Report Card: Army vs. Fordham

The Army Black Knights rolled over the overmatched FCS Fordham Rams 55-0 on Senior Day at Michie Stadium. Starting quarterback Max Jenkins exclaimed after the game," It was like Christmas." It looked like a white Christmas as the game was played in a driving snow storm. Army ran for a season-high 514 yards on Saturday, its highest total since going for 545 yards versus Lafayette in 1997.

The Black Knights dominated an injury depleted Fordham defense at the point of attack. Last week Fordham's quarterback Ryan Higgins threw for 413 yards and two scores. The weather and the Army defense shut down the Fordham offense. The Black Knights' defense limited Fordham to 86 yards of total offense and just six first downs all day. The Black Knights improve to 3-5.




With injured quarterback Trent Steelman sitting in the press box, looking like an Army's answer to Eminem in his sweatshirt and baggy cap, the team didn't miss a beat. Senior quarterback Max Jenkins completed 1 of 2 passes for 30 yards and a touchdown. On Jenkins' first pass attempt, wide receiver Davyd Brooks was able to get behind the Rams secondary but the snow cover ball slipped out of Jenkins hands has he was throwing and it fluttered to the ground incomplete. Jenkins last pass early in the second quarter was a perfect throw to Anthony Stevens on a post route for a touchdown. It was Steven's first career touchdown reception. Army's backup quarterbacks Angel Santiago and Gino DeBartolo didn't attempt a pass. DeBartolo has demonstrated a nice arm playing quarterback for the JV team and was promoted to the varsity after Steelman's injury.
Army rushed for 514 yards and piled up 27 first downs. Sophomore A-back Raymond Maples ran for 159 yards on just 10 carries. It was his fourth 100 yard rushing game of the season. Maples burst free for a 57-yard run. Freshman B-back Larry Dixon made his first career start. Larry ran with his usual power for 85 yards and a touchdown on his 10 carries. Starting quarterback Max Jenkins did an excellent job in handling and distributing the ball. Max ran for 35 yards, scored two touchdowns and committed no turnovers. Backup quarterback Angel Santiago (3 att., 58 yards) showed his speed and leg strength in leading Army to a touchdown on his only series. Jared Hassin (14 yards, 1 TD), who is in the doghouse for his fumbling, finally scored his first touchdown this year. Jonathan Crucitti (12 yards, 1 TD) scored his first career touchdown on a four yard run in the third quarter. Sophomore fullback Hayden Tippett ran hard (4 att., 40 yards, 1 TD) and scored his first career touchdown. The blowout allowed a number of backups and underclassmen to get playing time. Army's offense line dominated the injury riddled Fordham defensive front seven.
Fordham quarterback Ryan Higgins entered the game having thrown for a career high 413 yards the previous week. The weather conditions and the Black Knights defense made it impossible for the Rams to run their spread offense. Higgins completed only 1 of 6 passes for 5 yards with an interception. Army sacked Higgins twice. Army only allowed 17 passing yards.

Cornerback Lamar Johnson-Harris did a nice job reading the QB to record his first career interception which he returned 21 yards to set up an Army touchdown. Whip linebacker Nates Combs (3 tackles, 1 for a loss) knocked the ball out of Higgins hand rushing the passer. Combs picked the ball up and scored his first career touchdown with a 52-yard fumble return. Similar to the offense, Army's backups had a chance to shine against the overmatched Rams. Kyler Martin (4 tackles) started at Rover in place of Steve Erzinger who was resting a sore hamstring. Martin posted a sack. Quick end Zach Watts (2 tackles) recorded the other Army sack. Thomas Holloway (3 tackles) started at free safety over Tyler Dickson (2 tackles)
Army held the Rams to only 69 rushing yards. Defensive tackle Broghan Carnes saw a lot of action on Senior day. Carnes led the Black Knights with seven tackles. Mike linebacker Geoffrey Bacon made six tackles. That was the mix throughout the stat sheet where a lot of seniors that rarely play from scrimmage saw playing time, as well as some underclassmen. The Black Knights won the battles up front and ruled the day. Army posted its first shutout since a 24-0 win over North Texas last year.
Chris Boldt had the game off as Army never had to attempt a punt. Eric Osteen did a nice job on his nine kickoffs in the miserable conditions. He recorded a touch back and made a tackle on a kick return. Josh Jackson fumbled one punt return. Jackson made three returns for just one yard and wasn't deep enough on a punt by the Rams that went over his head. Scott Williams returned the opening kickoff 21 yards. Alex Carlton had his final extra point attempt blocked.
Rich Ellerson and his staff had the team ready to play. Ellerson's week long focus on ball security seemed to pay dividends as Army's only offensive fumble came from third string quarterback Gino DeBartolo in the miserable conditions. Ian Shields offense kept it simple; he avoided pitch plays and let the offensive line dominate the Rams up front. Ellerson, who used the game to play a lot of players, emerged from the game with a healthy team and avoided running up the score on a Rams team that was overmatched.
The Black Knights rolled to an easy win over an overmatched foe. Still give Army its due. The final score 55-0 is still impressive. We've seen FCS opponents like VMI keep the games with Army competitive the last few years. The Black Knights entered the game focused and took care of business.

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