Report Card: Army vs. Boston College

The Army Black Knights won a thrilling last minute 34-31 victory over Boston College in front of a crowd of 39,942 at Michie Stadium. After Raymond Maples was stopped at the 1-yard line on fourth down with 2:03 left in the game, it looked like Army would lose another heart breaker. However, the defense forced a poor punt by the Eagles.

Army took advantage of the good field position as Trent Steelman scored his third touchdown of the day on a 29-yard run. The victory was Army's first this year and ended the Black Knights eight game losing streak.

PASSING OFFENSE C
Trent Steelman completed 5 for 12 for 79 yards. Steelman hit Patrick Laird for 14-yard completion on a button hook which produced a first down on Army's second touchdown drive. Laird (3 receptions, 42 yards) made an 18-yard reception on a perfectly placed pass from Steelman in the second quarter. Laird made a nice diving catch for a key 10 yard pass on the final drive of the half that set up Dan Grochowski?s 46-yard field goal. Laird has emerged as Steelman's go-to receiver. Laird later left the game with the strained hamstring.

Chevaughn Lawrence made a nice diving catch for a 28-yard completion. Raymond Maples caught a nine yard pass. Steelman threw the ball better than his numbers indicated. Boston College broke up three quality throws in the secondary with good defensive plays. Trent was also smart to throw the ball away a few times when no one was open. The offensive line did an outstanding job in pass protection allowing no sacks and giving Steelman time to throw.

RUSHING OFFENSE A
The Black Knights rushed for an amazing 516 yards, averaged 6.5 yards per carry and scored four rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Trent Steelman ran for a season high 141 yards on 22 carries and scored three touchdowns. It was a gutty performance from the four year starter that Army fans have come to expect, Steelman battled through playing wearing a vest to protect his injured ribs. Steelman's first touchdown came on a 1-yard run that was set up by B-back Larry Dixon's 34-yard run to the Eagles 1-yard line on the opening drive. Army second touchdown occurred when Steelman ran up the middle for a 27-yard touchdown run following a great seal block by Raymond Maples. Steelman distributed the ball well but lost a fumble when he tried to tuck the ball against the bulky rib protector he was wearing. Twice late in the game and on his game winning 29-yard touchdown run, Trent faked the pitch and created a nice running lane for himself. Steelman battled through a lot of pain and played great in willing this team to its first win.

A-back Raymond Maples set a personal career single game high record for rushing yards. Maples ran a career high 34 times for 184 yards. Maples had an odd game for him. His longest run was just 15 yards. Raymond just grinded out the yards and overcame two fumbles. On the opening touchdown drive of the game Maples took a pitch and was hit behind the line but maintained his balance to pick up 5 yards and a key first down. On Army?s second touchdown drive he was stripped of the ball after a seven yard run. The ball landed behind him. Maples was surrounded by three Eagle defenders but Raymond somehow managed to recover his fumble and keep the drive alive. In the second quarter he dropped a pitch and lost the fumble which led to an Eagles field goal. Maples ran with power in the fourth quarter, finishing his runs, but was stopped at the 1-yard line on fourth down with two minutes left in the game.

Fullback Larry Dixon used a season long 55-yard run to help rush for 128 yards and one touchdown. It was the second time this season that Steelman, Maples and Dixon each ran for over 100 yards each in the same game. C-back Malcolm Brown (6 car., 30 yards) had a quiet game running the ball for him but figured prominently in two key plays at the end of both halves. His 12-yard run off trap block put Army in field goal range for Grochkowski's 46-yard field before the end of the first half. On Trent?s game winning touchdown run Brown threw a down field cut block which the BC defender ran around to avoid thus giving Steelman the alley to score the game winner. Brown had his longest run called back with another illegal shift penalty in the Army backfield

After Stephen Fraser (1 car., 9 yards) left the game with an injury. Forgotten Trenton Turrentine showed his downhill running style as he ran three times for 24 yards. Turrentine had a nice kick out block to spring Maples for his longest run of the day but missed his block when Maples was stopped at fourth-and- goal from the one yard line.

The offensive line did a terrific job with backup center Will Wilson having a good day filling in for the injured Ryan Powis. The team was able to run behind left tackle Ben Jebb all day.

PASSING DEFENSE A
Army's defense held the top passing team in the ACC to 234 passing yards and just one touchdown pass. Chase Rettig entered the game averaging 323 passing yards. Rettig had thrown the week before for 341 yards and three touchdowns against Clemson.
Army's flex defense pressured him right out of the gate as they ended the day with five sacks. The big Boston college offensive line had difficulty handling the stunts and twists Army's quick defensive line ran.

