Army Postgame Notes
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. The Army football team opened its string of three straight road games with a 47-23 loss to Central Michigan Saturday afternoon in front of 21,013 fans at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
The loss drops Army to 3-4, while the Chippewas improved to 4-3 with their first non-conference win of the season.
Central Michigan scored 20 points off five Army turnovers in the first half. The Black Knights led the game, 9-7, with 3:36 left in the first quarter, but the Chippewas reeled off 26 unanswered points to take control of the game. CMU added an interception return for a score in the fourth quarter to tally a total of 27 points off seven Black Knights’ turnovers.
Senior WR Jeremy Trimble had a career day with 11 catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns. He became the Black Knights’ all-time leading pass catcher, increasing his total to 155 career receptions to move ahead of Clennie Brundidge’s total of 147 (1975-78). Trimble also moved into second place on the Black Knights’ career receiving yards list with 1,988 yards, surpassing Aaron Alexander (1,820, 2002-04). Trimble’s two touchdown catches were the 11th and 12th of his career, placing him in a fourth-place tie on Army’s all-time list (Alexander).
Sophomore QB Carson Williams established career highs with 18 completions and 201 yards. He is the first Army player to throw for 200 yards in a game since Zac Dahman versus Navy in 2005. His 23 pass attempts included two touchdowns and three interceptions. Senior QB Kevin Dunn also played extensively, hitting 6-of-12 passes for 82 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Junior RB Tony Dace led the team in rushing with a career-high 14 carries for 46 yards. Sophomore Ian Smith saw his first action of the season, gaining 35 yards on five carries.
Senior LB Charlie Rockwood led the defense with a career-best 11 tackles, including 10 stops in the first half. Senior FS Jordan Murray added nine stops, while junior LB Frank Scappaticci had seven tackles and his first career interception.
Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour accounted for six of the Chippewas’ seven touchdowns. LeFevour was 30 of 39 for 251 yards and two scores through the air, while running 14 times for 100 yards and four scores. Antonio Brown led the receiving corps with eight catches and 69 yards.
Josh Gordy was the CMU star on defense with 10 tackles and three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Red Keith led the team with 15 tackles.
After a three-and-out by Army on the game’s first series, CMU scored on its first possession. LeFevour capped a five-play, 43-yard drive that required just 1:25 with a one-yard touchdown plunge. The PAT gave the Chippewas a 7-0 lead with 11:32 left in the opening quarter.
The Black Knights drive inside the Chippewas’ 40-yard line, but were forced to punt. Owen Tolson’s punt was downed at the 9-yard line. CMU was able to pick up a first down, but the Army defense stiffened and forced a punt. The snap to punter Tony Mikulec was over his head, and when he regained possession and tried to kick the ball, Rod Murray was able to block the punt attempt out of the end zone for a safety to make it 7-2 with 6:36 left in the quarter.
Army was able to take advantage of good field position off the free kick to score its first offensive touchdown in the first quarter this season. Williams completed all five of his pass attempts on the drive, culminating with a 15-yard scoring strike to Anderson. Adam DeMarco’s extra point gave the Black Knights a 9-7 lead with less than three minutes to go in the quarter.
The Black Knights’ lead was short lived as the Chippewas came right back to score their second touchdown on the ensuing possession. LeFevour threw his first touchdown pass of the game, an 8-yard pass to Anderson, to push CMU ahead 13-9. The extra point was no good, keeping the score at 13-9 with 0:58 left in the quarter.
Following Williams’ first interception on the second play of Army’s next possession, Central Michigan began its drive at Army’s 28-yard line. LeFevour’s second scoring pass of the game, a 15-yard screen pass to Justin Hoskins, extended the Chippewas’ lead to 19-9. The extra point was wide right to keep the margin at 10 points with 13:44 left in the second quarter.
On Army’s next play from scrimmage, Williams was intercepted again, giving the Chippewas a first down at the Black Knights’ 38-yard line. LeFevour accounted for his fourth touchdown of the day, scrambling 17 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the contest. The PAT was good, giving CMU a 26-9 lead with 12:18 left in the half.
