WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team will try to come back from its first defeat of the season when they host the Ball State Cardinals on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 12:02 p.m. and will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports Network.
TELEVISION Network: CBS College Sports Network Play-by-Play: Dave Ryan Color Analyst: Jason Sehorn Sideline Reporter: Cadet Kurt Bujewski Channel Lineup: Time Warner Cable (Hudson Valley) -- 457; DirecTV -- 613; Dish Network -- 152
ARMY RADIO Army Sports Network Flagship: WABC (770-AM, New York, N.Y.) Affiliates: WALL (1340-AM, Middletown, N.Y.); WEOK (1390-AM, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) Play-by-Play: John Minko Color Analyst: Dean Darling Sideline: Rich DeMarco Program Host: Bob Outer
The 90-minute “Army Football Tailgate Show,” hosted by Rich DeMarco and Bob Outer begins at 10 a.m. Pre-game coverage starts at 11:30 a.m.
SATELLITE RADIO The Army Sports Network game broadcast will be carried via Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 122) and beginning at 12 p.m.
COACHING MATCH UP ARMY HEAD COACH RICH ELLERSON Alma Mater: Hawai’i, 1977 1st Season at Army (1-1, .500) 10th Season Overall (61-42, .592) Record vs. Duke: 0-0
BALL STATE COACH STAN PARRISH Alma Mater:Heidelberg, 1969 1st Season at BSU (0-3, .000 - inc. 2009 GMAC Bowl) 13th Season Overall (57-44-3, .563) Record vs. Army: 0-1 (at Kansas State, 1987)
Despite the 16-point final margin, last week's loss to Duke was hotly contested throughout. Army led 10-0 in the second quarter and held on to a 10-7 lead at halftime. Duke came back to take a 21-13 lead, but Army took possession with 3:08 to go with a chance to score the tying points. Duke cornerback Leon Wright put the game away with two interception returns for touchdowns on consecutive passes. Army scored on the game’s final play on an eight-yard pass from senior QB Carson Williams to senior WR Alejandro Villanueva.
Junior SB Patrick Mealy nearly posted his second straight 100-yard rushing game, amassing 99 yards on 10 carries. Mealy led the Black Knights rushing attack that racked up 266 yards. Freshman QB Trent Steelman had a season best 75 yards on 17 carries and scored the first touchdown of his young career. Williams came on at the end of the game to try to pass the Black Knights to the game-tying touchdown and completed 8-of-18 passes for 91 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Villanueva made the first receptions of his career, hauling in four ball for 68 yards and a score.
Mealy continued to gain yardage in large chunks. In Army’s first two games, he has rushed for 208 yards on only 15 carries. His 104.0 rushing yards per game ranks 26th in the nation, while his 13.9 yards per carry is the best in the nation among the 29 players that have rushed for at least 200 yards this season. Mealy had a 75-yard run versus Eastern Michigan and a 55-yard tote opposite Duke.
While all 35 points scored against Army counts against its scoring defense average, the Army defense gave up only 21 of the points to the Blue Devils. One of the three touchdowns allowed came following an Army fumble that gave Duke the ball on the Black Knights’ 19-yard line.
Army continued to be stout against the run. After giving up just 40 yards on the ground to Eastern Michigan, the Black Knights limited Duke to only 70 yards on the ground. The Black Knights rank 17th in the country against the run at 55.0 yards per game. They are allowing only 1.8 yards per carry.
Junior DE Josh McNary recorded a sack against Duke, pushing his season total to 3.5 on the season. McNary now ranks fourth on the Black Knights’ career list with nine for his career. His sack total through only two games is already among the top 20 single-season totals by an Army player since 1992.
