The Army Black Knights (1-5) were completely outclassed by the Duke Blue Devils (5-1) at Michie Stadium. Army produced only 44 total yards in the first half as they trailed 27-0 at halftime. The Blue Devils scored 21 points off three Army turnovers and held the Black Knights to 168 yards of total offense. Thomas Sirk threw for 197 yards and a touchdown and led Duke to 458 yards of total offense. Army's offense put together its only scoring drive to start the second half. The Black Knights marched 70 yards on 13 plays and settled for a 22-yard Daniel Grochowski field goal. The 44-3 loss to Duke was Army's worst home defeat since a 55-0 blowout against Baylor in 1979.
PASSING OFFENSE: D
A.J. Schurr started at quarterback and was sacked in his only pass attempt before leaving the game. Freshman guard Rick Kurz failed to pick up a blitzer and AJ was dropped for a six yard loss on Army's first play. It set the tone for the day.
Ahmad Bradshaw came off the bench and replaced Schurr. He completed 2-of-6 passes for 55 yards with an interception. Bradshaw made his best throw on a 37-yard pass to Kelvin White down to the Duke two but the Black Knights failed to score. Bradshaw was intercepted when a high pass was batted by wide receiver Edgar Poe and picked off. Late in the fourth quarter
Ahmad completed a pass to plebe fullback Darrell Woolfork for 18 yards. Bradshaw had little time to throw when he did attempt to pass.
RUSHING OFFENSE: F
Army ran for only 113 rushing yards, averaged 2.3 yards per carry and failed to score a touchdown. Army's young offensive line struggled against Duke's mesh charge. Duke’s defense constantly crashed hard and penetrated into the backfield. Schurr ran 10 times for 27 yards before being knocked out of the game. Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw replaced AJ and actually ran 15 times for a negative 33 yards. He fumbled four times and lost two. It was a mess as Bradshaw put the ball on the ground, missed reads and didn't seem 100 percent healthy. Bradshaw struggled with his reads and seemed to fall into the bad habits he showed at the prep school a few years ago. He had trouble reading the Duke mesh charge and pressure. Bradshaw fumbled a snap when he failed to ride forward with the center when taking the center exchange. It was a poor outing against a tough defense.
B-back Drue Harris led Army with just 47 yards on four carries. Harris earned most of his yards on Army's only scoring drive. He ran 22 yards inside the Duke ten yard line to set up the field goal.
John Trainor (2 att., 16 yards) made a nice run taking a pitch 16-yard on the only scoring drive. Trainor blocked the wrong man in the count on the ill-fated fourth-and-one play where Joe Walker was lit up and the loose pitch was recovered on Army's 17. Walker had a 32-yard run but it led to no points. Fullbacks Matt Gianchinta and Aaron Kemper found little running room. Direct admit plebe Tyler Campbell carried three times for 19 yards. He has good speed but needs to be more decisive in turning the ball up the field. This was the worst performance by the offense in the triple option era. Army lost 97 yards during the game.
PASSING DEFENSE: D
Quarterback Thomas Sirk completed 17-of-27 passes for 197 yards and a score. Back up Parker Boehme hit all three passes. Duke coach David Cutcliffe's passing attack allowed the quarterbacks to played pitch and catch with their receivers as they dissected the Army defense. Army forced only one punt all day.
Safety Xavier Moss (11 tackles) was often the last line of defense. He had a career high eleven tackles. Moss had good coverage in end zone in the second quarter. He allowed Duke’s Thomas Sirk to complete 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Erich Schneider when he failed to get deep enough in the end zone to provide help.
Brandon Jackson (6 tackles, TFL) had good coverage in the first quarter to force the only punt of the game. Jackson and the rest of the defensive backs were unable to make any other plays as Duke picked the secondary apart. Cornerback Chris Carnegie (1 tackle) was burned on 38-yard fade route where he had good coverage but it was a perfectly placed ball. Carnegie had a costly pass interference penalty on a deep pass in the end zone when he failed to turn around. If he did he would have intercepted the ball.
Tevin Long, six tackles, struggled in his start at free safety in the place of the injured Rhyan England. Highly regarded direct admit plebe defensive end Kenneth Brinson earned his first start and made three tackles. He didn't help the pass rush as Army produced no sacks. Another direct admit plebe James "Gibby" Gibson saw time at nickel defensive back and made a nice tackle to break up a bubble screen. Duke scored on seven straight possessions before running out the clock on the final one.
RUSHING DEFENSE: F
Duke ran for 215 yards, a 4.5 average per carry and 4 touchdowns Andrew King (11 tackles, 2 TFL) competed and was the only one in the front seven who match-up favorability to win battles against Duke's offensive line. Jeremy Timpf made four tackles but left the game with an injury. Outside linebacker Bayle Wolf made a career high ten tackles and was active. John Voit made seven tackles but the Black Knights couldn't get Duke off the field. Duke converted 11-of-16 third downs conversions.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C-
Kicker Dan Grochowski hit his only field goal attempt from 22-yards out. He had a touchback on two kickoffs. Punter Alex Tardieu averaged 37.8 yards on four punts and placed one inside the 20-yard line. Freshman Marcus Hyatt fumbled his first kickoff return attempt and put the offense in a hole at the eight-yard line.
Hyatt later had a nice 38-yard return. I have no idea why Nick Black decided to fair catch a punt at the four yard line. He has to let it go. Calen Holt and Steven Johnson teamed up for a nice hit on punt returner Ryan Smith. Army's coverage teams were excellent against Duke's dangerous returners.
Jeff Monken's team was completely outclassed by a superior team. We knew going in that Duke was better but seven fumbles gave them no chance to win. Going fourth-and-one at the 24-yard line made no sense even if it worked. Going for it again at 4th-and-1 from their own 35-yard line after your quarterback is knocked out the game is just false bravado. It made no sense in a 3-0 game.
Offensive coordinator Brent Davis switched to a heavy formation on the only drive of the second half that produced points. The offensive line had trouble blocking which makes nothing work. Defensive Coordinator Jay Bateman's defense was unable to get off the field as they allowed scores on eight of nine possessions until Duke ran out the clock.
OVERALL GRADE: F
The 44-3 loss to Duke was Army's worst home defeat since 55-0 blowout against Baylor in 1979. It was an ugly performance where a much better team outclassed, outcoached and out worked them. Seven fumbles for the second week in a row makes it impossible to sustain offense.