The Army Black Knights (2-0) picked up their second successive win to start the season by taking down the Rice Owls (0-2) at Michie Stadium on Saturday. The Black Knights were able to handle both the Owls and a game that was delayed for a few minutes when one of the Army mascots left a present in the end zone for the grounds crew to clean up after an Army touchdown. The win gave Army its first 2-0 start to a season in two decades.
Here is a look at how the three keys played out against Rice:
1) Pound away with the option - Pass
After going for 121 yards on opening day against Temple the Black Knights got another huge day out of fullback Andy Davidson. The converted linebacker rushed for 107 yards on 23 carries and scored three of the Black Knights four rushing touchdowns on the day. Davidson has quickly become the key component to the Army option as he is a hard-nosed runner that can turn runs for no gain into a three or four yard pick up with his determination and ability to keep churning his legs. In total, the offense rushed 69 times for 348 yards against a Rice defense that couldn't cope with the relentless rushing onslaught.
2) No big plays early for Rice - Fail
One of the keys coming in was to keep Rice on the backfoot with their confidence low after they got blown out by Western Kentucky on opening day. This key almost immediately went by the wayside after Tyler Stehling hit Connor Cella for a 64-yard touchdown on the Owls third play from scrimmage. The Black Knights responded to this setback in a very impressive manner. They kept the Owls off of the scoreboard for the rest of the half as five Rice drives resulted in four punts and a fumble.
3) Better special teams play - Pass
Given just how bad the Army special teams were against Temple the bar here was low. The Black Knights though had a solid day on special teams. Kicker Mitchell Howard hit his first field goal of the season, a 23-yarder in the fourth quarter. Army also blocked a Rice punt and the return game was good without being spectacular. Army does, however, need more out of the leg of punter Nick Schrage, who is far too hit or miss with his kicks.