Army Travels To Eastern Michigan On Saturday

Hayden Tippett

Hayden Tippett

Oct. 18, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team takes to the road for the first time in nearly a month on Saturday, Oct. 20, when the Black Knights travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., to face Mid-American Conference (MAC) foe Eastern Michigan. Kickoff from Rynearson Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m.

ESPN3 will broadcast Saturday's contest online at www.espn3.com. Dan Gutowsky (play by play) and Warrick Dunn (color analyst) will call the action.

The Army Sports Network will have the audio call of the game on its flagship station WABC (770-AM), as well as WALL (1340-AM) and WEOK (1390-AM) in the Hudson Valley, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Sirius channel 93/XM channel 192) and Knight Vision. Rich DeMarco (play by play), Dean Darling (color analyst) and Tony Morino (sideline reporter) will cover the game on the Army Sports Network.

Army (1-5) suffered a 31-17 setback to Kent State last Saturday, while Eastern Michigan dropped a wild 52-47 shootout to Toledo. The Black Knights have never lost to the Eagles, showing a perfect 4-0 all-time record versus the MAC school. Army opened the 2010 campaign by posting a 31-27 victory over EMU in Ypsilanti.

Army continues to lead the nation in rushing, averaging an eye-catching 385.2 yards per contest. The Black Knights piled up 325 yards on the ground last Saturday versus Kent State. It marked the fourth time this season that Army has surpassed the 300-yard plateau. Senior running back Malcolm Brown rushed for a team-high 92 yards and a touchdown, and senior quarterback Trent Steelman accounted for 132 yards of total offense to spark the Black Knights.

Eastern Michigan (0-6) exploded offensively versus Toledo last Saturday, racking up season highs with 47 points and 624 yards of total offense against the Rockets. Sophomore running back Bronson Hill ran for 283 yards and four touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Tyler Benz completed 18-of-27 passes for 301 yards and two scores to pace EMU in the contest.

Army head coach Rich Ellerson, who is in his fourth season at West Point, owns a 16-27 record as the Black Knights mentor. His career record, which spans 13 seasons, stands at 76-68. He shows a perfect 2-0 mark versus Eastern Michigan, having guided Army to victories over the Eagles in 2009 and 2010.

Eastern Michigan head coach Ron English, who is in his fourth season in Ypsilanti, carries an 8-34 career record into Saturday's contest. The former defensive coordinator at Michigan, English shows a 0-2 record versus Army.

The Black Knights' ground attack is spurred by junior running back Raymond Maples, who is ranks 10th nationally with 125.2 rushing yards per contest. Maples, who has authored four 100-yard rushing games already this season, might be able to take advantage of an Eastern Michigan defense that is allowing 296.8 rushing yards per game.

Steelman, who leads Army with eight rushing touchdowns, lists second on the team with 82.8 yards per game. Sophomore fullback Larry Dixon, who ranks second on the squad with five rushing TDs, is third on the team with 82.3 yards per game.

Steelman is also completing 46.7 percent of his passes for 337 yards and one touchdown this season. One of his favorite targets in the passing game is sophomore wide receiver Chevaughn Lawrence, who paces the Black Knights with 10 receptions for 186 yards. Lawrence busted out last week versus Kent State, posting career highs with six catches and 88 receiving yards. Junior wide receiver Patrick Laird, who hauled in his first career TD pass last Saturday, ranks second on the team with eight receptions and 101 receiving yards.

Army's defense, which is allowing nearly 450 yards of total offense and more than 36 points per game through six games, will look to limit an Eastern Michigan offense that is scoring a little more than 20 points and racking up less than 325 yards of total offense per contest.

Sophomore linebacker Geoffery Bacon, who matched his career high with 14 tackles versus Kent State last Saturday, leads Army's defensive unit with 62 tackles. He enters the weekend ranked tied for 14th nationally in tackles per game (10.3).

Senior linebacker Nate Combs, who lists third on the team with 29 tackles, paces the Black Knights with nine tackles for loss, six sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Combs, who will likely miss Saturday's game due to injury, ranks among the nation's top 20 in both sacks per game (1.00) and tackles for loss per game (1.50).

Benz, who started for Eastern Michigan last week in place of Alex Gillett, enters Saturday's contest averaging 153.5 passing yards per game. He is competing 53.6 percent of his passes for 614 yards and four touchdowns. Hill, meanwhile, leads the Eagles' rushing offense with 363 yards and five scores in four game appearances.

Senior tight end Garrett Hoskins, who hauled in seven passes for 103 yards against Toledo last week, paces the EMU receiving corps with 23 receptions for 311 yards and two touchdowns.

Junior defensive back Donald Coleman and senior linebacker Bryan Pali lead the Eastern Michigan defense with 60 tackles apiece. Pali also paces the Eagles with 4.5 tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Kalonji Kashama, who ranks second on the team with 4.0 tackles for loss, paces EMU with three sacks.

Following Saturday's game at Eastern Michigan, Army returns to West Point to begin a two-game homestand versus Ball State on Saturday, Oct. 27. The game is slated to kick off from Michie Stadium at 12 p.m.

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