Army has allowed just 13 points in each of its last two wins over Tulane and Eastern Michigan. It's the first time since 1996 that the Black Knights have allowed less than 14 points in consecutive games.
"I think it's starting to come together," Army linebacker John Plumstead said. "At least the mentality of the defense is coming together. We still make some mistakes but you can cover some of those up if you're flying around and making tackles. I love it. I would much rather blitz that sit back in coverage. It sets an attitude about being mentally tough."
Army's defense got off to a terrible start, giving up 35 points in an opening-season loss to Temple, and 28 in another defeat to New Hampshire a week later. The Black Knights' turned the ball over on offense and gave up big plays on special teams. That didn't help the defense much.
Still, the unit had to get better and it has. The Black Knights' defense have allowed 97 points in six games (16.2 ppg). That will keep you in most games. Against Eastern Michigan, Army held the Eagles to 100 yards in the second half. The Black Knights allowed just eight yards to running back Dwayne Priest in the second half after he put up 110 in the first.
Army held Tulane to six points in the second half and the Black Knights have outscored opponents 41-13 in the second half this season. That's how option football is supposed to work. Wear them down with long drives on offense and batter opponents on both sides of the ball.
"We've played well the last couple of weeks," Army linebacker Stephen Anderson said. "The more you play together, the better you play with each other and for each other. Throughout the season, teams are getting better on offense and we need to get better on defense. It's Tuesday and it's back to work."
Army's defense is in the top 65 in the nation in four key defensive statistical areas: Total defense (326.67 yards, 46th), scoring defense (22.0 ppg, 50th), rushing defense (137.8, 65) and passing defense (188.83, 44). The Black Knights (2-4) hope to keep up their spirited play against Buffalo, which has lost three in a row. If Army plays like it has the last two weeks, the Black Knights will at least be in the game.
"On defense, we need to keep doing what we have been doing," Plumstead said. We've gone against a couple of styles of offense now. Like always, we have to make sure we tackle and make sure we defend the pass. We have to go out with an attitude and hit every single play. That's when our defense plays well."