Report Card: Army vs. Kent State

Army forced four turnovers and ran for 233 yards to defeat Kent State, 45-28. The Black Knights scored five rushing touchdowns against Kent State's defense which was the top ranked rushing defense in the nation. The victory improves the Black knights record to (6-4) and makes Army bowl eligible for the first time since 1996.



Kent State

Trent Steelman was nearly perfect as he completed 9-of-10 passes for a season high 149 yards. Wide receiver Austin Barr caught a 39-yard pass to set up a touchdown. Wide receiver George Jordan had a career high four catches for 46 yards. Jared Hassin had two catches for 17 yards. Wde receiver Davyd Brooks made two catches for 47 yards including a career long 41-yard reception on a great throw by Steelman. Brian Cobbs dropped a sure touchdown pass but atoned when he ran it in himself the next play. The offensive line's pass blocking was outstanding. Kent State entered the game ranked 11th in the country in sacks. They have generated tremendous pressure on the quarterback the last two seasons yet the Black Knight front shut them down.
Army ran for 233 yards, averaging 3.8 yards an attempt while scoring six rushing touchdowns. It was an impressive performance considering Kent State's 3-4 defense entered the game leading the nation in rushing defense. The Golden Flashes had allowed only 69 rushing yards a game. Fullback Jared Hassin produced 75 yards on 23 carries and scored a touchdown. Hassin was lucky that his fumble was ruled down by contact. Jared needs to take the five points of ball security class over again. He's placed the ball on the ground far too many times this season. Quarterback Trent Steelman ran for 37 yards on 13 carries and scored two touchdowns. Steelman converted two fourth-and-1 plays himself on the first two touchdown drives. Brian Cobbs had his best game in weeks as he rushed for 64 yards and scored a touchdown. Cobbs broke off a season long 45-yard run. He had a nice run when he reversed field and gained 14 yards on the first play after Travis' interception. Pat Mealy carried nine times for 32 yards and performed his usual fine job blocking. Backup "A" back Raymond Maples ran three times for 26 yards on one drive and finished it with a 5-yard touchdown run. Army's offensive line did a great job at point of attack against a very good Kent State defensive line. The perimeter blocking was outstanding most of the day.
The Black Knights earn a "B" grade with substance over style. It wasn't pretty as there were too many open receivers and one big play but overall the numbers were not bad. Army's flex defense confused the three Kent State quarterbacks. Army allowed them to complete only 13-of-25 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns. It wasn't as bad as it looked at times especially since the Black Knights intercepted three passes. Jarrett Mackey had a sack and Josh McNary playing with a sore hamstring had two quarterback pressures. SAM safety Donnie Dixon made 3 tackles and broke up two passes. Stephen Anderson deflected a pass attempt. Donovan Travis, who had five tackles and a pass defensed, picked off a pass and returned it 50 yards to set up a touchdown late in second quarter. Richard King had two interceptions. King intercepted an overthrown ball and returned it 16 yards to set up a touchdown run. The coaches have continually tried to avoid playing King but when he plays it seems Army does a better job in coverage.
Kent State surprised Army as their talented running back Eugene Jarvis made his first appearance since the opening game of season. Army had three players miss him on a 20-yard touchdown run. After a turnover the Golden Flashes replaced pocket passer Spencer Keith with two mobile quarterbacks who rushed for a combined 90 yards. The Golden Flashes almost doubled their usual rushing output with 185 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Mike linebacker Stephen Anderson had a good game with seven tackles, five solo tackles, and a huge forced fumble. Nose tackle Mike Gann, three tackles, recovered the fumble. Rover Steve Erzinger posted five tackles. Chad Littlejohn had six tackles at whip linebacker but he doesn't cover a lot of ground. There were way too many missed tackles.
Alex Carlton hit a clutch season long 49-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter to make it a three score game. Heads up play stopping a Golden Flashes fake field goal attempt when Anderson made the tackle. Army's coverage team that have been exceptional this season struggled on Saturday. The punt team gave up 36 yards on the only return which was by far the longest return yardage they've allowed this year. Kent State had a kickoff return for a touchdown called back because of a penalty. Jonathan Bulls made four punts averaging 37.5 yards per punt. Bulls hit a 50-yard punt and placed one inside 20. Matt Campbell took advantage of a strong wind to hit two kickoffs for rare touchbacks. Josh Jackson had a punt return for 4 yards. Jackson averaged 20.5 on his kickoff returns including falling untouched on one return. The kicking game earned an "A" but the coverage and return teams were uncharacteristically mediocre except for Stephen Anderson's heads up stop on fake field goal attempt.
The Black Knights did a nice job on offense and took it to Kent State. Rich Ellerson went for it on fourth-and-1 the first two drives of game and scored touchdowns instead of kicking field goals like he chose to do against Air Force. You could feel the difference in confidence of the team. Payam Saadat and Chris Smeland used the flex front to confuse the KSU quarterbacks and create pressure forcing three interceptions.
Army's offense did a great job moving the ball against a stout Kent state defense. The defense struggled at times but was able to force four turnovers. An impressive road win.

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