The Army Black Knights (4-3) are now officially a confusing team in 2016. Army seems to have one or two good weeks, followed by games like this where they are rolled by an 18-point underdog. This is a team that can still compete against the tougher schedule coming up, but this game acts as a reminder that the Black Knights margin for error is paper thin.
PASSING OFFENSE: F
The passing offense gets an F grade and honestly that doesn't even feel like it is low enough. The problems started on Army's second possession of the game when quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw had his pass picked off by Eric Jenkins who returned tt 34-yards for a touchdown to put UNT up 14-7. It was also reinforced the fact that Army just doesn't have the passing attack to chase games as the Black Knights final three possessions all resulted in interceptions. Bradshaw threw for four picks and only 94 yards as the team badly missed the arm of Chris Cater who sat out with an injured hand.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C
The rushing offense was good, it just wasn't Army good against North texas. The team was held 53 yards below its nation-leading average, picking up 302 yards on the day behind Bradshaw and his 90 yards on 24 carries. The tone for the day was set on the Black Knights third play from scrimmage when Andy Davidson rushed up the middle for four yards, only to fumble the ball and have it recovered by UNT. If Army cannot keep hold of the ball on the ground then bad things happen.
PASSING DEFENSE: B
The passing defense was undoubtedly the best unit on the day as UNT quarterback Mason Fine was held to just nine completions and 118 yards passing. Fine threw for one touchdown and one interception, but the pick was a key play in the early stages of the game as Jeremy Timpf picked off a pass just two plays after Davidson had fumbled the ball to North Texas. The pass defense could even have bailed Army out here, but defensive back Elijah Riley slipped when an interception seemed inevitable with the score at 21-10 and the ball was instead a completion that advanced the ball to the Army 1-yard line.
RUSHING DEFENSE: F
If this was a first half only grade then it would be an A. Army held Jeffrey Wilson, by far the Mean Green's most dangerous player, to just seven yards on two carries before half-time. Then the second half happened and by the end of the game Wilson had racked up 160 yards and three touchdowns on just 15 carries. His 41-yard touchdown on the first series of the third quarter was just a backbreaker as Army was never able to get back into the game after that run. Hopefully, this was just a bad day at the office for a rushing D that only allowed 99 yards per game coming into Saturday.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Nothing special from this unit, but nothing exceedingly terrible either. Army went for it on fourth down seven times in this game, showing that Jeff Monken was either chasing the contest or that he has no faith in his special teams units. A big punt or kick return would have been nice, but given some of the special teams play around the country the Black Knights will settle for just serviceable most weeks.
It is hard to point out anything Monken did especially wrong in this game as his team let him down with those seven turnovers. Having said that, when you have the ball for over 37 minutes, when you have 24 first downs to your opponents 15, and when you outgain said opponent by 76 yards, you would like to think your head coach can do enough that you don't lose by 17 points. Losing Carter was a huge blow because of the structure the game took, but when UNT only has one offensive weapon worth watching there just has to be a way to take him out of the game as a threat.
OVERALL GRADE: F
Army lost the turnover battle 7-1. It was a 14-10 game at halftime and in the second half the Black Knights drive chart looked like this:
Fumble, Touchdown, Fumble, Interception, Interception, Interception
That is one way to ensure there is no comeback. Army is better than this, but Saturday was a reminder of just how much work needs to be done for the Black knights to go bowling this season.