Report Card: Army vs. Miami (Ohio)

Army blew a 14 point second half lead to lose 35-28 to the previously winless Miami (Ohio) RedHawks on the road. Miami quarterback Zac Dysert passed for 342 yards and four touchdowns to lead the comeback. The Black Knights scored on the opening possession of the second half to take a 28-14 lead.

After that Army's offense failed to score the rest of the game as quarterback Trent Steelman was forced to leave the game a number of times with leg cramps. Steelman was replaced by an ineffective Max Jenkins who failed to sustain either drive he appeared in. Raymond Maples had a costly fumble that gave Miami (Ohio) a short field and a touchdown that allowed them to tie the score. Army's defense could not stop the RedHawks in the second half as the Black Knights drop to (2-4). Army lost all three games against the MAC this year.



Miami (Ohio)

Trent Steelman completed all of his passes for the second consecutive week. Trent was a perfect eight for eight as he threw for 124 yards and a touchdown. He made his best throw of the year to a wide open Malcolm Brown streaking down seam for a 45-yard touchdown. Brown (2 rec. 68 yards 1 TD) may have had another long touchdown on the final drive but Steelman's pass was behind him and he had to break stride to catch the pass. Max Jenkins only pass attempt was incomplete when he badly overthrew an open Davyd Brooks (2 rec, 18 yards) on a slant pattern. Jared McFarlin caught a 14-yard pass for a first down in the first half. Steelman made a nice scramble on the final drive to avoid pressure and hit Austin Barr with third down pass. It looked like Powis snapped the ball early but Barr made a terrific sliding catch for a nine yard gain at the first down marker. Steelman's last completion of the game was a 14-yard pass to Patrick Laird on a roll out. It was a perfect throw that beat double coverage as Laird made the first catch of his career. Steelman was able to avoid Miami's pressure all day, except for the final play of the game when the RedHawks all-out blitz sacked him before he could get the ball off.
Army posted another 300 plus yard rushing game. They rushed for 326 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Two costly lost fumbles, one by Trent Steelman that ended a long drive and one by Raymond Maples that gave Miami a short field to tie the score, probably cost the team a victory. Trent Steelman (24 rushes, 99 yards, 2 TDs) did a solid job on his reads except for one wayward pitch to Maples that fortunately rolled out of bounds. In the hot weather, Steelman cramped up and had to be replaced by Max Jenkins (1 rush, 1 yard) who was unable to move the team the two times he was called on.

Raymond Maples (19 rushes, 111 yards, 2 TDs), other than the fumble, had another terrific game. He finished his runs and exploded through the hole on his 25-yard touchdown run. Jared Hassin (5 rushes. 41 yards) started well but didn't carry the ball in the second half. He had to take himself out of the game a few times and it's obvious his back is still acting up. Larry Dixon, the back-up B-back, (4 rushes, 35 yards, 0 TD) showed his power and speed on an 18-yard run to the one yard line that set up Army's first touchdown.

Malcolm Brown continues to be effective (90 all-purpose yards) while playing hurt. The offensive line blocked very well until the last drive when Miami used its run blitz effectively. Jon Crucitti (6 yards) and the other Army running backs were unable to block the RedHawk's Brison Burris who was taking the pitch back.

Plebe center Ryan Powis smartly snapped the ball early when Miami jumped offsides in the first half giving the Black Knights a first down. WR Austin Barr had a nice kick out block on Steelman's 5-yard touchdown run.
Army played the same Cover 4 scheme they did against Tulane. Coming into the contest Miami (Ohio) had trouble protecting the quarterback. Unfortunately this week the RedHawks returned two starters on the offensive line. Army, despite their best efforts, was unable to get consistent pressure and break Dysert's rhythm. Only Steve Erzinger (1 sack, 8 tackles, 1 quarterback hurry) sacked Dysert.

The RedHawks spread the field and were able to match-up their multiple receivers in man coverage against Army safeties Hayden Pierce (3 tackles) and Thomas Holloway (16 tackles). Pierce's coverage technique wise wasn't terrible. With inconsistent pressure by the flex front on the QB Dysert, Pierce simply isn't fast enough to cover Nick Harwell who is one of the best receivers in the nation in yards per catch. Thomas Holloway had a nice open field tackle on Nick Harwell on a bubble screen to force one of Miami's punts.

Holloway had facemask penalty on a touchdown drive. Cornerback Josh Jackson (3 tackles, 1 pass defensed) was outrun deep for a 45 yard bomb to Nick Harwell on the opening drive despite having decent position. Jackson was beaten on a slant by Miami WR Cruz for a touchdown. Jackson nailed Scott with a huge hit on a sideline pass but if he had jumped the route instead he probably would had an interception return for a touchdown. Colin Linkul (1 tackle, 1 quarterback hurry) wasn't able to match the havoc he created against Tulane. Andrew Rodriguez (6 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 pass def.) did an excellent job, breaking up a pass in the end zone. A-Rod's inexperience at defensive end showed when he failed to maintain his pass rush lane on Miami's game winning drive and Dysert ran for 24 yards.
With the return of their two linemen Miami was able to run the ball effectively. They had entered the game ranked dead last (120th) in nation in rushing. Army was stuck on blocks all day as they allowed 161 yards rushing, 4.9 per carry and a touchdown. Tyler Dickson (6 tackles, 1 forced fumble) forced a fumble on the goal line and delivered two big hits.
Chris Boldt averaged 37.5 yards per punt and hit a beautiful punt that was downed at the 2-yard-line. Josh Jackson returned a punt ten yards. Plebe Marcus Jackson made his first appearance on Kickoff returns (13.5) and dropped the ball on one return. Scott Williams had a nice 22-yard return past the 30-yard-line to set up Army's final drive. On kick coverage Army once again did an excellent job covering kicks.
Offensive coordinator Ian Shields had a very solid game plan and implemented it well. Steelman's cramping up that forced him to leave during two drives and it hurt the offense. Shields decision to return to the slower but more reliable and experienced wide receivers Davyd Brooks and Austin Barr has worked well. Over the last two games since the change, Steelman has completed 11 consecutive passes.

I liked the defensive game plan to attack the quarterback like last week against Tulane with the Cover 4 scheme. It made sense since Miami (Ohio) entered the game allowing 10 sacks over the previous two games. I just didn't like the results. It's obvious now that if Army can't generate pressure or if an opponent can run block the Black Knight defense can't stop them.
It's now pretty clear that the Black Knights have taken a step back this year and will not make a bowl appearance. The offense, except for some occasional lapses and too many turnovers, does its job every week and moves the ball. The defense is small, young inexperienced and overmatched right now. Army had to win this game to salvage its hopes for the season. Instead, it blew a second half two touchdown lead and lost by a touchdown.

Discuss this game in our Black Knight's Alley FORUM. Top Stories