Army Report Card: Kent State

Army fell to Kent State 39-18 on Saturday in Kent, Ohio.'s Jim Lawler grades the Black Knights performance in several key team areas.

he previously winless Kent State Golden Flashes scored the last 19 points to of the game to defeat the Army Black Knights 39-17. Kent State led 13-10 at halftime and but pulled away with 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Kent State quarterback Colin Reardon passed for a career-high 360 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score. The Black Knights cornerback Josh Jenkins intercepted a pass on the opening series but Kent State proceeded to score on eight of their next nine possessions. The punting game, which had been stellar, broke down with a shanked Alex Tardieu punt that traveled just 16-yards and allowed the Golden Flashes a very short 43- yard touchdown drive before the end of the half. Army opened the second half with a miserable three and out series which ended with long snapper Conner Farley hitting the upback with the ball and Tardieu covering the ball at Army's own eight yard line. Two plays later the Golden Flashes scored and took a 20-10 lead. This is the third time in the last two years that the Black Knights have lost to an winless team. Army's record drops to 2-5.

Angel Santiago completed 3-of-10 passes for 17 passing yards and an interception. It was the first game of the all season that Angel badly missed open receivers.

Santiago first completion was a shovel pass to Raymond Maples for 4-yards after the costly holding penalty on the first drive moved the Black Knights from the two yard line to the 18. On third down he overthrew Tony Giovannelli who was open but short of the goal line as the Black Knights settled for a field goal. On the next series he missed an open Edgar Poe on a poor short pass while trying to throw on the move. He completed an 8-yard pass to tight end Kelvin White the next play.

The following series ended when Santiago missed an open Xavier Moss and was almost intercepted. On the last series of the first half slotback Joe Walker attempted a halfback option pass to Santiago but the ball hung in the air and was incomplete in traffic. Santiago then missed Raymond Maples, who had a step, on a seam route. Out of the shotgun Santiago did a nice job handling a high snap and threw a bomb to Xavier Moss who drew a pass interference penalty to keep the drive alive. On third down with 23 second left, Santiago was sacked for a five yard loss. Army let the time run down and strong armed former quarterback Kelvin White came in an threw a nice Hail Mary ball from the forty yard line in the corner of the end zone for Xavier Moss but it was knocked away.

Santiago was credited for a completed pass on a short shovel pass on the miserable first series to open the second half. On his next pass in the fourth quarter, he badly missed Tony Giovannelli who was wide open on a wheel route. Santiago threw over the wrong shoulder. If he had just led him it would have been a touchdown. Down 33-17 Santiago forced a post pattern into coverage to Moss and was picked off. The ball never should have been thrown.

AJ Schurr came off the bench for the final series. He was 2-for- 3 for 18 passing yards. The first "completion" was a forward option pitch to Giovannelli for seven yards. He then completed one of two passes to Xavier Moss before in his china doll fashion he left the game after a hit on a running play. Santiago returned and his fourth down pass to Joe Walker was incomplete.

The Black Knights ran for 295 yards, averaged 5.3 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns. The numbers were padded by some long running plays. The Army's running attack was unable to sustain drives and failed to answer Kent State in the second half when they were outscored 26-7. New plebe tackle Mike Houghton had a costly holding penalty on the first drive that moved the ball from the two yard line to the 18 and the Black Knights ultimately had to settle for a field goal.

Angle Santiago (21 att., 77 yards) ripped off a 27-yard run in the second quarter to set up a score. Santiago would have scored but tight end Kelvin White missed a block downfield. Santiago did a decent job running the option but there was a lot of penetration as Army did a lot of shuffling on the offensive line. He made some nice late pitches for good gains, while taking the hits, but this was one of those games where in the spread dual slotback option looks to the quarterback to make plays. With the fullbacks limited it forced more on to Santiago's shoulders which isn't his game.

Raymond Maples (3 att., 20 yards, TD) finished a touchdown drive with a hard run where he twisted and broke two tackles then lunged over the goal line. B-back Larry Dixon ran 16 times for 71 yards. He didn't find much running room as Kent State focused on the fullback dive. His longest gain was 13-yards. Tony Giovannelli had his best game with seven carries for a team high 90 yards. Santiago made a nice last second pitch on Giovannelli 37- yard run to set up his score. Tony scored four plays later on an 8-yard touchdown run as Baggett made a great block and he scored untouched. Terry Baggett had two carries for 24 yards. Baggett had a 24-yard run on a late pitch from Santiago. Terry lost a 16-yard run on a costly bogus chop block penalty called against Larry Dixon in the open field. It killed a promising drive late in the second half and after Tardieu's bad punt the Golden Flashes took a 13-10 lead and never looked back.

