Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Three Keys Revisited – Army vs Rice

In a season filled with ridiculously close losses Army suffered yet another gut-wrenching defeat on Saturday. The Black Knights lost by seven points (38-31) in a game that at first it looked like they would be blown out in, but then it looked like they might just win. In the end it was a touchdown in the last minute of the game on a pass from Driphus Jackson to Zach Wright which was the final blow that a game Army squad could not come back from.

Here is a look back at the three keys to Army’s clash with the Owls:

1) Slow down Driphus Jackson – Pass

Jackson had a solid game, but until that last drive and throw it was nothing that the Black Knights hadn’t been able to contain. Army did an especially good job of containing the dual threat on the ground, limiting him to just 13 yards on his seven rushes. Jackson may have had a 43-yard run earlier in the year, but the best he could manage against Army was a run of seven yards. Army would have liked to have been better against the pass, however, as Jackson was able to complete 66.6-percent of his passes, going 20-of-30 for 260 yards and two touchdowns.

2) Sustain the run defense – Fail

Army came into the game ranked 48th in the nation against the run and giving up 150.4 yards per game on the ground. Rice has a unique rushing system, one that incorporates multiple backs and an interesting blocking scheme, and the Black Knights succeeded in holding the Owls to 165 yards, just 15 over the season average. The problem was that the rushing defense was breached three times, with touchdown runs of 34-yards (Darik Dillard) and 1-yard (Samuel Stewart) in the first three minutes of the game. Though the defense did tighten after this rocky start it had allowed the Owls to take a lead which Army was unable to ever get in front of.

3) Win the turnover battle – Pass

The defense was able to force two fumbles on Saturday and both were in Rice territory. Unfortunately only one was converted into a touchdown, with the other resulting in only a field goal. This was the field goal which tied the game for the Black Knights with just over two minutes to go, but a touchdown at this point would have put Army ahead and potentially chanced the Rice play calling on their final drive. The one Army turnover was also very costly as an A.J. Schurr fumble on the Black Knights 23-yard line was quickly turned into a Rice touchdown and gave the Owls that early 14-0 lead that Army struggled to recover from.


ArmySports.com Top Stories