The Army Black Knights (4-3) fell 35-18 in an incredibly frustrating game against North Texas (4-3) on Saturday at Michie Stadium. This was the Army team of last season, with bad mistakes followed by some of the worst compound decision making you are likely to see. The result means that Army is still two wins from bowl eligibility after the first sound beating on the scoreboard all season long.
Here is a look back at the three keys:
1) Run the ball effectively - Pass
Army was held below its nation-leading season average for rushing by 53 yards on the day, but the Black Knights still went for 302 yards on the ground. North Texas did a solid job of not allowing any huge runs as the long carry for the day was a 27-yard scamper courtesy of slotback Tyler Campbell. The bigger problem though was that Army just could not hold on to the football. The Black Knights turned the ball over an astonishing seven times (four interceptions and three fumbles) and there were two other fumbled by Ahmad Bradshaw that Army recovered. All these turnovers meant no flow, frustrating because Army was moving the ball well when they kept hold of it.
2) Stop Jeffrey Wilson - Fail
The second rated defense in the nation did an outstanding job of keeping North Texas running back Jeffrey Wilson under control for the first half of the game on Saturday. At half time Wilson had just seven yards rushing on two carries as Army controlled the clock and the defense that allowed just 99 yards rushing per game coming in plugged holes and tackled as soundly as expected. It all started to fall apart in the third quarter however when Wilson hit a crease in the line and traveled 41 yards for the score. In the second half, he had 153 yards rushing on 13 carries, giving him 160 for the game and three touchdowns.
3) Pressure the North Texas offensive line - Fail
The North Texas offensive line was a highly scrutinized unit coming in as they had been leaking sacks and allowing Wilson to be stopped in the backfield on an unusually high number of plays. On this day though the Mean Green line was in impeccable form, playing with a hunger and intensity that they have lacked at times this year. While they didn't start the game by blowing Army away, the line was consistently solid, knowing that if they opened a lane for Wilson he had every chance of going the distance.