Scouting Report: Army

Vanderbilt welcomes the Army Black Knights who had an extra week of rest to prepare for the Commodores after a frustrating loss to Miami (Ohio). After Coach Rich Ellerson led Army to its first bowl win in 25 years in 2010, he was set with the challenge of replacing pieces on an offense that returns six starters and a defense that returns five.

The Black Knight defense was dealt an unfortunate blow in camp when cornerback Antuan Aaron who had 24 previous starts was forced to sit out his senior year because of a neck/back injury.

Despite rebuilding most of their offensive line with Frank Allen as the lone returning starter the Black Knights have managed to field the FBS top rushing attack averaging 361.3 yards per game on the ground. The Black Knights have yet to capture a victory on the road this season falling to Northern Illinois 49-26, Ball State 48-21, and Miami (Ohio) 35-28.

Midway through his third season with 31 consecutive starts under his belt is signal caller Trent Steelman who has commanded Army's triple-option offense dominantly rushing 109 times for 536 yards and 11 touchdowns, the most so far by any quarterback this season. Steelman, a native of Bowling Green, Ky., has also completed 100 percent of his passes in the last two outings against Tulane and Miami (Ohio) going 11 for 11 combined with a TD pass in each.

Sophomore Raymond Maples has gotten the significant amount of touches at the slot back position since the third game; he has posted three consecutive 100-yard games with a 95-yard game in Army's first win of the season against Northwestern. Maples is averaging 6.5 yards per carry with 534 yards and four TD's on the year.

Fullback Jared Hassin is fourth on the team with 287 rushing yards and 59 carries. Hassin led the team in rushing in 2010 with 1,013 and started all but one game.

Junior Malcolm Brown's 7.7 yard per carry average leads the team in backs that have carried more than 20 times this year. Brown has three receptions for 93 yards and is the lone slot back with a receiving touchdown (45 yards) which came against Miami.

Returning starter Davyd Brooks who led the Black Knights in catches in 2010 is second on the team with four catches on the year for 95 yards and a TD. Sophomore Jared McFarlin has 74 receiving yards and a TD and leads the team in catches with seven.

Defensive captain and top returning tackler Steven Erzinger leads the team with 64 tackles, he is also going on his 32nd sequential start and was recently named to the first-team Midseason All-Independent Team. Erzinger has 7.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks and is 12th in the country in tackles.

Sophomore defensive back Tyler Dickson is also a first-team selection and the second leading tackler on the team with 35. The sophomore snagged one of Army's three interceptions and forced a fumble as well.

The win against Northwestern was powered by three Steelman rushing touchdowns, the only player to put points for the Black Knights on the board. In their impressive 45-6 thumping of Tulane, Army was up 21-6 at the half thanks to a pair of Steelman rushing touchdowns. The Black Knights then outscored the Green Wave 24-0 in the second half using mostly second and third stringers.

In Army's latest matchup against Miami (Ohio) the Black Knights secondary was gutted for 342 receiving yards and four TD's. Army led 28-14 shortly after the half but Miami stormed back scoring 21 unanswered points through the air to take the lead. Top Stories