Report Card: Army vs. Temple

The Army Black Knights allowed four consecutive touchdowns in second half to blow a 15-point lead in a 42-35 loss to the Temple Owls. Army appeared to have been fortunate that Temple's super sophomore halfback Bernard Pierce wasn't able to play. It didn't matter as his backup Matt Brown rushed for 226 and four touchdowns. The disappointing loss drops the Black Knights record to 3-2.




Trent Steelman completed 9 of 16 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown. Austin Barr (2 catches for 47 yards, 1 TD) had a 31-yard touchdown pass for the second consecutive game. Malcolm Brown caught two passes for 33 yards. He set up Army's last touchdown when he drew a pass interference penalty. Jared Hassin had three catches and a 23-yard catch and run on Army's opening touchdown drive. Wide receiver Davyd Brooks was once again a disappointing non-factor. Backup quarterback Max Jenkins replaced Steelman for one play. Jenkins badly misfired a pass behind a wide open Jared Hassin in the flat and effectively killed a drive. Army's offensive line struggled to protect Steelman especially late in game when the Black Knights were forced to pass. Wilkerson's sack of Steelman on third- and-5 that forced an Army punt early in fourth quarter was a huge play. Overall Army passing game was solid. Steelman made excellent decisions to throw ball away at times and showed good pocket awareness on last drive. Army did score with its two-minute offense to give itself a chance at the onside quick.
Army finished the day rushing for 235 yards, averaging 4.1 a carry and scoring four touchdowns. When you add in that they had no turnovers and led in time of possession that usually is a formula for an Army victory. Trent Steelman scored a career high four touchdowns as he rushed for 65 yards. Steelman showed terrific leg strength in breaking tackles on two touchdowns. "B "back Jared Hassin, who was not completely healthy the last few weeks, showed his normal burst and leg drive as he rushed for 58 yards on 12 carries. Malcolm Brown had a good game rushing for 71 yards on twelve carries. There were some breakdowns in perimeter blocking against Temple's athletic defense. The offensive line was on its way to an A+ after a seven-minute second half drive that personified Army football. That grade dropped when they failed to answer Temple's second half surge. Three straight series the Black Knights ran 14 plays and gained only 22 yards.
It actually wasn't on paper as bad as it looked. Stewart completed only 7 of 16 passes for 127 yards. There were a few technique breakdowns that I saw but the main problem was Temple's wide receiver Michael Campbell was too big and fast for Antuan Aaron (3 tackles, 1 pass battled down) and Richard King (2 tackles and 1 passes defensed). Campbell used double moves repeatedly in second half to gain separation. Aaron had a costly pass interference penalty on a third-and-25 play that kept the Owls game tying touchdown drive alive. Richard King bit hard on end around option pass and was burned for 24-yard touchdown pass by Campbell. Campbell used a post corner move to score on an eight-yard pass against King. He badly burned King again on 48-yard bomb which despite being badly underthrown was completed and set up the eventual game leading touchdown. King's technique wasn't awful he was just beat by a faster, more talented player. Vanaugh Charlton had stayed into block initially on two-point conversion before slipping out. Steve Erzinger never followed him. Unlike last year's game against the Owls, Army's defensive front, while generating some pressure, recorded no sacks. Temple beat Army at its own game. Army's defense had to sell out to stop the run and was beaten deep over the top in one-on-one matchups. The lack of consistent Black Knight pressure exposed the Army cornerbacks. Safety Donovan Travis was back in the starting lineup and made five tackles.
Before the game I said this game will probably be decided on who wins this match up. It looked like Army caught a break when Bernard Pierce wasn't able to play. It didn't matter as the Black Knights were unable to catch his replacement Matt Brown. Brown rushed for 226 yards and four touchdowns. The Owls' zone blocking scheme allowed the speedy Brown to find cut back lanes. Army was able to force three punts in the first half but when the Black Knights offense faltered in second half it kept them on the field and they were dominated Brown's speed repeatedly beat poor tackling angles Jordan Trimble and Donnie Dixon split time and had a tough game getting off blocks against the Owl double tight formations.
Punter Jonathan Bulls had a good day averaging 45.8 yards on his four punts. Bulls boomed a career long 69-yard punt to the 2-yard-line in the first half. Bulls did a nice job of fielding a short hop snap and managed to get off a 26-yard punt. Alex Carlton missed his only field goal attempt from 50 yards. Carlton has hit only an unacceptable 2 of 7 field goal attempts. Jackson nearly broke two punt returns. Army did a terrific job on punt coverage. Army held the Owls punt returners to less than a yard in two returns. Kickoff coverage struggled against Temple's explosive return man James Nixon. Nixon had a kickoff return touchdown called back. Nixon had another kickoff return for 51 yards. Justin Schafer had a roughing the punter penalty. Donovan Travis forced a fumble on the opening kickoff that set up Army's first touchdown.
Army tried to get more size on the field against the Owls and started Chris Swain at tackle and moved Jarrett Mackey to whip linebacker. It didn't matter as Army could match the Owl's lines size or Brown's speed. The offense stalled in second half and had three consecutive punts in the second half when Temple made its comeback.
The offense was on its way to an "A" until the second half. The defense played hard but was outclassed. It was a disappointing loss considering how well Army played for 2 1/2 quarters. Temple is probably the most talented team on Army schedule. The offense won the time of possession battle and had no turnovers.

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