Report Card: Army vs. Ball State

It's over now. Army beat Ball State, 24-17, on Saturday to improve to 2-1 on the season. analyzes every element of the Black Knight's performance and assigns a grade to each area.



Ball State

Only seven passes were attempted but three of them were completed including one that scored a 24 yard touchdown just before the half. Trent Steelman looked like he was in pain or sluggish during the game. After teh game it was revealed that he was playing with a cracked rib. The really news was that none of his passes were intercepted.
It started out pretty good. Army marched 80 yards in 13 plays to take an early 7-0 lead. All 80 yards of that drive was gained on the ground. However, Ball State adjusted and the Cadets finished with just 207 yards rushing on the day. One thing that didn't help was fumbles, there were six of them but thankfully only one was recovered by the visitors. The Black Knights have to improve on their ball security and you can bet that head coach Rich Ellerson will be emphasizing that this week in practice.
When you look at Ball State's passing stats it at first looks good, 19 of 34 for 254 yards, until you get to the big number four at the end, four interceptions which were the difference in the game. Had Army not gotten one of those interceptions they might very well have lost the game. Mario Hill, Andrew Rodriguez and Donovan Travis all came up big in the pick department. Of course Travis had two picks including the pick six to win the game. Stephen Anderson, Josh McNary and Mike Gann all helped the with big sacks.
The Black Knights limited Ball States rushing attack to just 121 yards. This included shutting down arguably the top returning running back in the MAC, MiQuale Lewis, who was held to just 17 yards on 12 carries. Quarterback Kelly Page had the longest run of the day for BSU, a 46-yard scamper. Linebacker Stephen Anderson came up big with 15 tackles, his best game by far this season.
Alex Carlton is turning into a pretty darn good kicker. In the second quarter he made a 45-yard field goal attempt to put the Black Knights up, 10-7. Jonathan Bulls had 7 punts for a fine 43.3 yard average. One went for an impressive 65 yards. These two players gave a big boost to Army's winning efforts. Damion Hunter averaged 22 yards on three kick off returns.
While it wasn't a picture perfect performance by Army you could just tell who was better coached for winning games and better led. Remember last week when Carson Williams threw back-to-back pick sixes? While the Army coaches weren't happy there were no derogatory remarks made towards Williams. Instead he was coached and then put back in the game so he could end on a positive note: throwing a touchdown pass. On Saturday we saw the poor Ball State quarterback throw that interception to Travis and then watched as the BSU head coach lit into him on the sidelines for what seemed like an eternity. This is the same head coach that led his Kansas State teams to back-to-back winless seasons. Let's be glad we have Rich Ellerson on the Army sideline and guys like Stan Parrish on the opposite sideline.
Again, it wasn't a perfect game but what team ever plays a perfect game? The fact is Army ended up with more points than their opponents which is the name of the game. Now the Cadets must prepare for their biggest test so far this season. Iowa State, 2-1, pounded Kent State 34-14 on Saturday. ISU is allowing their opponents over 200 per game on the ground but held Kent State to less than 50 on Saturday. Top Stories