Slotback Joe Walker looks like he finally getting over the freshman jitters as he carried three times for 18 yards. B-back Aaron Kemper saw just two carries for five yards. Matt Giachinta ran once for three yards on third down to move the chains and set up Maples touchdown.

The Black Knights started two new safeties but it didn't help. They allowed a struggling quarterback, Colin Reardon, a career high with 360 yards and three touchdowns. Too bad Army can't clone Josh Jenkins (13 tackles, INT, PD). The cornerback picked off Reardon on the opening series and nearly intercepted another pass to force the only punt of the day. If it wasn't for his play, the rest of the secondary would have earned a failing grade. Jenkins did join the missed tackle parade as wide receiver Chris Humphrey spun away out of a Jenkins tackle and scored from the two yard line on an eight yard touchdown reception.

Chris Carnegie (4 tackles) missed a chance at an interception and played soft in coverage. The Black Knights broke in two new safeties in true freshman Rhyan England (5 tackles, PD) and Luke Prioux (9 tackles) were thrown in front of all day as Reardon played pitch and catch completing 27-of 40 passes. England had been playing offense but was moved to safety and thrown in the deep end of the pool. He made a nice hit in the end zone on Josh Boylan to break up a pass and force a field goal. Prioux lacks speed and coverage skills. Tevin Long played nickel back and was beat on a few throws. Stephen Ricciardi (1 tackle) had a miserable game and couldn't handle tight end Casey Pierce, who scored twice, in coverage. He did get pressure on Reardon when he threw the interception. Army had no sacks even though they blitzed and tried to create pressure.

The Black Knights defense allowed 107 rushing yards as they gave up 4.5 yards per carry and a rushing touchdown. While that sound pretty good, consider that Kent State entered the game ranked 122nd in the country in rushing. They were averaging just 68.2 rushing yards per game.

The benched safety Hayden Pierce (1 tackle) was stiffed armed by the small Nick Holley and carried for extra yards on a 24-yard gain before making the tackle on the drive that set up Kent State's touchdown to make it a 13-10 game. Inside linebackers Jeremy Timpf (4 tackles) and Andrew King (3 tackles) teamed to stop Nick Holley and force a field goal on the opening drive but did little the rest of the day. The entire front other than Richard Glover (3 tackles) did little. Army's James Kelly (0 tackles, blocked kick) failed to seal the edge a few times and was lost on his drops in coverage. The Black Knight linebacker acted like they never saw a read option before as the not very mobile Kent State quarterbacks ran for 49 yards and a score on seven carries. While it wasn't a lot of yards the Golden Flashes were able to maintain drives all day. This offense had averaged just 11.8 points per game entering the game and ended up scoring 39 points.

Dan Grochowski hit a 32-yard field goal and had a touchback on four kickoffs. The usually reliable punt team had a terrible day. Alex Tardieu had three punts for a 38-yard average. His first punt was a terrific 53 yard effort that was downed at the four yard line. Tardieu shanked a punt that traveled just 16-yards and allowed the Golden Flashes short 43-yard touchdown drive before the end of the half. Army opened the third quarter when long snapper Conner Farley hit the up-back and Tardieu covered the ball at Army's own eight yard line. Two plays later the Golden Flashes scored and took a 20-10 lead. Farley had another bad snap on an extra point that AJ Schurr was able to place down. Tardieu did hit a nice 45 yard punt with Jenkins dropping Brooks for a one yard loss. Chris Carnegie and Josh Jenkins each had one nice return and three others that didn't gain much yardage. Earnest Calhoun almost broke two kickoff returns. James Kelly blocked an extra point attempt.

Jeff Monken's line up shuffling and running multiple players out there didn't work. I believe the shuffling of the offensive line hurt the ability for that unit to get in synch. The defensive changes didn't work. Offensive coordinator Brent Davis system is too quarterback centric for the talent on hand and doesn't get the ball in the hands of Baggett and Maples nearly enough. Defensive coordinator Jay Bateman defense allowed a Kent State offense that hadn't scored more than 17 points in six games and averaged just 11.8 point per game to move up and down the field at will.

Army continues to be the worse road team in football. The Black Knights last road victory on an opponent’s home field was against Kent State in 2010. This was a bad, struggling Kent State team and Army was overmatched by them. This was a terrible, inexcusable performance.

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