Army 2013 Review: Pivot Points

How does a season evolve? Where does it make that positive right turn or that negative left turn at an intersection between peril and opportunity? For the past few weeks, we've been looking at statistics to shed some light on the flow of the 2013 season. For the next few weeks, we'll look more at the timing of various kinds of plays. Timing, after all, is so much of the battle in sports.


PIVOT POINTS, PART ONE: BALL STATE, STANFORD, WAKE FOREST

Here’s what “Pivot Points” is meant to achieve: This item won’t be a full scoring recap or a full game recap; it will try to show the various points in a game when the push-and-pull of competition moved in one direction or another. Every game offers its own unique portrayal of how the tension between success and failure evolved through a series of organic events. The teams that win manage to put themselves on the right side of these chains of events more often than not. Today, we’ll look at the first three FBS games from the 2013 season. We’ll use similar samples for subsequent editions of “Pivot Points” to round out the month of July and move into the beginning of August.

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BALL STATE

-- Army’s defense gave up a touchdown after scoring one in the early stages. Ball State had a second and 15 which it converted into a first down on that drive. On Army’s next drive, a first and 15 led to a punt.

-- Later, Army fumbled immediately after Ball State took a 17-7 lead.

-- Still later, Army missed a field goal with Ball State leading, 20-7. The Black Knights were not able to stay in the game after that point in time.

STANFORD

-- Army’s defense came up with three-and-outs on each of its first two series of downs.

-- After Stanford took a 14-6 lead, Army was stopped on fourth and one at the Stanford 35. The Cardinal then kicked a field goal on their next possession for a 17-6 lead.

-- Army answered the Stanford field goal with a touchdown drive. The touchdown came on third and nine at the Stanford 15, cutting the Black Knights’ deficit to 17-13.

-- Army’s defense forced a Stanford punt in just four plays to start the second half.

-- An Army fumble gave Stanford a short field when the Black Knights were about to punt with a possibility of pinning the Cardinal inside their own 10. Stanford gets a touchdown on its (short-field) drive and takes a 27-13 lead.

-- After falling behind by a 27-13 margin, Army got just one first down from its offense on its next two possessions. Stanford scored a touchdown during this stretch and salted away the game by taking a 34-13 lead.

WAKE FOREST

-- Following a safety for a 2-0 lead, Army commits an illegal block on the kickoff. Wake Forest gets a 62-yard net on the exchange of possession.

-- Army fumbles on its next two drives, but the Black Knights’ defense holds Wake Forest to only three total points on those two drives.

-- After Wake takes a 3-2 lead, Army’s offense goes three-and-out on its next possession.

-- Army’s defense comes up with an interception on Wake’s next possession.

-- Army’s offense punts after four plays on its next possession.

-- Wake hits a 66-yard touchdown pass on its next possession to take a 10-2 lead.

-- Army gets a field goal and then a turnover from Wake’s offense. The Black Knights set up at the Demon Deacons’ 41 with 38 seconds left in the first half.

-- In-bounds completions short of the first-down marker run out the first-half clock. Army fails to get points from that short field.

-- Down 10-5 in the second half, Army commits a false start on first and 10 at the Wake 19. Army settles for a field goal to trail by a 10-8 score.

-- The defense responds with a three-and-out.

-- The offense is victimized by another false start on third and eight at the Wake 17. Army settles for a field goal and an 11-10 lead.

-- On Wake’s next possession, the Demon Deacons hit a 39-yard pass play and score a touchdown plus a two-point conversion for an 18-11 lead.

-- Army’s offense gets one first down and punts on its next drive.

-- Wake scores a touchdown to put the game away, 25-11.

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