Report Card: Army vs. Hawaii

Army's comeback from a 21-point deficit fell short as a last minute fumble by quarterback Max Jenkins, with the Black Knights setting up for a potential game winning field goal, was recovered by Hawaii. It opened the door for Hawaii's quick strike offense to drive the field, aided by a questionable roughing penalty on Steve Ezringer, to kick a field goal and secure a hard fought 31-28 victory.




Trent Steelman completed 3 of 4 passes for 38 yards. Trent missed a chance for a big play when he was hit while throwing to a wide open Malcolm Brown streaking down seam with no safety help over top on the first series. After Steelman left the game with a separated shoulder Max Jenkins completed 1 of 2 attempts for 20 yards. Nice play call by Ian Shields to have Max Jenkins run waggle action, with a run option, when team was backed up near its own end zone. It was a smart call and a safe pass that Jenkins completed for 20 yards to Davyd Brooks. Brooks after a quiet first game had a nice game with 3 catches for 49 yards. The offensive line was solid the few times it was asked to pass protect except for the incomplete pass from Steelman to Brown. Jared Hassin missed a blitz pickup and cost Army a possible huge play.
Army grinded out 250 yards and four touchdowns rushing. Trent Steelman did a solid job on his reads even and ran for 41 yards before he was hurt. Max Jenkins did a good job replacing the injured Steelman until his costly fumble. He had a formation issue and failed to communicate a check but for his first real playing time the staff was happy with his performance. Hassin ran hard and bulled his way to 83 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown. Hassin has already doubled the touchdown production of the B backs from last year in just two games. Malcolm Brown scored two touchdowns on the new fly motion handoff play where the QB gives a direct handoff to motion slot back. Pat Mealy, who also averaging 4.6 yards a carry, cut blocked linebackers three times like bowling pins that allowed Brown three nice runs out of that formation. Brian Cobbs showed his speed again turning the corner. Plebe Raymond Maples gained 12 yards on his first carry but twisted his ankle driving for the first down and missed the rest of the contest.
Tough to grade. Give an ‘A' to the defensive front and a ‘D' to the defensive backfield. Josh McNary showed why he is one of the premier pass rushing defensive ends in the nation playing in the flex. McNary was unblockable and had three sacks for 31 yard lost yards and forced a fumble that set up a Black Knight touchdown. He allowed Army to get back in the game. It's been a long time since I've seen a defensive lineman cause as much havoc as Mike Gann did but not show up on stat sheet. Gann consistently collapsed the pocket during the comeback. He drew a penalty when he bull rushed through the center, guard who held him and blocking back to sack Moniz. It was a shame he lost the sack because Ellerson decided to take hold instead. The West Point statistician must not know what a quarterback hurry is because I counted at least four by the front yet none were credited. Not even one to McNary who lived in backfield the second half. Defensive back had a tough time dealing with the Hawaii Run & Shoot offense choice and switch routes that were open all day. Josh Jackson who was given start over Richard King, had a brutal game. On second touchdown he missed a tackle using horrible form allowing the Warriors to take a 14-0 lead. Jackson later sat in his stance looking into the backfield on a go route and was easily burned for 48 yards touchdown by Pilares. Donovan Travis dropped a potential interception on Hawaii's first series The next play Pollard caught a 26 yard touchdown pass when Travis was late with safety help for Aaron. Nickle back L.B. Brown had six tackles but often was a step late. Brown ran right by a pass on switch route pass that he should have intercepted. SAM safety Donnie Dixon had four tackles but his lack of coverage skills was exposed against Hawaii's speedy receivers. Antuan Aaron, had three tackles but was beat by Pollard down the sideline on beautiful throw by Moniz to set up the game winning FG. Rover Steve Erzinger had one pass defensed and two tackles but struggled defending passing game in space. The roughing penalty on the last drive was a late lame call by an official influenced by the lobbying on Hawaii sideline. I can't blame that on Erzinger. It was a horrible call by the referee in that spot.
Hawaii really didn't try to run often. They did tie the score when they rushed three times in four plays to drive 65 yards to tie game at 28-28. Army did a better job containing Moniz than they did week one as he broke containment just once to rush twelve yards for a first down.
Field goal unit blocking had one field goal blocked and nearly two extra points were close to being blocked. For Jonathan Bulls three out of four isn't bad. Bulls' first punt of 55 yards was called back due to a lazy delay of game penalty. After the penalty Bulls shanked a 23 yard punt that gave the Warriors a short field for their second touchdown. Bulls rebounded and blasted a 49 yard punt and placed two punts inside the twenty. Josh Jones had a big hit on punt coverage as the coverage team did an outstanding job allowing zero net yards on two returns. After kicking off to the 2-yard line to start game, with Kyler Martin making a nice tackle at 19, Army reverted to having Campbell pop his kickoffs high. While one was fumbled this often left Hawaii with excellent starting field goal position. On kick coverage Brian Cobbs showed his athleticism in diving over a Warrior to recover the fumbled kickoff. It set up one of Army's touchdowns. Josh Jackson returned one punt for four yards. He made a huge error late in the third quarter when he failed to fair catch a punt at the 26 yard line and cost the team twenty yards in field position by letting it bounce and roll to the six yard line. The fumble recovery kept this mark from being a D.
Offensive coordinator Ian Shields made some nice adjustments. After Army struggled first three series to get to corner with triple option he used new fly motion handoffs to slot back to allow Malcolm Brown to get to corner quicker. Army scored two touchdowns with this play. Shields' offense set with two players in back field and one slot back did a nice job of mixing up the defense as to who was the dive back and who gets the pitch. Defensive Coordinators Payam Saadat and Chris Smeland did a great job moving Josh McNary around so Hawaii was never able to effectively double team him. The staff made a mistake replacing Richard King with Josh Jackson in starting lineup, in my opinion. Jackson was torched all game. King replaced Jackson for three series in second half and Hawaii didn't score. King's only tackle was on a third switch route that forced a punt. Hawaii had burned Army the entire first half while King was on the bench. Special teams miscues are a continuing source of frustration. After their last timeout Ellerson released the team with just 15 seconds left leading to a backup quarterback taking a costly delay of game penalty.
Initially after Hawaii jumped out to a 21-0 lead it looked like this was going to be shades of the Todd Berry 2003 Army team giving up over 50 points to the Run & Shoot. Army battled back and was in a position to win at the end.

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