October 4, 2010

Army vs Temple: Ten Game Shaping Plays

We predicted before the game, that Saturday's contest between Army and Temple had the potential of an old fashion slug fest. And that's exactly what the 33,065 saw as these two Northeast schools went head-to-head at Michie Stadium. GBK selected 10 plays that we believe help shape the outcome of the game. .

1.]
When it happened: 14:48 left in the first quarter on the opening kickoff of the game
What happened: Temple's James Nixon returned the kickoff 23 yards only to have the ball stripped and recovered by Army's back up free safety Ty Shrader at the Owl's 27 yard line.
Why it mattered: Four plays later Black Knights' quarterback Trent Steelman scores on a 2nd & goal from the two yard line for an early 7-0 lead for Army. I was also the 3rd turnover forced by the Black Knights' kickoff team this season.

2.]
When it happened: With 10:53 remaining in the 1st quarter.
What happened: On a 3rd & 9 on the Army 34 yard line, Middle linebacker Stephen Anderson is called for a roughing the passer penalty
Why it mattered: This gave the Owls a 1st & goal at the Black Knights' 9 yard line and two plays later, back-up running back Matt Brown scores from 3 yards out. On this series, Brown rushed for 55 yards on just 4 carries and one touchdown. His confidence was just building and he was just warming up for what would be a career day.

3.]
When it happened: 4:30 remaining in the 1st quarter.
What happened: On Army's prior series, Alex Carlton was wide left on a 50 yard field goal attempt, giving the Owls 1st down from their own 33 yard line. They went on a 6 play, 67 yard touchdown drive that was highlighted by Matt Brown's 42 run for the score.
Why it mattered: If anything, it just seem that Army may have been better off facing starter Bernard Pierce, because the defense was having a very difficult time finding Brown behind Temple's massive offensive line.

4.]
When it happened:9:08 left in the 2nd quarter.
What happened: Steelman from 7 yards out on a great second effort by the sophomore quarterback who endured the initial hit, but found paydirt.
Why it mattered: Army went on an 18 plays, 79 yards and 9:49 minute drive, which was the longest drive by lays & time for the Black Knights all season. The drive extinguished the momentum that Temple had build and it appeared that this was going to be a slug fest.

5.]
When it happened:2:07 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
What happened: An outstanding play action fake by Steelman that the Owl's secondary bites on, results in Steelman finding a wide open Austin Barr up the seam for a 31 yard touchdown reception.
Why it mattered: At this point, Temple had no answer for Army's rushing attack and it was just a matter of time before the defensive back who had become run conscious would get caught with their hands in the cookie jar, and they did. Conversely and going forward, Barr's reception saw those same defenders move back to a more "suitable" position of defense. It also showed Army's resilience as they took a 21-13 lead.

6.]
When it happened:At the 12:09 mark in the 3rd quarter.
What happened: Trent Steelman converts a 4th & 1 at the Temple 35 yard line as he gained 8 yards on the play.
Why it mattered: Seven plays later, Steelman runs it in from 3 yards out … capping off a 13 play, 74 yard drive that took 6:49 off the clock, as the Black Knights maintained the "Mo" they had going into the locker room and increased their lead to 28-13.

7.]
When it happened: 8:00 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
What happened: On the ensuing kickoff, Nixon returned it 92 yards for a touchdown, but it was called back as the Owls were called for holding. It appeared that Army had dodged a bullet. On 2nd & 6 at the Army 47 yard line, Anderson is called for his second costly penalty on the day, as he was flagged for a personal foul against Temple's quarterback Chester Stewart, who scrambled out of the pocket and took what appeared to be a legitimate "hard hit" from Anderson, but it happen on the Owls' sideline and the flag followed.
Why it mattered: Two plays after Anderson's penalty, the Owls pulled off a flea flicker for a 24 yard touchdown pass and cuts Army's lead to 28-21, after a successful two point conversion. The "Mo" is now moving towards Temple

8.]
When it happened: 1:37 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
What happened: With the ball on Army's 47 yard line, Temple is faced with a 3rd & 25. With defensive end Josh McNary just step away from sacking Stewart, the Owls' quarterback "launched" the ball down the right sideline, where cornerback Antuan Aaron was in coverage. However, the junior corner had no idea where the ball was and as the receiver attempted to make the reception, Aaron ran into him, drawing the flag.
Why it mattered: For some reason, Aaron did not look confident out there and on the same series, with Temple facing a 2nd & 12 from Army's 34, Aaron is beat once again on a 28 yard pass to the Black Knights' 5 yard line as the teams head into the 4th quarter. Two plays later, Temple scores on an 8 yard pass from Stewart and the game is now tie, 28-28. It is clear that although the game is deadlocked, Army is playing on its heels and Temple is playing with total confidence.

9.]
When it happened: 11:01 in the 4th quarter.
What happened: Army returned the Owls kickoff to their own 19 yard line, which would be the Black Knights' worse field position of the day. But they were able to move the ball to their own 48 yard line. With a 3rd & 5, Steelman is sacked for a 12 yard loss and Army is forced to punt.
Why it mattered: The Black Knights needed to answer offensively in order to tie the game and derail the Owls' swagger that seem to be growing on each series.

10.]
When it happened: 8:00 remaining in the game.
What happened: On 1st & 10 at the Temple 33 yard line, Stewart executes a impressive play action fake and finds his receiver wide open, as cornerback Richard King is nowhere in the picture frame. Actually, had the ball not been underthrown, the receiver could have walked into the end zone. Two plays later, Brown his third touchdown on the day and Temple takes the 4th quarter lead, 35-28.
Why it mattered: Because now "Mo" is permanently residing with the Owls. Brown's 11 yard touchdown scamper marks a 22-0 run on the part of Temple, who would eventually score once more on a Brown 20 yard run. Army did score once more, with 1:13 on the game clock, but it would be too little, too late for the Black Knights.


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