Armed Forces Bowl Observations

The Black Knights were victorious in the Armed Forces Bowl! Army used 3 turnovers to establish a 16-0 lead, and they held on to win, 16-14. On SMU's first possession, QB Kyle Padron fumbled the ball amidst a heavy rush, Josh McNary picked it up and rumbled 55 yards for the touchdown.

On Army's first possession, they drove 80 yards 9 plays. Later in the 2nd quarter, Army took advantage of great field position, created by an SMU holding penalty and a 3 and out, that yielded an Alex Carlton 41 yard field goal.

In the first half, SMU fumbled once, was intercepted twice, went out on downs once and missed a 35 yard field goal.

In the second half SMU settled down and forced an Army punt after advancing to the SMU 36 yard line. They then went on a 6 minute, 92 yard drive. After holding Army to 1 first down, they scored on a 5 ½ minute 74 yard drive. After holding Army to a 3 and out, kicker Matt Szymanski missed a 47 yard field goal with 4:05 remaining in the game. Army made three first downs and ran out the clock.

On the day, SMU had 413 yards to Army's 229. Army did have 199 rushing yards as Jarred Hassin carried the ball 18 times for 82 yards and eclipsed the 1,000 yard total for the year. The sure handed Patrick Mealy got the bulk of carries in the second half and gained 57 yards on 11 carries. SMU Running back Zach Line gained 103 yards on 17 carries. Kyle Padron was 23/34 for a total 302 yards, but he did have the costly fumble and two interceptions. Trent Steelman was only 2/7, but he managed the game well enough.

For the first time in the two year old Rich Ellerson era, the Black Knights came up big under pressure and won a game in the national spotlight. True, they really got the bounces in this game. True, SMU played for at least the first half as if they were disgusted to have to share the same field with our beloved Cadets. True, it took gale force winds to blow the potential game winning field goal about 30 yards off target. And true, within two years, SMU will likely be in a completely different weight class from Army, and the academy administration wouldn't dare consider scheduling a game against this program (don't laugh at the thought - Coach Ellerson admitted last week he already has told the acting AD to decline an offer to schedule a home and home series with SMU). But for this day, it went Army's way, and after our guys came through at the end of the game with big plays on both sides of the ball, the Black Knights emerged as Armed Forces Bowl Champions!

It was 25 years since the Peach Bowl Victory. There have been many tough seasons and many disappointments. Army has now turned the corner. Army has the coach, the scheme and incoming players to make winning a regularity at West Point. Enjoy this West Point Nation – it is well deserved.

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