Scouting the Opponent: Army

Over the weekend, SMU accepted an invitation to face Army in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. What do the Black Knights and sophomore fullback Jared Hassin bring to the table? Find out in this early look at their personnel.

SMU's run defense will get tested when Army comes to town in a few weeks for the Armed Forces Bowl. The Black Knights are currently 6-5 on the season, with their big rivalry game coming up this Saturday vs. 8-3 Navy.

The Black Knights are bowling for the first time since 1996 (Independence Bowl) and they rely on a triple option attack that is currently ranked No. 9 in the nation with over 260 rushing yards per game.

Fullback Jared Hassin, a 6-foot-3, 218-pound sophomore, is Army's leading rusher with 881 yards on 158 carries and nine touchdowns. Hassin is a first-year starter, while sophomore QB Trent Steelman (6-0, 185) and senior slotback Pat Mealy (5-8, 203) are both returning starters from 2009.

Last year, Army went 5-7 and finished last in the nation in passing offense, and the Black Knights are again ranked at the bottom of the heap when it comes to throwing the football.

Steelman has completed 58-of-106 attempts for 837 yards and five touchdowns (with three interceptions). His top target is 6-foot-4, 203-pound junior Austin Barr, who has hauled in 13 receptions for 202 yards (15.5 ypc) with three TDs.

The Black Knights are experienced, albeit undersized, on the offensive line. The unit features four seniors, although size (from tackle-to-tackle: 283 pounds, 275, 267, 275, 257) is a concern.

On defense, senior strong safety Donovan Travis (6-1, 190) has 5 of the team's 11 interceptions. Cornerback Richard King, the only first-year starter in the secondary, has 3 picks.

Senior middle linebacker Stephen Anderson, a 5-foot-10, 229-pound fireplug, leads the team with 82 tackles and 10 TFL. Fellow LB Steve Erzinger (6-1, 215, Jr.) is second with 67 stops. Travis ranks third (47 tackles).

Placekicker Alex Carlton tied the school record last year with 18 field goals and the junior is 13-of-20 this fall, including 6-of-9 from 40-to-49 yards.

-Josh Harvey-

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