Go Army. Beat Navy.
When it comes to the big rivalry game versus Navy approaches, the Army offense looks as prepared as ever. In the upcoming weeks the offense has a few kinks to work out, but they will stick to what has been working all season. After eliminating major errors (turnovers, penalties, miscommunications, etc.) the offense was able to once again productively put points on the board which is promising for the season finale. The defense, on the other hand, is an entirely different story and too often negates the plus side of having the nation’s top rushing offense.
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Temple Owns the Day
The Temple Owls visited the Black Knights at Michie stadium Saturday for the last home match up of the season. The Owls put on a show for the 27,019 fans in attendance, but not the kind of show Army fans were expecting. The Owls managed to beat the Black Knights at their own game, rushing for 534 yards compared to Army’s 407 yards. The Owls’ 565 total yards led to 63 points, while the Knights could only manage to put up 32 points. Temple’s Montel Harris managed to rush for an astounding 351 yards and seven touchdowns, two feats never before seen at Michie stadium, explaining why the Knights were fighting uphill the whole game.
Offense Fights an Uphill Battle
Whenever a team is able to score 63 points in one game, a win is almost inevitable. The Army offense scored a ‘healthy’ 32 points, but couldn’t match the power of the Temple offense. But then again, what offense could?
In general, the offense played well with nearly 500 yards of total offense including 88 passing yards. The Black Knights won the “passing battle” as quarterback Trent Steelman threw 3 completions on 7 attempts, while backup Trent Steelman A.J. Schurr completed his only attempt. The quarterbacks found multiple targets, hitting Chevaughn Lawrence, E.J. Tucker, Malcolm Brown, and Patrick Laird each one time. Lawrence’s reception went for 47 yards and even gave the Black Knights a brief glimmer of hope in the fourth quarter.
As is the norm, the rushing game for Army was very spread out, with nine different players getting touches. Trent Steelman and fullback Larry Dixon each rushed for over 100 yards and slotback Raymond Maples contributed 94 yards over 15 attempts, that brought his season total to 1,059. Dixon broke two long runs of 37 yards and 43 yards helping Army with quality field position. Both these drives managed to produce points, contributing to the 32 points the Black Knights put on the scoreboard on Saturday. Steelman made his way into the end zone three times moving him up atop the all-time rushing touchdowns list with 44, where the captain surpassed the previous mark set by Heisman Trophy winner, Glenn Davis. Brown also contributed one score later in the contest.
Positive Outing for the Offense
The Army offense played well overall. Towards the beginning of the game, two strong drives were cut short by costly penalties that stopped scoring opportunities. The first offensive possession appeared promising, but when a clipping penalty was called the offense couldn’t recover from second and long and was forced to punt. Similarly, an intentional grounding call hurt the momentum of the offense, but Eric Osteen was able to hit on a 37 yard field goal to put Army within 4, but unfortunately this was the closest the Black Knights were all game.