Army Black Knights lost to the previously winless Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 49-42 on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium. Hawaii dominated Army early as they jumped out to a 28-7 halftime lead. The Rainbow Warriors lived up to their reputation as an undisciplined and horrible third quarter team as they allowed Army's backup quarterback A.J. Schurr to direct three consecutive touchdown drives to tie the score at 28-28. Hawaii rebounded and answered with three long touchdown drives each over 75-yards against the Black Knights' hapless defense. Army's offense scored twice in the fourth quarter but couldn't overcome the deficit as Army's defense struggled to get stops. Army has lost four straight games and their record has dropped to 3-8. Army has lost all three meetings against Hawaii and is 0-2 at Aloha Stadium.
PASSING OFFENSE: D
Army quarterback Angel Santiago had a miserable night throwing the ball. He completed just 3-of-10 passes for 16 passing yards and was sacked three times. Santiago's best pass play was a throw that bounced off Hawaii cornerback Ne'Qu Phillips and into the arms of Army wide receiver Chevaughn Lawrence (2 rec. for 28 yards) for a 12-yard gain. The ball actually hit the ground and Santiago drew a roughing the passer penalty to set up his only touchdown drive of the night. It was that type of night for Santiago when that play was his best pass play. With Hawaii run blitzing almost every down it created one-on-one match-ups for the wide receivers but Santiago was consistently off target. He missed a wide open Anthony Stephens in the middle of the field on the final drive of the first half. The ball wasn't close and it would have been a big play.
AJ Schurr replaced Santiago at quarterback after halftime and threw the ball well. AJ completed 5-of-10 passes for a career high 122 passing yards while being sacked once. He connected with fullback Matt Giachinta for eight yards to convert a key third down on Army's opening touchdown drive of the second half. Schurr made a perfect throw to hit Xavier Moss (3 rec. for 72 yards) in stride for a 48-yard gain that tied the score. AJ made another really nice throw to Terry Baggett for a 42-yard gain. The offensive line had trouble against Hawaii's active defensive front that was ranked fourth in the nation in tackles for a loss. If you graded them individually Santiago's passing grade was an "F" and Schurr's was a "B". Overall Santiago's ineffectiveness in the first half throwing the ball cost the Black Knights any chance to win this game.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C
Watching this game in the first half it amazing to realize that the Black Knights ran for 254 yards, averaged 6.4 yards per carry and had five rushing touchdowns. Army opened the game with 30 rushing yards on their first three carries before a fumble by quarterback Angel Santiago (15 att., 23 yards) put the Black Knights in an early hole. After the first drive Hawaii started to run blitz, stunt,twist on their defensive front to attack the mesh point. Army had a negative -7 rushing yards on six carries as they had two straight three-and-out series following the turnover.
Quarterback AJ Schurr did a nice job moving the team in the second half despite three fumbles all of which Army recovered. Schurr ran for 47 yards on 15 carries and scored the first four touchdowns of his career. Schurr demonstrated a nice burst on a 34-yard run down to the two yard line following a recovered onside kick to set up his second touchdown run. AJ's rushing yards were negatively impacted by a sack, two fumbles and a poor pitch way behind Lawrence Scott.
Terry Baggett (14 att., 81 yards) ran hard but a rare fourth quarter lost fumble by him was costly and killed a promising drive. Running back Tony Giovannelli (7 atts, 52 yards) did a nice job turning the corner and blocking in space. Trenton Turrentine returned and had one 16-yard run on the initial touchdown drive.
B-back Matt Giachinta had only four carries for 35 yards and a touchdown. With Hawaii crashing the mesh and firing into the A gaps there wasn't any running room for the fullbacks most of the night. Giachinta's touchdown came when Hawaii fired so many of their front seven into the A gaps that it looked like surf was up at Waikiki Beach Beach and they were running to catch the waves. Matt made a nice slide step into the B gap and ran into the end zone untouched. Center Ryan Powis had a miserable first half but rebounded in the second half as Army put up 35 points. Give credit to co-captain MoMo Kime for being a stabilizing sideline voice in the first half as the Army offensive line made adjustments and finally was able to get the running game going.
PASSING DEFENSE: D
Hawaii completed 24 of 34 passes for 323 passing yards with four touchdowns and an interception. Chris Carnegie (13 tackles, INT) led Army in tackles as he had his hands full trying to cover speedy Chris Grant. Carnegie had a key interception following a poor decision by Rich Ellerson to go for it in the first quarter deep in their own territory. Carnegie was able to maintain leverage and picked off the under thrown pass when Hawaii was threatening to run the Black Knights out of the building.