Dunn was inserted into the game, but his first pass attempt was also picked off. Dunn’s throw to Mike Viti was deflected and snatched out of the air by the Chippewas, setting up a first down at the Black Knights’ 36-yard line. Army’s defense, aided by a 15-yard personal foul, held CMU without a first down, but the resulting punt was downed at the 2-yard line.
After an initial first down, the Black Knights turned the ball over for the fourth straight possession, this time on a Mealy fumble. CMU took over at the Black Knights’ 25-yard line. LeFevour again took advantage of the Army miscue, scoring his third rushing touchdown of the game, a 10-yard scamper up the middle. The extra point pushed CMU’s margin to 33-9 with 6:13 left in the half.
Army was able to stem the Chippewas’ momentum with an 8-play, 57-yard scoring drive capped by an 8-yard touchdown pass from Dunn to Trimble. DeMarco’s PAT made the score 33-16 with 2:30 left in the first half. Dunn completed three of his four throws, including a pair of third-down conversions on the scoring march.
It was the Black Knights’ turn to force a turnover on CMU’s ensuing possession. Brandon Thompson deflected LeFevour’s pass and Scappaticci pulled it down for his first career interception. Army turned it right back over on the second play of its possession when Dunn’s throw down the middle was intercepted, setting up a first down for the Chippewas at their own 29-yard line. CMU ran two consecutive rushing plays to run out the first-half clock and go into the locker room ahead, 33-16.
The Chippewas’ 33 first-half points represented the most markers scored against Army in a half since Air Force posted 43 points before halftime on Nov. 3, 2006. Central Michigan outgained the Black Knights, 245-178, including a 100-37 advantage on the ground.
Army started with great field position in the second half. A penalty on the kickoff forced the Chippewas to start from inside their own 20-yard line. CMU did not gain a first down and the resulting punt was fair caught by Trimble at the Chippewas’ 38-yard line. The Black Knights could not take advantage, however, and the teams exchanged punts.
Army started on its own 34-yard line and moved inside the CMU 40-yard line, but the offense stalled at the 35. Tolson’s 52-yard field goal attempt had plenty of leg, but went wide right to give Central Michigan the ball at its own 35-yard line with 6:37 left in the third quarter.
Following another CMU punt, Army started at its own seven-yard line and once again moved to the Chippewas’ 35-yard line. Williams, who re-entered the game at the beginning of the drive, was unable to connect on fourth down on the first play of the fourth quarter to turn the ball back over to Central Michigan.
The Chippewas scored the first points of the second half when LeFevour scrambled five yards for his fourth rushing touchdown of the game. The PAT pushed CMU’s lead to 40-16 with 10:17 left in the game.
Army again penetrated deep into CMU territory thanks to a 36-yard pass from Williams to Trimble that put the ball at the Chippewas’ 11-yard line. A holding penalty pushed the ball back to the 21-yard line, but Williams found Trimble on the next play for a 21-yard touchdown, his second of the day. DeMarco tacked on the extra point to make it a 40-23 game with 7:45 remaining.
Following an unsuccessful on-side kick attempt, the Black Knights’ defense was able to force a CMU punt. Army took over deep in its own territory and following two false start penalties, Gordy picked off Williams for the third time in the game and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. The PAT made the score 47-23 with 4:14 left in the game.
Army was able to move to the plus side of the 50-yard line again, but Ian Smith, who was playing in his first game of the season, fumbled to account for the Black Knights’ seventh turnover.
CMU was able to run out the clock to secure the victory.
The 47 points scored by the Chippewas were the most for a Black Knights’ opponent since Rice tallied 48 last season. Army’s losing streak away from Michie Stadium increased to eight games, including six at opponents’ home stadiums.
The Black Knights are on the road again next week when they travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech. Kickoff is slated for 12:10 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium.