WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Black Knights return to the friendly confines of Michie Stadium on Saturday to square off with the Tulane Green Wave. Kickoff of the annual Homecoming game is set for 12:02 p.m.
TELEVISION Network: CBS College Sports Network Play-by-Play: Dave Ryan Color Analyst: Jason Sehorn Sideline Reporter: Cadet Kim Cowan Channel Lineup: Time Warner Cable (Hudson Valley) -- 457; DirecTV -- 613; Dish Network -- 152
Saturday’s game will be shown on CBSC on a tape-delay broadcast. The game will air at 11:30 p.m. ET.
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 127) beginning at 12 p.m.
INTERNET STREAMING The entire Army Sports Network audio broadcast, including the “Army Football Tailgate Show,” will be streamed live via ITT Knight Vision on www.goARMYsports.com each week. Subscription fees apply.
On Tuesdays of game weeks, Rich Ellerson’s weekly press conference will be video streamed live on ITT Knight Vision. Thursday’s “This Week in Army Football,” show will also be video streamed live. Both events are available only to ITT Knight Vision subscribers.
COACHING MATCHUP ARMY HEAD COACH RICH ELLERSON Alma Mater: Hawai’i, 1977 1st Season at Army (2-2, .500) 10th Season Overall (62-43, .590) Record vs. Tulane: 0-0
TULANE HEAD COACH BOB TOLEDO Alma Mater: San Francisco State, 1968 3rd Season at Tulane (7-20, .259) 16th Season Overall (84-89, .486) Record vs. Army: 0-2
Army is coming off a 31-10 loss at Iowa State, while Tulane won its first game of the season last week, defeating McNeese State, 42-32. Army has alternated wins and losses through the first four weeks of the season. The Black Knights have not won at least three of their first five games since the 1996 squad started 5-0.
The Black Knights utilized the pass a season-high 26 times in the loss to the Cyclones. Army completed 11 passes for 130 yards, its highest passing output since throwing for 328 yards versus Tulsa on Nov. 17, 2007. The Black Knights rushed for a season-low 186 yards at Iowa State.
Senior WR Alejandro Villanueva caught six of Army’s 11 completions for a career-high 77 yards and a touchdown. Villanueva has now caught a touchdown pass in three straight games. The 6-10 Villanueva has 12 receptions on the season, already topping last season’s reception leaders. Damion Hunter and Jameson Carter each had 11 receptions in 12 games last season.
Junior Patrick Mealy, Army’s leading rusher with 290 yards (72.5 yds./game), made his debut as the Black Knights’ fullback in the loss at Iowa State. Mealy started the first three games at slotback. He paced the squad with 54 yards on eight carries opposite the Cyclones. Mealy is averaging 9.7 yards per carry through the first four games.
Junior QB Chip Bowden played the majority of last Saturday’s game at Iowa State. Bowden, who started nine games in 2008, came off the bench in relief of starter Trent Steelman. Bowden was 8-for-21 passing for 87 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 42 yards on 13 carries. Steelman completed three of his five passes for 43 yards and rushed five times for 14 yards before leaving the game.
The Iowa State offense was able to post 376 total yards, which included 203 rushing markers. Both totals were season highs by an Black Knight opponent. Army still ranks among the nation’s upper echelon on defense. The Black Knights are 32nd in the country in total defense (302.50 yds./game) and 34th in the nation against the run (108.50 yds./game).
Junior DE Josh McNary extended his streak of games with at least 2.0 tackles for loss to four at Iowa State. McNary has a team-high 8.5 tackles behind the line this season, tying him for sixth in the nation in that category (2.13/game).
The Black Knights did not force a turnover in the loss to the Cyclones. Army is now 0-2 this season when on the wrong side of the turnover ledger and 2-0 when winning the turnover battle.
SCOUTING THE GREEN WAVE The Green Wave are led by veteran head coach Bob Toledo. Toledo is in his third season on the sideline in New Orleans and his 16th year as a lead man. He has also had stints as the head coach at the University of the Pacific (1979-82) and at UCLA, where he posted a 49-32 record with the Bruins from 1996-2002. He has guided teams to four bowl appearances and has been on the staff of 13 bowl-bound squads.
Tulane snapped a 10-game losing streak last week when it defeated McNeese State, 42-32, at the Louisiana Superdome. The skid dated back to last Oct. 4 when the Black Knights earned a 44-13 victory at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans. The Green Wave will be trying to stop a 10-game losing streak versus Division I Football Bowl Subdivision squads. Tulane’s last FBS win was a 34-27 decision versus SMU on Sept. 25, 2008.