One of head coach Rich Ellerson’s keys to victory every week is the turnover margin. Army forced a pair of Duke fumbles, but committed a total of four miscues of its own that led directly to 21 Blue Devils’ points. The Black Knights are now 5-25 in their last 30 games when committing as many or more turnovers than their opponent.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS Ball State is in its first full season under head coach Stan Parrish. Parrish was an assistant coach on the Cardinals’ staff from 2005-08, serving as the offensive coordinator from 2006-08. Under his tutelage, Ball State’s offense ranked 12th in the nation in passing efficiency, 17th in total offense, 18th in scoring offense, 24th in passing offense and 31st in rushing offense in 2008 while compiling a 12-2 record and spending nine weeks in the national polls. Parrish took over his current duties prior to the Cardinals’ appearance in the 2009 GMAC Bowl.
The Cardinals are off to an 0-2 start after losing to New Hampshire, a team that knocked off Army last season, 23-16. The Wildcats’ defense limited Ball State to just 13 yards rushing on 26 attempts and a grand total of 127 yards of total offense. New Hampshire was able to register five sacks in the game. Ball State running back MiQuale Lewis led the team with 21 yards on 14 carries, while quarterback Kelly Page completed 15-of-34 throws for 114 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Lewis caught a team-high eight passes for 22 yards.
Offensively, Ball State is trying to replace record-setting quarterback Nate Davis, who left school a year early to enter the NFL Draft (He was chosen by the San Francisco 49ers). In only three seasons, Davis set school records for passing yards (9,233), passing attempts (1,124), pass completions (678) and touchdown passes (74). The Cardinals are averaging 13.0 points and 218.0 yards of offense per game. Lewis is the team’s top ground gainer with 124 yards (62.0/game) on 29 carries. He has accounted for the Cardinals’ lone rushing touchdown on the season. Page has started both games under center, completing 30-of-68 passes (.441) for 254 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Lewis has been his favorite target, catching 11 passes for 34 yards. Seth White has seven receptions for a team-high 85 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals are giving up 21.5 points and 417.0 yards per contest. Opponents have been doing nearly equal damage on the ground and the air, rushing for 203.0 yards per game and throwing for 214.0 yards per contest. Linebacker Davyd Jones leads the team with 20 tackles. Defensive end Robert Eddins has made 17 stops, including a team-leading 4.0 tackles for loss. He has two of the Cardinals’ four sacks on the season and has already forced three fumbles. Free safety Sean Baker owns Ball State’s lone interception.
The Cardinals are ranked 15th in the nation in net punting (40.62) with Scott Kovanda averaging 42.5 yards per punt. Ian McGarvey enters play tied for 12th in the nation with 2.0 field goals per game. He is 4 of 5 on the season with a long of 48 yards.
THE ARMY-BALL STATE SERIES Army and Ball State have met just one time on the gridiron. The Black Knights scored a 41-21 victory on Sept. 25, 1999. The game was the first played on Blaik Field. The playing surface at Michie Stadium was dedicated to the legendary Army football coach that same afternoon.
A WIN VERSUS BALL STATE WOULD ... • Put Army above the .500 mark for the second time this season. The Black Knights did not have a winning record at any point between the 1997 and 2008 seasons. • Mark the Black Knights’ second win this season versus a Mid-American Conference opponent • Improve the Black Knights’ record versus the Cardinals to 2-0 • Be the Black Knights’ best three-game start since the 1996 squad was 3-0 • Snap Army’s mini two-game losing streak at home • Be the Black Knights’ 10th win their last 20 home games • Be the 639th win in the 120 seasons of Army football (638-450-51; .583)
ARMY VERSUS THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE Ball State is the second of three Mid-American Conference teams on Army’s docket this season. The Black Knights defeated Eastern Michigan in the season opener and will travel to Temple on Oct. 17.
Army played four games versus the MAC last season, going 1-3 with a win versus Eastern Michigan and losses to Temple, Akron and Buffalo.
2009 marks the fourth straight season Army has played at least one game versus a MAC opponent. It is the third straight year Black Knights have opened the season versus a Mid-American Conference foe (Akron, 2007; Temple, 2008; Eastern Michigan, 2009).
The Black Knights are 5-6 against the MAC since 2005. (2005: 1-1; 2006: 1-0; 2007: 1-2; 2008: 1-3; 2009: 1-0).
