Army's football team ran on empty this past Saturday against the Temple Owls. One could say that the…
Army Report Card: Temple
PASSING OFFENSE: D
Quarterback Trent Steelman completed 3 of 7 passes for 70 yards. Steelman hit Anthony Stephens in the hands on a pass inside the ten yard line on a third down pass that Stephens dropped. He failed to secure the ball. Stephens has to make that catch. The game began to get away from Army in the second quarter when guard Frank Allen had a false yard penalty. The Black Knights attempted three straight pass plays that went nowhere. Steelman scrambled for three yards, then he had to throw away a second down pass under pressure. On third down he was sacked. Two of completions were to Malcolm Brown (1 rec.,11 yards) and Patrick Laird (1 rec., 10 yards) on a hook and lateral just before the half that led to no points. Chevaughn Lawrence had a catch and a nice spin move for a 47-yard gain. Lawrence didn't have the speed to outrun the Owls secondary but his reception set up a touchdown. Malcolm Brown tried an option pass that never had a chance. Backup quarterback A.J. Schurr completed his only pass attempt to Ejay Tucker who held onto the ball for an 18 yard gain despite being plastered on the play. Army's offensive line struggled with Temple's pass rush when forced to pass and allowed a season high three sacks.
RUSHING OFFENSE: A
While Army couldn't match the Owls score for score they did run the ball well. Army rushed for 407 yards and averaged 6.6 yards per carry and four scores. Quarterback Trent Steelman rushed for 139 yards and twenty carries for three touchdowns. Trent's final 56 yard touchdown run at Michie Stadium to pass Glenn Davis as Army's all-time leader in touchdowns was one of the best runs of his career. Raymond Maples (15 rushes, 94 yards) ran well but loss another fumble when he dropped a pitch. Hayden Pierce (5 rushes, 15 yards) started at fullback but Larry Dixon (9 rushes,106 yards) was much more effective off the bench. Dixon ripped off a number of long runs including a 43 yard rumble to the 1-yard line while playing on a sore ankle. Malcolm Brown (3 rushes, 16 yards, 1 TD) score a touchdown in limited touches. After the game was out of hand quarterback A.J. Schurr (4 rushes,15 yards.), Trenton Turrentine (2 rushes, 12 yards) and senior Dan McGue (3 rushes, 9 yards) saw playing time. McGue ended Army's last series by fumbling inside the Temple 10-yard line.
PASSING DEFENSE: D
Army defense struggled in all areas. Temple rarely passed because they didn't need to as they completed 2 of 4 passes for 31 yards. Josh Jackson (2 tackles) gave up inside leverage on a third down pass for 11 yards to Jalen Fitzpatrick that kept the Owls opening touchdown drive alive. Alex Meier (6 tackles) made a nice defensive play on third down breaking up a pass to force Temple's only punt in the first half. Geoff Bacon and Nate Combs over pursued on a third-and-11 shovel pass which left the middle open for Kenny Harper to gain 20 yards to the 1-yard line setting up Temple's final touchdown before the end of the first half.
RUSHING DEFENSE: F
Army's double eagle flex is designed to create penetration and have player cancel the gaps. It worked on the first two defensive plays of the game. After that the front seven were dominated up front by Temple for the second consecutive year. It was simply a mismatch as Temple ran for 534 yards, averaged 9.4 yards a carry and scored nine rushing touchdowns. What was unnerving about this performance was that in week eleven you still had players failing to cover their gaps, overrunning their lanes and acting like the never played the defense. Geoffrey Bacon made 10 tackles but was also guilty of overrunning plays. Captain Nate Combs (8 tackles) had a rough game before he left in the second half. Quick end Zach Watts (5 tackles) had a hard time getting off blocks. Inside it was worst with defensive tackles Bobby Kough (4 tackles) and Rich Glover (2 tackles) were usually dominated and consistently knocked off the line of scrimmage. Chris Carnegie (8 tackles) continues to tackle too high and is often running himself out of position.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D
Chris Boldt averaged just 33.5 yards on his four punts. Rich Ellerson asked Boldt attempt to directional punt away from the dangerous punt returner Matt Brown and he can't do it. The Black Knights would have been better off just punting straight away. Eric Osteen had two touchbacks among his four kickoffs. He did a nice job on the pop up onside kickoff that was recovered by Chris Carnegie. Osteen hit his only field goal attempt but missed an extra point. Army almost allowed Fitzpatrick to break a kickoff for a touchdown. Josh Jackson failed to fair catch a punt that cost field position. Julian Crockett made some nice cuts to pick up extra yardage on two kickoff returns.
Rich Ellerson said the game was his fault; who am I to argue? Army's defense is designed to cancel gaps yet players where knocked aside like bowling pins. Too often when Temple broke the front seven Harris or Brown scored untouched. It doesn't help when you have young defenders not playing the scheme the way it's designed and over running their assigned gaps. Army defense was hoping to force Temple to pass instead by selling out they were pushed around. This was even worse than last year. The offense played well and did a solid job. There was nice execution on the onside kick and it was a good call.
OVERALL GRADE: D
The Black Knights were outclassed and embarrassed on defense. The offense deserved better. I do expect them to rebound and play better against Navy like they did last year but it's obvious they just don't match up with Temple's size and speed.
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