Tulane knocked off the Cowboys in an offensive shootout. The two teams combined for 900 yards of offense with McNeese State holding a 473-427 advantage. The Green Wave ran for 205 yards, the vast majority of which came from Andre Anderson. Anderson finished the game with 199 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries. Quarterback Joe Kemp was 10-of-13 passing for 222 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Jeremy Williams was on the receiving end of all 10 completed throws. McNeese State was able to close a an 11-point deficit to just three with 2:52 left in the third quarter, but Anderson scored the next two touchdowns to open up a 17-point advantage and seal the victory.
Offensively, Tulane is averaging 19.3 points and 317.7 yards per game, including 224.0 yards per contest through the air. Thanks to his outburst against McNeese State, Anderson is the squad’s leading runner with 284 yards in his three games (94.7). He has all four of the Green Wave’s rushing touchdowns. Tulane has had five players throw at leat one pass this season. Kemp is 40 of 58 for 601 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. Kevin Moore has played in two games, completing 6-of-10 passes for 18 yards and an interception. Williams is by far the team’s leading receiver with 20 catches for 417 yards and two scores. Both his reception and yardage totals are more than twice as much as the second-leading receiver. Casey Robottom has eight catches for 91 yards.
On defense, the Green Wave has faced two of the top offenses in the nation in BYU and Tulsa. Tulane is giving up an average of 41.0 points and 470.7 yards per contest. Safety Chinonso Echebelem is the team’s leading tackler with 29 stops. He also owns the Green Wave’s lone interception of the season. Travis Burks is next on the list with 23 tackles, while Logan Kelley leads the team with 2.0 tackles for loss, both of which have been quarterback sacks.
THE ARMY-TULANE SERIES Tulane leads the all-time series with the Black Knights, 8-7-1. The first meeting between the two teams came back in 1953, a 0-0 tie in New Orleans.
Army has won the last two meetings, including a 44-13 victory in New Orleans last season.
Seven of the 16 meetings came during Army’s membership in Conference USA. The Green Wave won four of seven meetings with the Black Knights between 1998-2005.
The Black Knights hold a 5-3 advantage in games played at Michie Stadium.
ARMY VS. CONFERENCE USA Tulane is the only member of Conference USA on the Black Knights’ schedule this season. It is the fourth straight year that Army has played at least on C-USA squad.
Army was a member of Conference USA from 1998-2004. The Black Knights posted a 7-36 record in their seven seasons as a member of the league.
The Black Knights are 2-4 against C-USA schools since leaving the league. Army lost to Rice at home and Tulane on the road in 2006. The Black Knights defeated the Green Wave and lost to Tulsa at Michie Stadium in 2007. In 2008, Army scored a road win at Tulane and lost at Rice.
AN ARMY WIN VS. TULANE WOULD ... • Give Army its best five-game start (3-2) since the 1996 squad opened 5-0. • Put the Black Knights above the .500 mark for the third time in five weeks. Army did not crack the .500 mark for 148 games between 1997-2008. • Avoid the Black Knights’ first losing streak of the season. • Match the Black Knights’ season win total from each of the last three seasons (3-9). • Be the Black Knights’ 11th win their last 21 home games. • Extend Army’s winning streak versus the Green Wave to three games. • Be the 640th win in the 120 seasons of Army football (639-451-51; .582).
THE LAST MEETING: ARMY 44, TULANE 13 (OCT. 4, 2008) NEW ORLEANS, La. — Collin Mooney rushed 19 times for 187 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Black Knights to a 44-13 victory at Tad Gormley Stadium. The win snapped Army’s 10-game losing streak that dated back to a victory over Tulane at Michie Stadium in 2007. The win also stopped a 12-game losing streak in games played away from West Point.
Army held a 291-156 advantage on the ground, becoming the first team this season to rush for more than 100 yards versus Tulane.
In addition to Mooney, Chip Bowden rushed 13 times for 51 yards, while Wesley McMahand chipped in 38 yards on four carries. Bowden was 3 of 4 for 39 yards through the air.
The Army defense and special teams also contributed to the victory. Steve Erzinger blocked a punt to set up the Black Knights’ first score, and Stephen Anderson scooped up a fumble and ran 81 yards for the Black Knights’ second touchdown. Frank Scappaticci scored Army’s final touchdown on a 35-yard interception return.
FIRST-STRIKE CAPABILITY Army was forced to punt on its opening possession at Iowa State, snapping a three-game streak of finding the end zone on its initial drive. Despite the setback, Army has still scored a touchdown on its first drive in six of the last 11 games.
