Report Card: Army vs. Tulane

The Army Black Knights rolled over the Tulane Green Wave and coasted to an easy 41-23 win in New Orleans on Saturday. Army ran for 317 yards and scored four rushing touchdowns. The Black Knights have won all three of their road games this year to improve their record to 4-2.




Trent Steelman completed 3 of 5 passes for 31 yards and a touchdown. Ian Shields opened the game calling two straight pass attempts. Austin Barr caught a 9-yard pass on the first play of the game. Wide receiver Davyd Brooks caught his first career touchdown catch. Brooks also drew a pass interference penalty to set up a touchdown. Jared Hassin had the other reception for 14 yards. Malcolm Brown dropped a pass he should have caught. While the Black Knights only attempted a few passes the offensive line did a good job in protection. The Green Wave entered the game ranked an impressive 11th in the nation in sacks.
Army finished the day rushing for 317 yards, averaged five yards a carry and scored four rushing touchdowns. Tulane tried to take away the perimeter running game and force the game between the tackles. "B" back Jared Hassin benefited from the defensive scheme as he had a career day. Hassin rushed 25 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Hassin needs to do a better job protecting the ball as it was knocked loose a few times but recovered by Army. Trent Steelman rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown. Trent's 22-yard run set up his own touchdown run from the 1-yard-line on the next play. He lost one fumble during the mesh but did a terrific job reading the midline option all game. Malcolm Brown rushed for 41yards on eight carries. Raymond Maples in his first start and ran 10 times for 37 yards. Brian Cobbs only saw two carries due to the Green Wave scheme but one was a 6-yard touchdown run. Pat Mealy didn't play from scrimmage due to an injury. He only appeared on "hands team" when Tulane tried an onside kick.
Tulane's quarterback Ryan Griffin competed 20 of 34 passes for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns. Most of Griffin's passing yardage came late in contest. Cornerback Antuan Aaron rebounded from a tough game against Temple by leading the team with 7 tackles, had a fumble recovery and a sack. He did a nice job in coverage. Josh Jackson replaced Richard King (1 tackles, 1 pass defensed) in the starting lineup at boundary cornerback and did a fairly good job in coverage but missed some tackles. Jackson had two tackles and battled down two passes. Quick end Josh McNary had a tremendous game with 6 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble. He consistently generated tremendous pressure on the quarterback. Safety Donovan Travis had two tackles. He left the game after a tackle in the fourth quarter but returned later. Whip linebacker Chad Littlejohn forced a fumble after a completion that set up Army's second touchdown.
Army did a solid job against the run limiting Tulane to only 88 rushing yards, not including sack yardage, but they did allow 4.4 per carry. While the Black Knights were not quite as dominate as the numbers suggest they did a good job limiting Tulane's running game. Army made them one dimensional until the fourth quarter after the game had been essentially decided. Chad Littlejohn had his best game at whip linebacker since the opener. Liitlejohn had six tackles. Stephen Anderson had a rather quiet game with five tackles. Anderson left the game after he was hit on his knee. Rover Steve Erzinger was in on six stops.
The special teams had their best all round game this year. The kickoff coverage was terrific allowing only 18.5 yards per return and forced two fumbles. Zach Watts had a tremendous game with 4 tackles on kickoff returns. Watts made the tackle on three consecutive Army kickoffs. Watts forced a fumble and recovered it setting up an Army field goal. Brown also forced a fumble on kick coverage that was recovered by Donovan Travis. Punter Jonathan Bulls had only one punt which traveled 41 yards and went out of bounds. Alex Carlton made two of three field goal attempts. Carlton hit from 33 and 35 but missed from 40. Carlton's miss cost the special teams an A+. It was the only thing the special teams did wrong all day. Josh Jackson didn't get any room on his three punt returns. Jackson did have a terrific 42-yard kickoff return where he kept churning his legs and moved the pile an additional ten yards. Jackson's return set up a field goal. Donovan Travis who was on the hands team late in game alertly recovered a Green Wave onside kick and nearly returned it the distance with a 31-yard return. Two plays later Army scored its last touchdown.
Army staff does a tremendous job of teaching its tacklers to strip the ball. Army forced four fumbles and recovered three to play with a short field most of the game. Army leads the nation in turnover margin and that is a sign of good coaching. Offensive line coaches Gene McKeehan and Bill Tripp have done a terrific job with the returning offensive line. This was the offensive line's best game this season as they dominated a solid Tulane front at the point of attack.
The offense had a few sloppy plays and a miss field goal. The defense missed some tackles in open field. However It's hard to complain about this road victory after a tough loss against Temple. Army has now won three road games for the first time since 1996.

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