Army Black Knights lost to the Navy Midshipmen, 17-10 for the thirteenth consecutive year in America's Game played at M&T Bank Stadium. The Black Knight took and early 7-0 lead when Josh Jenkins blocked a Navy punt block inside the Midshipmen's ten yard line. Xavier Moss picked up the ball and ran it in seven yards for the score. Navy used the passing of quarterback Keenan Reynolds to pull even on a nine yard touchdown pass to Jamir Tillman late in the first half. It was the start of 17 unanswered points by Navy to secure the victory. It was a defensive struggle and Army's offense failed to score a touchdown. Kicker Daniel Grochowski, who missed a long 49-yard field goal attempt on Army's only third quarter drive, nailed a career-long 52-yard field goal to narrow the score to a touchdown with 1:51 left in the quarter. Navy recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock. The Midshipmen have dominated the series winning a now record thirteen straight game in the rivalry to improve its lead in the all-time series to 59-49-7.
PASSING OFFENSE: D
Army starting quarterback Angel Santiago was 0-for 2 passing. Santiago hit Joe Walker on the opening series for what looked to be a third down completion along the sidelines. Walker bobbled the ball and landed out of bounds as it was correctly ruled incomplete. Angel's third down pass on the next series was battled down by blitzing linebacker Chris Johnson. the following series he was sacked by Santiago for a ten yard loss.
Former quarterback Kelvin White actually had as many pass attempts as Santiago. White came in to heave an incomplete Hail Mary pass to end the first half. White later hit Joe Walker on an option pass for 17 yards which set up the field goal late in the game.
A.J. Schurr completed 1-of-3 passes for 20 yards after replacing the injured Santiago. He didn't attempt a pass until the final series. AJ badly missed a wide open Edgar Poe on an out route. He then hit Larry Dixon on for a 20-yard gain and a first down. He overthrew Xavier Moss on a post pattern. Schurr was sacked twice including on the last Army offensive play when Joe Walker failed to pick a blitzing Chris Johnson and sacked him. Overall Army was 2-of-7 passing for just 37 yards and allowed three sacks. The fact the two passes set up points is the only reason this isn't a failing grade.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D
The Black Knights running game produced just 198 yards, averaged 4.4 yards per carry and failed to score. It was the third time the Black Knights were held to under 200 rushing yards this season.
Senior captain Larry Dixon was Army's best weapon at B-back as he ran 14 times for 90 yards. Larry had an amazing eight yard run
on a third and long draw play when he was hit deep in the backfield and broke three tackles to earn the first down before what seemed like half the Navy defense tackled him.
Angel Santiago (10 att. for 21 yards) struggled to move the team before being hurt. His being stopped on a 4th-and-one quarterback sneak to kill a promising drive and changed the momentum of the game. Worse was Santiago injured his ankle in the scrum for the ball and missed the second half.
AJ Schurr ran nine times for 27 yards. He killed a promising drive with two poor reads in a row late in the game. At the Navy 38 he forced a pitch to Terry Baggett for no gain instead of turning it up for a few yards himself. On the next play he once again had a running lane but instead panicked and chose to reverse field where he had no blockers and was hit and lost a fumble. Schurr has to stop making these dumb plays if he hopes to become the starter next season.
Joe Walker ran twice for 22 yards. He had a nice 18-yard run on a counter option pitch where he received a perfect arc block from Trenton Turrentine to spring him. Turrentine saw much more playing time and he carried twice for five yards. He ran for a first down out of an unbalanced line where the offensive line shifted and the guard snapped the ball. Both Terry Baggett (4 atts., 20 yards) and Raymond Maples (4 atts.,13 yards) had quiet games to close out their outstanding army careers. Army's offensive line started two plebes at guard and had their moments but struggled to sustain any offense against Navy' s experienced defensive line.
PASSING DEFENSE: D
The Black Knights secondary allowed Reynolds to complete 6-of-8 passes for 77 yards and a backbreaking touchdown before the end of the first half. He should have had another completion but fullback Noah Copeland dropped a wide open pass on a wheel route.
Reynolds used three completions late in the first half to tie the score before t halftime. Reynolds completed a 39-yard pass to Jamir Tillman to the Army 31. Josh Jenkins (4 tackles, Blk) missed the tackle and gave him 14 more yards. Reynolds then hit Ryan Williams-Jenkins for 12 yards. Reynolds threw a 9-yard TD touchdown pass to Tillman with 18 seconds to go before halftime in beating safety Hayden Pierce (2 tackles)\
Steven Ricciardi (6 tackles) fought off a blocker on a screen pass and brought down Ryan Williams Jenkins immediately in the open field and forced a punt. Andrew King made 11 tackles, two for a loss and had the only sack of Reynolds. Chris Carnegie (3 tackles) didn't allow a reception against him. The secondary coverage wasn't that bad but Reynolds accuracy makes this a D-grade.
RUSHING DEFENSE: A+
The Black Knights run defense allowed only 205 rushing yards, a 3.7 average and just one score to the best rushing attack in the nation. This senior class defensive line saved this best for last. It was a huge effort and they were superb in the first quarter.
Joe Drummond (9 tackles) had the best game of his career. He a recovered Reynolds fumble to give the Black Knights one last chance. Nose guard Richard Glover (7 tackles, 2 TFL) took away the fullback dive much of the game. Mike Ugenyi (6 tackles) had his best game this season.
Jeremy Timpf was all over the field making 15 tackles. It was great to see Geoffrey Bacon (5 tackles) flying in like a missile on Navy’s first offensive play after missing most of the season after being hurt against Yale. He missed one tackle but showed like rust and helped shore up a secondary that missed his speed and hitting ability when he was out.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Josh Jenkins made a huge play after the Black Knights forced a 3-and-out series when he blocked a punt. Army went up 7-0 after Jenkins blocked the punt and Xavier Moss scooped up the ball and sprinted seven yards into the end zone. Punter Alex Tardieu finished his season with another terrific game he averaged 41 yards on three punts with no returns allowed. He boomed one punt 51 yards. Daniel Grochowski was 1-of-2 on long field goal attempts. He hooked his first field goal try of 49-yards wide. He hit it well but it was knocked down by the cross wind. Dan's 52-yard field goal made it 17-10 with 1:51 left, but Navy recovered the ensuing onside kick. Mitchell Howard made a nice on-side kick effort with a big second hop but Army had no one near the ball to make a play.
Edgar Poe finally had some running room on punts and returned two for 18 yards. Josh Jenkins had 71 yards on four kickoff returns with one nice 28 yard effort. Cale Brewer's short kickoffs proved costly as Navy’s Ryan Williams-Jenkins.
Jeff Monken did a great job the whole week and in getting his team prepared to play well and they did. They came out really ready to play and competed. I like how he was aggressive in both short yardage and using trick plays.
Jay Bateman's defense had a amazing start were they allowed only 15 yards on three straight three-and-outs. They were well coached and well prepared and did a superb job.
Offensive coordinator Brent Davis job was more difficult in spot since he had to match up against a defense who knows how to stop his scheme and had better players. He was creative using some line shifts and a heavy formation but Army was playing two plebes at guard and didn't finish any drives with offensive touchdowns.
OVERALL GRADE: B
The overall effort was better than some of the individual grades showed. Army played inspired football and hung tough against a better, faster and deeper team. Army loses to Navy because they have a better team and more play makers.
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Army Report Card: Navy
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