While the first-drive streak was stopped, Army ended a more dubious run on its second possession of the game. In their first three games, the Black Knights failed to gain any yardage on their second drive. That pattern came to an end against the Cyclones when Army embarked on a 12-play, 67-yard drive that resulted in a 32-yard field goal by Alex Carlton.
Army has now scored first in each of its four games this season.
DON'T SLEEP ON THE PASS Army threw a season-high 26 passes in the loss at Iowa State. The Black Knights were 11 of 26 for 130 yards and a touchdown. It was Army’s first double-digit completion game since going 12 for 23 against Navy on Dec. 1, 2007. It marked the Black Knights most passing attempts and passing yards since a 26-for-38 day that produced 328 yards against Tulsa on Nov. 17, 2007.
In only four games, Army has already accounted for 56.8 percent of its 12-game passing total from last season. The Black Knights have 315 yards through the air in 2009, while finishing last season with 555 passing yards.
In the loss to Iowa State, junior QB Chip Bowden became the third Army signal caller to throw a touchdown pass this season (Trent Steelman & Carson Williams). The last time the Black Knights had three players register a touchdown throw in the same season was 2004. Zac Dahman led the team with nine scoring passes, while Reggie Nevels had two and Matt Silva had one.
The Black Knights’ three touchdown passes in four games already matches last year’s 12-game total. It is the first time since the Temple, Tulane and Central Michigan games in weeks 5-7 of the 2007 season that Army has thrown at least one touchdown pass in three straight games.
CLEANING UP THE LAUNDRY The Black Knights committed 11 penalties for 82 yards at Eastern Michigan, but have been penalized just 13 times for 107 yards in the three subsequent games (4.3 penalties for 35.7 yards per game). Army had a season-low three penalties for 15 yards at Iowa State.
The EMU game marked the most flags thrown on Army since 11 versus Yale on Oct. 8, 1988. It was the most penalty yardage assesed versus Army since 85 against UMass on Nov. 12, 2005. Since 1989 Army has committed at least 10 penalties in a game only six times.
Army committed only 46 penalties for 437 yards in 2008. The Black Knights finished fourth in the country in fewest penalties per game (3.83), and ranked ninth fewest penalty yards per game (36.42).
During the last three seasons, Army has been one of the least penalized teams in the nation. In 2007, the Black Knights tied with Navy for the title of least penalized team in the nation, drawing only 4.0 flags per game. The Black Knights were second in the nation, amassing only 31.25 penalty yards per game. In 2006, Army ranked ninth nationally with its average of 4.71 penalties per game. The Black Knights also ranked 14th nationally in penalty yards per contest, averaging just 37.25 penalty yards per game.
GET OFF THE FIELD Army’s defense was stout on third down at Iowa State, allowing only three conversions in 11 tries (27.3 percent). For the season, Army is 58th in the nation, allowing opponents to reach the maker on 36.73 percent of its third-down tries (18-49).
The Black Knights ranked 19th in the nation last season, allowing just a 32.65 third-down conversion rate (48-147).
Just like on offense, first and second downs are huge keys to success on third down. In the first four games, the Black Knights have allowed their opponents to convert only six third downs when the line to make has been at least seven yards away. On the flip side, Army has yet to make a stop on a third down with three-or-fewer yards to go.
Dating back to last season, Army has won the first and second down battles quite frequently. In the last 11 games, One hundred six (106) of the opponents’ 133 third-down snaps (79.7 percent) have been with at least four yards to go for a first down.
STARTING POINT Another of Army head coach Rich Ellerson’s points of emphasis is winning the field position battle. In the win against Eastern Michigan, Army scored 27 points with an average starting field position of its own 42-yard line. Army started four drives in EMU territory and did not allow the Eagles to start a possession in Black Knight territory. In its two wins, Army’s average starting field position is its own 35-yard line.
On the other hand, in the two losses, Army’s average starting point is its own 24-yard line, while its opponents have started at their own 38-yard line. Duke and Iowa State started six drives in Army territory, while the Black Knights had positive field position just once.
UP NEXT ... The Black Knights finish their second two-game homestand of the season when they host Vanderbilt at noon on Oct. 10. The Commodores will be making their first trip to Michie Stadium since the 1991 season. Next Saturday is also Felix “Doc” Blanchard Day. The 1945 Heisman Trophy winner will have his No. 35 game jersey retired in a ceremony at halftime. The first 5,000 fans will receive a Blanchard bobblehead doll.