Nate Combs (4 tackles) delivered a huge hit on BC wide receiver Bobby Swigert and separating him from the ball on the opening series forcing the Eagles to punt for a 3-and-out drive. Combs added two sacks. His second sack forced an Eagles punt that set up Army's 46 yard field goal before the end of the half. He had a costly off sides penalty that negated Justin Trimble (2 tackles) interception in the end zone and cost Army when BC scored a touchdown. Combs picked off the lateral, by rule a fumble recovery, to end the game.

Inside defensive tackle Bobby Kough continues to improve with three tackles and the first 1 ? sacks of his career. Fellow defensive tackle Richard Glover posted his first career sack. Defensive end Colin Linkul pressured Rettig on BC's initial drive and later teamed up with Kough to sack Rettig. Clayton Keller (1 tackle) also provided pressure when in the game on passing downs.

In the secondary sophomore cornerback Marques Avery (2 tackles, 2 passes defended) played well matched up against the Eagles playmaker Alex Amidon. Marques Avery was beat for Boston College's only passing touchdown caught by Amidon. He bit on a pump fake and was beat on a double move for a 20-yard touchdown. He had two passes defended in the fourth quarter including knocking down a long pass intended for Amidon which kept BC out of field goal position.

SAM safety Hayden Pierce (1 tackle, 1 pass def.) did a terrific job laying out to knock down a sideline pass but once again looks like he hurt his shoulder. He left the game and didn't return. Kyler Martin (1 tackle, 1 pass def.) replaced Pierce and later broke up 3rd down pass intended for Alex Amidon late in the third quarter.
Ty Shrader (1 tackle) started at free safety in place of the injured Brandon Fusilier Jeffires (concussion). He missed a chance to tackle Alex Amidon who ran after the catch for 33 yards. Shrader himself was later injured. Rover Alex Meier (6 tackles) did a nice job in coverage in the end zone on one play giving Rettig no angle to complete the pass in bounds.

RUSHING DEFENSE C
Army was victimized by two long touchdown runs to tarnished what was otherwise a solid performance. Thomas Holloway came off the bench to replace the injured Shrader and led the team with nine tackles. The staff had moved Holloway to Rover but he was ineffective in tight. Holloway is not fast but he's a much more productive players in space at safety. Geoff Bacon (5 tackles, 1 pass def.) had a quiet day for him mostly because the defensive line did a solid job.

Chris Carnegie (3 tackles) missed the key tackle on running back Andre Williams 99 yard touchdown run. Army was guilty of over-pursuing and were burned on Alex Amidon 24-yard end around touchdown. The defense deserves credit for not quitting and making a three- and-out stand after Maples was stopped at the one yard line. They gave the offense a chance at redemption and it resulted in Army's first victory.

SPECIAL TEAMS B
Army place kicker Dan Grochowski connected of two of three field goal tries. Grochkowski nailed a key career long 46 yard field goal before the half. He missed a deflating 26 yard attempt after a long Army drive in the third period. The snap was a little high but AJ Schurr put it down cleanly. Dan simply hit it poorly. He rebounded the next possession to hit a 20 yard field goal.
Chris Boldt averaged 37.5 per punt and placed a perfect punt inside the twenty yard line that was downed by Justin Allen at the two yard line. Jon Crucitti had no room on his two punt returns. Stephan Fraser fumbled when he was injured after a 22 yard kickoff return. His injury initially looked serious but initial reports say it was a hip pointer and he could return possibly as early as next week. Junior Julian Crockett replaced the injured Fraser and made a nice cut on a 35 yard kickoff return. Coverage teams allowed only a 19 yards on the one kick off that was returned. Zach Williams had a nice tackle on that kickoff. Eric Osteen continues to blast his kickoffs. He posting four touchbacks on his six kickoffs.

COACHING A
Offensive coordinator Ian Shields decision to tweak the formation paid dividends as the play they used, a run option to the back side of the formation, resulted in Trent Steelman's 29-yard game winning run.

I thought the defense may have been a little too aggressive running almost the goal line defense after pinning BC on the one yard line. Once Andre Williams broke through line he only had to break the tackle of Chris Carnegie for a Michie Stadium record 99-yard touchdown run. Give credit to the staff for having the team mentally prepared to play. Army held the top passing team in the ACC below their season average while playing most of the game with their second string SAM safety and third string safety.

OVERALL GRADE A
With their season on the brink the Army players and coaching
staff responded with a tremendous effort on both sides of the ball. Steelman and Nate Combs showed why they deserved to be named captains as Army ended its eight game losing streak.



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