Report Card: Army vs. VMI

It's over now. Army beat VMI, 22-17, on Saturday. ArmySports.com analyzes every element of the Black Knight's performance and assigns a grade to each area.


Army
22

__


VMI
17

AREA
GRADE
COMMENTS
PASSING OFFENSE
A
Army had their best game passing all season on Saturday. Trent Steelman completed 11-of-14 passes for 174 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. Seven of his completions went to Ali Villanueva and three to Damion Hunter. Hopefully Steelman can keep the hot hand for the last two games and get the Black Knights bowl eligible.
RUSHING OFFENSE
C
Pretty poor performance against a FBC opponent that has struggled this season. Only 186 total rushing on 47 attempts. Patrick Mealy did have a good game, averaging 8.5 yards a carry and gaining 136 yards. The Keydets focused on Steelman and held him to just 6 yards rushing in 18 attempts. Maybe the fact that VMI runs the option and therefore knows how to defend it explains the off day. Or maybe the Black Knights were just flat. Or maybe Rich Ellerson just wanted to work on the passing game with Navy coming up in a few weeks.
PASSING DEFENSE
B+
Army held VMI's Cam Jones to just 2-of-6 passing for 19 yards and a touchdown. If Army would not have allowed that 13-yard scoring pass they would have gotten an 'A' grade here.
RUSHING DEFENSE
D-
Army allowed the Keydets more rushing yardage than some teams get all season: 328 yards! And this allowed against an offense that runs the option, which Army should know how to defend. VMI had two 100 yard rushers and kept the normally reliable Army defenders off balance through the entire game. Thankfully the Army defense did tighten up in the red zone and only allowed 17 points.
SPECIAL TEAMS
A
Alex Carlton has been almost automatic this season. He made 3-of-3 field goals Saturday and boy is Army lucky to have a fine kicker like him. Bulls only had one punt for 30 yards, but it was a pooch kick which he successfully downed inside the VMI 20.
COACHING
B
Hey, an ugly win is always a better grade than a pretty loss. They coaches did what they had to to pull this one out: go to the air! And it worked well. The good news is that the success in the air attack could pay dividends down the road.
OVERALL GRADE
B-
Good teams seem to come out on top, even for bad games. In the end it counts as a win, which is the same as it would have if they had won 50-0. Now the Cadets must get it done at North Texas. A win there would at least keep Army in the running for a possible bowl game and also get them to the five win plateau, something they haven't done in a long time.

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