Army Report Card: Wake Forest

Army West Point fell to Wake Forest 17-14 on Saturday at Michie Stadium.'s Jim Lawler grades the Black Knights performance in several key team areas.

The Army Black Knights (0-3) were beat 17-14, as time expired, by Mike Weaver's 47-yard field goal that gave Wake Forest (2-1) the victory on Saturday at Michie Stadium. The Army defense knocked starting quarterback John Wolford out of the game and forced three turnovers. It wasn't enough as Wake Forest backup quarterback Kendall Hinton ran for 101 yards and two scores. Army's running attack continues to struggle as it could muster only 186 rushing yards and nine rushing first downs. It was a defensive struggle early as the Black Knights took a 7-0 lead into halftime. The Demon Deacons have now won the last nine meetings including four seasons in a row.

Ahmad Bradshaw was 2-of-3 for 54 passing yards and was sacked once. His first throw was his best as Bradshaw rolled out off a waggle action and made a perfect throw Deandre Bell for 31-yards to help set up Army's first touchdown. Bell made a great catch in traffic. On the opening drive of the third quarter he was sacked for a loss. Bradshaw hit slotback John Trainor for a 23-yard gain off a wheel route. During the last drive on third down Ahmad Bradshaw hit a wide open Christian Drake but the ball was behind him on his hip and Drake couldn’t haul it in. It would have been a touchdown.

The Black Knights ran for 186 yards, averaged 3.4 yards per carry and two touchdowns. The offensive line was missing two starters and reshuffled four players with two plebes on the offensive line. It showed. The Black Knights was unable to sustain blocks, failed to establish the fullback and block the backside pursuit. Wake Forest once again used the old Air Force option defense with two linebackers outside the tackles. Wake Forest played the pitch back well and it forced the game between the tackles. You can talk about play calling, quarterback play, and pitch relationship all day. Wake Forest won this game because Army's offensive line couldn't block the Demon Deacons.defense.

Ahmad Bradshaw (22 att., 61 yards, TD) longest run was just 12-yards. He had a costly fumble that he recovered but killed a drive. Ahmad made solid decisions but the blocking just wasn't there. He did a nice job ball handling on the mesh to draw in the WF defense and score on his touchdown run. Fullbacks Matt Giachinta (8 att., 32 yards), Aaron Kemper (11 att., 29 yards) and Drue Harris (6 att., 13 yards) combined for 74 yards and just 3.0 yards per carry. Harris was stopped for no gain on the first quarter 4th and one play.

Slotbacks didn't get much action and WF took them away. Plebe Christian Drake ran twice for 37 yards and scored. Drake fumbled his first carry but it was recovered by John Trainor hustled and covered it for a 28-yard gain. Drake showed his track speed on his 9-yard touchdown run. Nicholas Black made his first start over a banged up John Trainor. Black carried once for a yard. Trainor was dropped for a seven yard loss.

Army knocked Wake Forest starting quarterback John Wolford out of the game early. Wolford completed 3-of-5 passes for 16 yards and was picked off by Jeremy Timpf (5 tackles, INT). Timpf's interception bailed out Monken who went for it deep in his own end and was stopped on fourth down. His 17-yard return set up Army's first touchdown. Wolford was replaced by Kendall Hinton who was 15-of-27 and was intercepted twice by plebe cornerback Brandon Jackson (6 tackles, 2 INT, PD) in his first start. Jackson’s first interception was set up by John Voit’s (2 tackles) hit on Hinton. Voit was called for roughing the passer after Wolford threw the ball away on third down. It was a bad play but it didn't cost points. Jackson showed his athleticism as he returned the ball 45-yards to set up a touchdown. Jackson’s second interception was even a more impressive play on a ball to end another fourth quarter drive. Free safety Xavier Moss (6 tackles, PD) did a great job jumping the last out route of the game but dropped a sure interception that would have been returned for a touchdown. It cost Army the game. Chris Carnegie (2 tackles) had good coverage but wasn't tall enough to break up the 51-yard pass to 6-4" K.J. Brent. Kenneth Brinson (2 tackles, 1/2 sack) had a sack in his first start with the help of Jeremy Timpf. Bayle Wolf (2 tackles, sack) had a sack on the last Demon Deacons possession.

The Black Knights allowed 171 rushing yards, 4.9 yards per carry and two touchdowns on the ground. Army opened with a 3-3-5 defensive look. Army limited the Wake Forest running backs but were hurt by quarterback Kendall Hinton’s mobility, especially on his 13-yard run on third and 9 from the eight yard line on the last drive. Mike linebacker Andrew King led the Black Knights with eight tackles and one for a loss. Nose tackle T.J. Altimalala played well with five tackles and two tackles for a loss. Altimalala left for a time with an injury but returned. The inability of Black Knights to stop Hinton scrambling lost the game.

Kicker Dan Grochowski badly shanked a 39-yard field goal. He once again boomed the ball on all three kickoffs as he had three touchbacks. Punter Alex Tardieu averaged 40.9 yards on seven punts and placed one inside the twenty yard line. Marcus Hyatt returned one kickoff for 17 yards. Edgar Poe had one punt return for a loss of a yard. The blocking of Army's special teams was poor. Wake Forest PR Tabari Hines returned a punt to the Army 25 but an Illegal block returned the ball back to Wake Forest 13.

Jeff Monken's team played hard, won the turnover battle but the lack of a running game and inability to make a field goal and a play at the end cost this team the game. Monken was bailed out by Timpf’s pick when he went for it on fourth and one at his own 35 in a scoreless game. His team wasn't running the ball well and false first half bravado almost backfired there. I didn't have an issue with the decision to kick the field goal because the running game was struggling. That one is on the kicker. Offensive coordinator Brent Davis's shuffled offensive line was a mess. I didn't see much Davis could do today since the blocking was poor. No running plays work when you can't sustain block and get to the second level consistently. If you can't block the front seven then it’s difficult to sustain offensive drives. Jay Bateman's defense played well but were killed by Hinton's mobility at quarterback and his 101 rushing yards that produced the Deacons only touchdowns. The defensive staff did a nice job but in the end players have to make plays to win games.

This was a game Army could have won but again they didn't. The defense has played much better the past two games but when Moss had a chance to seal the win he dropped a sure pick six interception. The offensive line is a mess right now and its performance has gone backwards the last two years under this staff. They have to get the running game going to win. Top Stories