Report Card: Army vs. Vanderbilt

In Army's most thrilling game so far this season, the Black Knights knocked off Vanderbilt, 16-13, in overtime. analyzes every element of the Black Knight's performance and assigns a grade to each area.




Completing 7-of-16 passes for 47 yards may not sound like much but this is actually pretty good going against a tough Vanderbilt passing defense. The big positive is that Trent Steelman had zero interceptions. Remember, Vanderbilt intercepted Ole Miss' Jevon Snead three times in their previous game. Steelman had some nice completions including one that went for 25 yards to Davyd Brooks.
Army rushed for 222 yards on 57 carries for a 3.9 average per rush. There were no long runs for Army but the biggest run of the day had to be Steelman's incredible 2-yard run where he willed himself into the end zone despite having several defenders hanging on him. Time wise, it was probably the longest 2-yard scoring run in the history of college football.
Army did a great job defending the pass, especially in the first half when they held Vandy to about 30 yards passing. The Black Knights put good pressure on Vanderbilt quarterback Larry Smith and were able to hit his arm as he threw the ball on at least two occasions which resulted in a pair of huge interceptions by Donovan Travis and Antuan Aaron.
Nice job containing Vandy's heralded freshmen running backs, Zac Stacy and Warren Norman. During overtime Andrew Rodriguez made the biggest defensive play of the game for the Black Knights when he caused a fumble of what would have been a Norman touchdown run. Rodriguez led Army in tackles with 8.5 and fellow linebacker Stephen Anderson had 7.5.
After a heartbreaking miss as time expired against Tulane last week, Alex Carlton got it done on Saturday for Army. He was three-for-three on kicks and made a 51 yarder to put the Cadets up 3-0 in the first half. He later nailed that memorable 42-yard field goal to put Army at 3-3 for the first time in a long, long time. Jonathan Bulls continues to punt well. He averaged 40 yards a kick for the Cadets. Four of his six punts were downed inside the Vanderbilt 20. Army did well on the return units but did give up that 76-yard kickoff return that almost cost them the ball game.
More evidence that Army is headed in the right direction with Rich Ellerson and his staff. The Army staff clearly showed they play to win while the Vanderbilt staff cowered from a fourth-and-two situation at the Army 40. Army's coaches put in some new stuff on offense that got them a couple of decent gains when they needed it.
A great performance that had Michie Stadium once again rocking. With the win the Black Kights are halfway to a bowl bid. If the Black Knights can knock off Vanderbilt they can surely knock off any team remaining on their schedule starting with an improved Temple team on Saturday in the City of Brotherly Love. Top Stories