The Best and Worst of Army Football 2010

The 2010 Army football season was one full of ups and down for the Black Knights and their fans. Look inside to see what I feel were some of the best and worst of moments during Army's recently completed football season.

THE BEST MOMENTS 2010

Trent Steelman's clutch 22-yard pass to wide receiver Davyd Brooks for a first down to win the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
Army faced third-and-4 from its own 47-yard line with 1:18 left in game. If Army failed to get the first down and been forced to punt it would have given the ball back to SMU's dangerous passing attack just needing a field goal to win. Trent Steelman had completed only one of his first six passes for just 8 yards before the game winning completion to Brooks for a first down. That one play accomplished so much. It secured the first Army win over a team with a winning record in the Ellerson era, the first winning season since 1996 and the first bowl win since 1985. Not bad for a simple waggle action roll out pass.

Hassin lives up to the hype in opener against Eastern Michigan.
Jared Hassin impressed us last year on the scout team after sitting out the 2009 season following his transfer from Air Force. We thought he was better than any of last year's varsity B backs. Hassin proved to be the real deal rushing for 68 yards and scoring three touchdowns including the game winner over Eastern Michigan with 38 seconds left in the opener. It was the start of a terrific season as Hassin proved to be Army's best offensive threat and ran for 1,013 yards, and scored nine touchdowns. Hassin became only the second sophomore and just the eleventh player in Army's history to rush for over one thousand yards. That comeback win against a bad Eastern Michigan was crucial to the team's psyche and set the stage for a winning season.

The D dominates Duke.
Army's defense played one of its best games of the season as it derailed the Duke Demon Deacons passing attack. Duke struggled this season (3-9) because of its porous defense. Its passing game however was ranked 23rd in the nation and averaged 271 passing yards a game. The flex defense forced five turnovers and intercepted quarterback Sean Renfree three times. Army used interceptions by Steven Anderson interception and Donnie Dixon to set up short touchdown drives and jump out to a 35-7 lead. Two late touchdown passes by Duke made the score respectable. It wasn't that close. Later in the season Renfree passed for over 300 yards in defeating Navy.

Army offense rolls over Kent State's top ranked rushing defense.
It was billed as a must win game for Army to become bowl eligible against what was at the time the No. 1 ranked rushing defense in the country. Kent State entered the contest allowing only 69 rushing yards a game. Army rushed for 233 yards while scoring six rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Trent Steelman had his best passing day of the season connecting on 9-of-10 passes for a season high 149 yards. The offensive line's pass blocking was outstanding. Kent State came into the game ranked 11th in the country in sacks. They had generated tremendous pressure on the quarterback the last two seasons. The Army offensive line shut them down in what was the Black Knights most impressive offensive performance of the year. The victory secured Army's first bowl appearance in 24 years.

The Defense mashes the Mean Green.

Army dominated an injury plagued North Texas team 24-0 to post their most convincing victory in the Rich Ellerson era. Army's defense held the normally efficient North Texas passing game to just 11 first downs. The Black Knights' defense ruled the day as it posted their first home shutout since 1993. Army pitched its first shutout in 5 years.

Josh McNary says Aloha to Hawaii's quarterback.
Quick end Josh McNary was a one man wrecking crew against Hawaii. With Army down early 21-0 and the defensive backs seemingly overmatched against Hawaii's Run and Shoot, McNary almost singlehandedly got the Black Knights back in the game. McNary was unblockable and had three sacks for 31yards lost and forced a fumble that set up a Black Knights touchdown. It was a tremendous performance.

Stephen Anderson goes airborne against Air Force
Stephen Anderson leaping over the line of scrimmage against Air Force to stuff quarterback Conner Deitz on fourth down. It was a highlight reel move that was the epitome of Anderson's desire and determination to win. It didn't alter the outcome of the game but was a signature play by Army's best defender.

THE WORST MOMENTS 2010.

The meltdown against Rutgers.

The Army's defense dominated Rutgers offensive line most of the game. The Black Knights somehow managed to lose in overtime because of defensive breakdowns, stupid penalties and some highly questionable calls by Big East referees. Army posted an Academy record eight sacks in the game with a tremendous defensive effort. The Black Knights held Rutgers to just 65 yards total offense including only 24 rushing yards in the first half. Trent Steelman missed a wide open Brian Cobbs with a pass in the end zone in the second half that would have probably clinched the win. After center Zac Peterson was injured in the fourth quarter, Army struggled running the ball as Rutgers rallied to tie the game and force overtime. After an Army field goal, the Scarlet Knight's Joe Martinek ran one yard for a touchdown. It was a very bitter defeat made tragic due to the serious neck injury suffered by Rutgers defensive end Eric LeGrand.

Trent loses his grip against Navy.
After being badly outplayed in the first quarter and falling behind 17-0 the Black Knights created turnovers and started to move the ball. With a little over a minute left in the half down 17-7 to Navy Trent Steelman's fumbled the ball at the goal line going in just before the end of the half. Steelman's costly fumble was snatched by Navy's rover Wyatt Middleton and returned 98 yards for a touchdown. It was a devastating 14 point swing as it gave Navy a 24-7 halftime lead and helped secured on its ninth straight win in the series.

Comeback falls apart.
After falling behind 21-0 in the first half in the home opener it looked like this was going to be a back to the future game like when Todd Berry's winless 2003 Army team giving up 59 points to Hawaii's Run & Shoot offense. Army battled back to tie the score 28-28. On their last drive the Black Knights led by backup quarterback Max Jenkins, replacing an injured Trent Steelman, was trying to set up for a potential game winning field goal. Jenkins planned to just dive off tackle to center the ball and somehow the ball was knocked loose as he fumbled and it was recovered by Hawaii. It opened the door for Hawaii's quick strike offense to drive the field, aided by a questionable roughing penalty on Steve Ezringer, and kick a field goal to secure a hard fought 31-28 victory. Sigh.

The national no show against Notre Dame.
In the first football game at the new Yankee Stadium Army was badly outclassed and out played by Notre Dame, 27-3. After stopping the Irish's opening drive with a Donovan Travis interception, the Black Knights drove 77 yards for a field goal to take the lead. That was essentially it for the Army offense as they produced a paltry 97 total yards against the Irish's 4-4 wishbone defense scheme the rest of the game. It was a bitterly disappointing performance on a national stage for an Army offense that entered this game averaging 31 points per contest.

The Falcons fly pass Army.
Army faced rival service academy Air Force at Michie Stadium with a chance to stake a claim for the annual Commander-In-Chief's Trophy. The Black Knights came out ready to play but were forced to settle for too many field goals. Rich Ellerson chose to take the field goal rather than going for it on 4th and one on the opening drive. Tim Jefferson completed two long touchdown passes to Jonathan Warzeka who beat Jordan Trimble twice deep. Army had its chances but two costly turnovers and two big plays gave the Falcons the 42-22 victory. The Falcon victory was the 20th time in the last 22 games that Air Force beat Army.

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