Army Defense and Special Teams highs and lows

A look at some of the highlights.. and low-lights of Army's defense and special teams in 2012.

Most Valuable Player on Defense- Bandit linebacker Nate Combs. The defensive team captain rebounded from serious knee surgery to come all the way back. He led the team in sacks, turnovers forced and tackles for a loss despite missing two games with an injury.

Best first year Defensive Starter (Non-plebe) – Tackle Bobby Kough won the starting defensive tackle job after sitting out last year. He experienced an extremely difficult plebe year. He suffered from the effects of Beast Barracks and was sick early during his freshman season. The following spring he had an injury that caused him to miss most of spring practice. Kough's father tragically passed away during his plebe season. Kough, who started all twelve games, struggled early in the year but his play improved as the season progressed. He earned All-Independent honorable mention.

Best Plebe on Defense- Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires earned freshman All-American honors as well as honorable mention on the All-Independent team. He brought size and athleticism to a very young secondary. Fusilier-Jeffires loves to hit and brings the lumber. He possesses good speed and should only improve with experience.

Best Defensive Play- With Air Force mounting a late comeback Nate Combs recovered a fumble in the end zone against Air Force after a botched shotgun snap for a touchdown to put the game out of reach. Combs punctuated the win with a game ending interception at the goal line.

Most Disappointing Defensive Breakdown- Army's defense struggled all year allowing too many long runs and big plays. The Temple game was the worst of all; it was an embarrassment. The Temple Owls ran over the Army Black Knights for the third straight year amassing 534 rushing yards and nine scores in a 63-32 rout. Temple running back Montel Harris ran for a Big East record 351 yards and seven touchdowns against the Black Knights over-matched defense. Temple's big, physical offensive line, which wasn't as talented as previous years, just lined up with no splits and pushed Army's defensive line back. It was ugly.

Best Special Teams Performance- Eric Osteen did a terrific job on kickoffs all year producing 29 touch-backs.

Worst Special Teams Performance- The performance in the Rutgers game by both the kicking and punting units was ugly for the second year in a row. Dan Grochowski wasted two long drives by the offense with low line drive field goal attempts into the line which never had a chance. Punter Chris Boldt shanked a 9-yard punt which set up the Rutgers go-ahead touchdown. Long snapper Andrew Ellerson filling in for an injured Frank Ceva launched a snap over Boldt's head which Larry Dixon recovered at the 1-yard line. It gave Rutgers an easy one yard touchdown and a 21-7 lead. It blew open a game that was tied 7-7 just minutes before in the fourth quarter. Top Stories