Report Card: Army vs. Duke

Army fell victim to two Duke "pick sixes" and lost to the Blue Devils, 35-19, on Saturday. analyzes every element of the Black Knight's performance and assigns a grade to each area.




Some obvious problems there. Trent Steelman completed just two passes for the second straight game. He was 2 of 6 for 20 yards. One of those was a 20-yard pass to Ali Villanueva in the third quarter. While Steelman was no Joe Montana, Carson Williams, who is supposed to be the best passer on the team, had even worse problems. Two of his passes were intercepted and returned for touchdowns which is a coaches nightmare. He didn't give up though and later threw touchdown pass to Villanueva as time expired.
While most football teams would be happy to have 266 yards rushing a game, a triple option offense has to produce more than that. Because the rushing game wasn't producing effectively the team had to turn to passing which turned out to be a disaster. Fumbles need to be cut down on too. Three in a game is too much. The Black Knights need to cut these fumbles down to none or one max. Look for Army's rushing game to improve as the season goes on as things will only get better with practice and experience.
Army had an 'A' in passing defense until Thadeus Lewis went out and Sean Renfree came in. Army had done a good job on Lewis, limiting him to five completions for 60 yards. When Lewis came in he didn't stress at Army's pressure and effectively dumped off short passes that turned into great gains for the Blue Devils. Josh McNary finished with a nice sack. Although Army wasn't able to get an interception, Mario Hill broke up three passes.
Army shut down the run well against Duke. Starting Blue Devil running back Re'quan Boyette finished with 48 net yards in 21 carries and Duke had just 70 total yards rushing. Sophomore linebacker Steven Erzinger is turning out to be quite a player for Army. Erzinger led the Black Knights in tackles with eight including five solos. Andrew Rodriquez and Stephen Anderson also played well in Army double eagle flex defense. <
Alex Carlton was solid kicking for Army. He made a 43-yarder and 32-yarder but missed a 24-yard attempt that was spotted on the right hash mark making it more difficult. Jonathan Bulls again was an asset as a punter, finishing with a 39 yard per punt average on six attempts. Damion Hunter was solid as a return man. He had one kickoff return that went for 29 yards.
Whether a team wins or loses always weighs heavily here but you have to credit the Army staff. Again, they had Army in position to win a football game. They had their defense ready to deal with Duke's starting quarterback and unfortunately he wasn't able to stay in the entire game. Ellerson and company took care of the place kicking issues from the previous week. When Carson Williams tossed two picks in a row for scores, the coaches didn't give up on him and kept on coaching. The reward was a touchdown as time expired to give the team something to build one.
This is a very talented Duke team that brutalized Navy last year. The Army team was well prepared and could very well have been 2-0 right now had it not been for some unfortunate events. Things will only get better. Now Army must forget about this frustrating loss and turn their attention to getting back above .500. Ball State (0-2) lost to New Hampshire, 23-16, yesterday (sound familiar?). The also lost to North Texas last week. Top Stories