By Len Elliott
ARMY detonated the big surprise of Eastern football Saturday, when it beat Penn State among the fog-topped mountains of central Pennsylvania, Army didn't do it on a fluke either; the Cadets looked like the hotter team and they were.
Army won this one for several reasons. One was a piece of ingenuity by Coach Dale Hall, one which should strengthen our faith in the armed forces. A second was the high resolution of the team, which was smarting from its humiliation at Michigan the, week before; seven of the starting eleven were Pennsylvania boys too, and were playing before families and friends. A third factor was Penn State's inability to-make its attack move consistently without its top quarterback, Galen Hall.
The first Hall, Army's Dale, did two things last week which had a decisive bearing on the game. First he moved Joe Blackgrove, who had been alternating with Dick Eckert at quarterback, to left half. He put Blackgrove there to give Army some running speed to the outside.
Blackgrove, redheaded son of an Army sergeant, has speed, elusiveness and surprising drive, considering that he weighs only 168 pounds. He had been used last year almost solely as a specialist to run back kicks. Turning the Short Side ALL'S other accomplishment was to 'devise a way to get around the short side of Army's unbalanced line without using the undersized Blackgrove as a blocker. He did it by coming up with what appears to be a new maneuver in offensive football. It was new to Penn State, anyway. the play could be called a delayed, or stutter, option. In this it differs from the belly option, the Faurot option and the rollout option, although it is closer to the Faurot than anything.
Army worked it this way. The team, for instance, would line up in right formation, with the lonely end far out and the line unbalanced. Blackgrove, the left half in the solid T, goes in extended motion to the right, or strong side. As he gets the ball from the center, Dick Eckert fakes to Al Rushatz, the fullback, who goes in as though on a fullback trap play, and a guard pulls. Eckert fakes to Rushatz, delays slightly with a couple of stutter steps, so the guard can get ahead of him, and then sets sail to the short side with the right halfback going with him as the pitch man.
Then the option develops. If the end, or the corner man if there is one, goes for Eckert, he pitches out to the right half and the latter turns the corner with the pulling guard in front of him. If the end softens to the outside for the pitch man, Eckert keeps the ball and goes inside him.
Fake Deceived Lions
ECKERT made the play beautifully against Penn State. He pitched out to Pete King once for 25 yards, to Ray Paske once for 30, to King again for nine. The long one by King almost went for a touchdown, only a lastditch tackle by Pete Liske averting it. King's big gain put State in a bad hole, however, from which the Lions never recovered until Army had scored.
Apparently, as it was explained, the moves that make this option work are the fake to the fullback inside and the guard pulling. It looks like a trap and thus holds the linebacker and the tackle, and has the general effect of delaying pursuit. Anyway, it worked against Penn State and looked like a good way for the unbalanced T to get around the short side.
Going to the strong side Army uses the usual belly option and Blackgrove and Eckert ran this very well. Eckert got the touchdown drive started with it and Blackgrove's running got the Cadets into range for a field goal. With Blackgrove at halfback Army crossed up everybody by practically refusing to throw the ball. Out of 70 offensive plays, only seven were passes-and six of them complete. So the Cadets now appear to have the balance, when they want to use it that will make them even more dangerous.
Galen Hall Missed
PENN STATE apparently needs Galen Hall at quarterback, badly. Neither Liske, essentially a defensive player, nor Don Caurn could get the team moving for more than two drives. The first of these ended with an interception and so would the second, if offsetting penalties had not canceled the play.
The Lions had a big chance early, when King fumbled away a fair catch on the Army 29. But State tried to run the ball, then missed a pass on third and six and had to settle for a field goal try. Had they scored then the game might have been different. As it was, they never got into a threatening position again until late in the third period. Penn State must be given an accolade for one move. The ground crew was routed out of bed at midnight, soon after the rain began, and had the field covered before 1 a.m.