October 13, 2012

Army takes step backwards & falls to Kent State, 31-17

Watch someone yawn, and try not to yawn yourself. It can be impossible to resist. Even reading about yawning can make you do it.

Yawning when others yawn, the study suggests, is a sign of empathy and a form of social bonding.

Well in that case, consider the Army coaching staff, players and fans ... "bonded".

Unlike last week's vibe at Michie Stadium, the aforementioned trio must have been looking directly at one another prior to coaches and players taking the field and the fans their seats on Saturday as the Black Knights hosted a 4-1 Kent State ball club.

"There's not mystery there ... we got handled on offense, defense and the kicking game. I don't think we helped them well enough as coaches, played well enough, I think we lost enough of the physical match ups out there," shared Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson after the Black Knights' 31-17 loss.

"Defensively, we did some things better; we played better, but we still gave up a 1,000-yard play when Archer is in the backfield and everyone knows exactly who is going to get the ball and what they're going try to do in that situation and they can still do it. That hurts. Offensively, we just can't have a bad play. They're a good enough outfit on defense that you're going to have to be able to put a lot of plays together that are maybe three or four yards long. And, if you get behind in the count against an outfit like that it's really hard to make it up. Special teams-wise, we missed another field goal. We hit a bad one. Anyways, we had some chances there. We had a chance to get that onside kick. We had a chance to do some things, and we're really close. But, we're saying that way too much."

The proverbial then becomes, who are the "real" Black Knights? The 1st half of the game where home team was sleep walking {yawning} through was an obvious disappointment to the 30,022 fans on hand.

In Army's five possessions of the first half, they resulted in three punts, one field goal attempt and final series in which the clock ran out to close out the 2nd quarter.

To put things in perspective. Slotback Malcolm Brown, who was fighting through a bout with food poisoning saw his first touch which was on the final offensive series go for 11 yards. Surprisingly, those 11 yards would be Army's longest run from scrimmage of the half, which saw Kent State take a 14-0 into the locker, along with the "MO" and emotional edge over an uninspired Black Knights squad.

It was becoming very apparent that Army has the ability to coach and play up, but with all do respect to the likes of the Kent State and Stony Brooks of the world, they have not captured the essence of coaching/playing down.
The first half of the ball game really became the Dri Archer show, as the Golden Flashes slotback and kick returner was just that "FLASH".

And the script didn't change going into the 2nd half and by the end of the 3rd quarter, Archer had registered 142 yards (15.8) of Kent State's team total of 183 yards, compared to Army's 182 (3.9) on the ground.

Overall, the Black Knights' defense really didn't play a poor ball game. However, some credit must be given to K-State's defense that locked down Army's offense that enter the game as the No. 1 rushing team in the nation and had steamrolled for 527 yards last week against Boston College.

When GoBlackKnights.com asked Coach Ellerson about the effectiveness of Kent State "D" against the triple option, he had this to say.

"They clobbered us up front," offered Ellerson, as he further elaborated on Army's inability to consistently move the football on the ground. "At some point, you're going to have to block some people, and we had a heck of a time controlling their back-side linebacker and safety. If it has been just their back-side linebacker and safety, it is one thing, but they had some guys on the front side step up. Their play-side linebacker made way too many tackles. In that defense, against our scheme, that just shouldn't happen. Again, give them some credit. I don't think we thought we'd see that eight-man under defense. I don't think that was a big part of our preparation this week. The offense is rule driven, and the guys weren't lost. We have a couple of ways of getting our numbers right, but at some point you have to block and run and all of those other things. Give them credit; they were better running that defense than we were running that offense today."

But through all that, Army was still in the ball game to start the 4th quarter. Down 24-3, the Malcolm Brown charged offense came alive and marched 10 plays, 81 yards and Brown capped off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run, bringing the Black Knights closer, 24-10.

With the Army "D" putting the locks on, along with the Kent State self destructing with a couple of penalties, they were forced to punt.

So with 9:42 remaining in the game and down 14 points, there was a buzz beginning to generate from the "yawning" fans, as Army began its' march from their own 26 yard line.

The Black Knights drove to Kent State's 11 yard line and were faced with a 4th & 2. But pretty much consistent with Army's overall play on the day, the give to slotback Raymond Maples netted a 4 yard loss and saw all hopes of a comeback decimate.

In Army next series, the Black Knight fans may have received a glimpse of their future, as frosh quarterback A.J. Schurr played the final two offensive series, for which Ellerson offered this explanation of inserting Schurr into the contest.

"Trent (Steelman) had taken enough hits, and A.J. (Schurr) needs to play some, and I think you can see why," said Ellerson, when asked by GoBlackKnights.com. "He's an exciting guy; he can throw, he can run. Obviously, you're looking for an opportunity to give him those precious game repetitions. You could argue we should do that more."

Final Score:

Kent State: 31
Army: 17

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