Army is 18-11 all-time against teams currently competing in the MAC (Akron, 3-1; Ball State, 1-0; Buffalo, 1-2; Central Michigan, 0-2; Eastern Michigan, 3-0; Kent State, 1-0; Miami, 2-2; Northern Illinois, 1-0; Ohio, 1-0; Temple, 4-2; Western Michigan, 1-1).
THE LAST MEETING: ARMY 41, BALL STATE 21 (SEPT. 21, 1999) WEST POINT, N.Y. — Joe Gerena carried 15 times for 122 yards as Army pocketed its first victory of hte season with a 41-21 win over Ball State on a day when the Academy dedicated the Michie Stadium playing surface in honor of legendary coach Earl “Red” Blaik.
Gerena kept Army’s highly-ranked option offense moving throughout the game, leading the Cadets to four touchdowns and a field goal before giving way to Chad Jenkins. The cadets compiled 447 rushing yards, including 115 on 12 totes by Brandan Rooney. It was Army’s best ground performance since ripping Lafayette gpt 545 yards early in the 1997 season.
With Rooney and Gerena each eclipsing the century plateau, it marked the 35th time in Academy grid history that two Cadets each ran for 100 yards in the same game.
Army held a 24-7 halftime lead and built it to 38-7 behind two Gerena touchdown runs in the first six minutes of the third quarter.
Linebacker Lyle Weaver rambled 40 yards to paydirt late in the second quarter after picking off an errant Cardinal pass. Brian King added a third-quarter interception.
OPENING ACT The Black Knights have scored a touchdown on their first possession in each of the first two games. Army went 57 yards on 12 plays in the opener against Eastern Michigan and marched 79 yards on only five plays versus Duke.
Army has reached the end zone on their first possession in five of its last nine games.
Scoring early is not uncommon among team’s that utilize the triple option as defense’s try to adjust to the unique system. Army, Navy, Air Force and Georgia Tech have scored touchdowns on their first possession five times in eight games. The Black Knights are the only team of the four to accomplish that feat in both their games.
ACHIEVING THE END (ZONE) RESULT Through the first two games of the 2009 season Army has scored five rushing touchdowns. In 2008, the Black Knights did not score their fifth rushing touchdown until the fifth game of the season.
Army scored all four of its touchdowns at Eastern Michigan via the rush. It was the third time in the last two seasons that the Black Knights scored four rushing touchdowns in a game. Army is 2-1 in those three games, defeating the Eagles and Tulane and losing at Rice.
Since the start of the 2000 season, Army has run for at least four touchdowns nine times. The Black Knights are 7-2 in those games. The loss at Rice last season was the first when scoring at least four rushing touchdowns since losing to Air Force on Nov. 9, 2002.
On the flip side, Army has lost its last nine games when not scoring at least one rushing touchdown.
The Black Knights have scored 46 points in the first two games. Through two games last year, Army had posted 17 total points and did not score their 46th point until week five at Tulane.
The 27 points at Eastern Michigan and 19 points versus Duke are the first time the Black Knights have scored at least 19 points in two straight games decided in regulation since a five-game stretch to end the 2005 season.
Army has not averaged 20.0 points per game since the 2005 season (220 points in 11 games).
DOUBLE EAGLE SPREADS ITS WINGS Through its first two games in its new defensive system, Army ranks 21st in the nation in total defense, giving up just 229.5 yards per game.
Army has been particularly stout against the run, allowing only 40 yards at Eastern Michigan and just 70 yards on the ground to Duke. The Black Knights are ranked 17th in the nation in rushing defense at 55.0 yards per game.
The win at Eastern Michigan marked Army’s fewest rushing yards allowed since giving up 26 yards on the ground to Tulane on Nov. 16, 2002. It was the 11th time since 2000 that the Black Knights allowed their opponent fewer than 100 yards rushing.
UP NEXT ... The Black Knights make their second road trip of the season when they travel to Iowa State on Sept. 26. It will be Army’s first trip to Ames after hosting the Cyclones in 1964 and 2005. The two teams have split the first two meetings in the series.