final drive, each one with more nerve than the last. The last 4th down - I would love to see another timeout there. Even if it's your last timeout- if Tulane scores there - what is Army going to do there down 4 points with one timeout? Best case scenario pre-snap you make them rethink their plan again and kick the field goal. Worst case scenario- after one timeout scraps TU's use of their best short yardage play - you get a look at their second best 4th down play. I mean, if you burn one to see one, why not burn two to see two?

The defense was called on to bend, but not break today, and outside of their very first play and their very last play they pretty much held up their end of the deal. They got pressure all day - Tulane QB Jonathan Banks never really looked comfortable when he intended to throw. Would have been nice to see the D generate a turnover here or there, but hey you can't have everything. What else can Army's D do to start games stronger? What more can they do to end games stronger? I really don't know, but those plays that made up the bookends of this game for Army's defense ended up being the difference.

Crucial turnover: The Bradshaw interception inside the 12 turned out to be killer. For all of the people who want to see Army air it out more - there is your pass game. Now please stop with the sick desire to see the forward pass. The only points Army's passing game is putting up this season are points like these

After QB Jonathan Banks had his mouthpiece removed from his esophagus and his head reattached to his shoulders, he came back on the field to finish Tulane's game winning 75 yard drive with a QB keeper around the right end. Give Tulane credit, they got the job done on the final drive. This rivalry is one of my favorites as I like Tulane, and there have been hard fought and close games in recent memory. The last two results in this series will leave me hating on Tulane a more than regularly would, but this one is a game I look forward to each year. Next season Tulane comes north to continue the rivalry, then there's one more in Louisiana in 2019 before the series takes a break for a while. This is where I don't get starting up a home and home series vs. Liberty and Coastal Carolina. The first calls from West Point regarding football scheduling should be to Tulane and then Denton TX - trying to nail those down early so the team can work a bye week in after those road trips. Then the coaches could take a few days to make recruiting visits around the south without getting the team off of their routine preparations. I won't complain too much about Coastal, since I have family at Myrtle Beach and I'll jump at the chance to get down there for those games. As it is, the best way to get rid of the sour taste of this loss is to renew the Tulane rivalry long-term.

Here's the Army/Tulane story, stats, highlights and replay




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