Cornerback Josh Jenkins (7 tackles, FR, PD) competed but was beat in coverage a few times. He did recover a fumble, which helped Army get back in the game, and knocked down a pass. Shaquille Tolbert (8 tackles, FF, PD) had a few nice hits and forced an important fumble that set up a touchdown which helped Army get back in the game. Tolbert had one of his better games but he struggles in man coverage against wide open passing teams. After Army tied the score Shaq had a big missed tackle on a short third down pass that Hawaii's Scott Harding took for a 36-yard gain. Hayden Pierce (6 tackles) had to run down Harding and drew a facemask penalty that set up an easy touchdown run. Geoffrey Bacon was in on nine tackles and did a nice job on a blitz to force an incompletion. Bacon tends to forget his free safety duties to cover the deep middle due to his aggressiveness. He was late with help a few times because he bit on play action.
Bobby Kough (4 tackles, sack) recorded Army's only sack as Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder had plenty of time to throw most of the game. Hawaii's 245 -pound running back Joey Iosefa faked out the entire defense with his Tim Tebow like jump pass for a 1-yard touchdown throw to Harold Molenti. Army used Tyler Dickson (2 tackles) as a nickle back and he often looked lost out there. Army made a few plays in coverage to force turnovers to keep this from being a failing grade.
RUSHING DEFENSE: F
The Black Knights rush defense was bull dozed all game by Hawaii's power running tandem of Joey Iosefa (154 yards, TD) and Steve Lakalaka (105 yards, TD). The Rainbow Warriors ran for 285 yards, 5.5 yards per carry and three touchdowns. Mike linebacker Colby Miller threw himself around (13 tackles) but was run over a few times. Defensive tackle Mike Ugenyi (7 tackles, TFL) was active but too many of his tackles were down the field. James Kelly (7 tackles) switched spots and played whip linebacker with Jarrett Mackey playing quick end this game. Jarrett Mackey (3 tackles, QBH) looked like a valet waiting to park Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder's car rather than tackling the reluctant quarterback who finally scrambled on third down from the six yard line for a touchdown to give Hawaii a 49-35 lead. I have no idea what Mackey was thinking on that play. Marcus Poling (2 tackles) was lucky he didn't break his leg when he was bent back awkwardly making a tackle near the goal line in the second half. At times Army's defense looked like little kids trying to tackle the big kid in the neighborhood as Iosefa literally ran over them.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Punter Alex Tardieu had five punts for a 35.2 average. He placed one inside the 20-yard line. Tardieu remains inconsistent. He nailed his first punt 49 yards then on his second attempt the ball traveled just 16 yards setting up an easy Hawaii touchdown. Julian Crockett had three kickoff returns for just 52 yards. Scott Williams made a nice play to field a rugby punt and return it five yards but was injured on the play. Kicker Dan Grochowski had one touchback and hit all his extra points. Plebe Andrew King recovered one of two onside kicks. Army did an excellent job in coverage.
Rich Ellerson as usual didn't have his team ready to match the opposition's intensity on the road. With his team not running the ball well it was a total panic move to go for it on fourth-and-one from his own 34 down 14-0. Army was stuffed and was lucky Chris Carnegie picked off a pass or Hawaii would have been up 21-0 in the first quarter.
Ian Shields was right to attack Hawaii over the top the way they were selling out on defense. The problem was that Angel Santiago was unable to exploit it while AJ Schurr was able to make plays. I did think Shields went away from the pitch plays and speed option a little too much for a few series in the first half. In fairness to Shields the receivers were open and Santiago needed to connect with them. I give them credit for making the quarterback change when they did.
Chris Smeland and Payam Saadat get a lot a grief but their defensive plan was basically sound. Army's defensive personnel lack the talent, speed and ability to create a lot of negative plays in the front seven. This is a pressure based scheme where the defensive line is unable to consistently pressure the quarterback. There was too much time for Hawaii to throw the ball.
OVERALL GRADE: D
A typical Army road loss. The Black Knights seemed stuffed from the opening quarter as they failed to match Hawaii's intensity or speed. Once again Army lost to a winless team that was clearly more talented than they were. It says a lot about the current state of the program.
Army Report Card: Hawaii
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