Army Football Game Notes: The Rutgers Game




WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army and Rutgers meet for the third consecutive season when the Scarlet Knights visit Michie Stadium on Friday night. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.  It is the second straight Friday-night trip to West Point for Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights and Black Knights squared off on a Friday ESPN2 broadcast back in 2007.

TELEVISION
Network: ESPN2
Play-by-Play: Joe Tessitore
Color Analyst: Rod Gilmore

Army is playing its seventh weeknight game in program history. The Black Knights are 2-4 in the previous six games.

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 6 p.m. Pre-game coverage starts at 7:30 p.m.

SATELLITE RADIO
The Army Sports Network game broadcast will be carried via Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 126)and XM (channel 102) beginning at 8 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 (3-4, .429)
  10th Season Overall (63-45, .583)
  Record vs. Rutgers: 0-0

RUTGERS HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO
  Alma Mater: Bucknell, 1988
  9th Season at Rutgers (50-53, .485)
  9th Season Overall (50-53, .485)
  Record vs. Army: 4-0

AN ARMY WIN VS. RUTGERS WOULD ...
• Give the Black Knights four wins in a season for the first time since 2005 (4-7).
• Avoid putting the Black Knights two games under the .500 mark for the first time this season.
• Snap a five-game losing streak to Rutgers
• Mark the first time Army defeated a team from the Big East since Rutgers in 1997 (0-11).
• Be the first time since the BCS was formed in 1998 that Army defeated two teams from automatic-qualifying conferences in the same season. The 1996 team defeated Duke from the ACC and Rutgers from the Big East.
• Be the 641st win in the 120 seasons of Army football (640-453-51; .582).

Army is coming off a 27-13 loss at Temple last Saturday. The Black Knights fought back from a 13-0 deficit to tie the game in the third quarter, but the Owls scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to take the victory.

Junior DE Josh McNary etched his name in the Army record book in the loss in Philadelphia. McNary sacked Temple quarterbacks an Academy record four times. The sack total also propelled the Houston native to the top of both the Black Knights’ single-season (9.5) and career (15.0) sack ledgers. McNary ranks third in the nation with 1.36 sacks per game.

Freshman QB Trent Steelman was Army’s leading rusher for the third straight game. Steelman ran 19 times for 67 yards at Temple to move to the top of the Black Knights’ rushing list. The rookie has run a team-high 117 times for 407 yards and three touchdowns, all team highs.

The Army offense has not scored more than one offensive touchdown in four consecutive games. The 24-17 win over Ball State on Sept. 19 marked the last time the Black Knights scored at least two offensive touchdowns. Army has been searching for ways to be more effective in the red zone. In the last four weeks, the Black Knights are 11 of 14 in the red zone, but have scored just four touchdowns. Nine of Army’s last 12 field goal attempts have been from 37 yards or closer.

The Black Knights’ defense limited Temple to only 80 rushing yards last Saturday. It was the third time this season that Army kept an opponent to less than 100 yards. The Black Knights had their best total defense performance, giving the Owls only 195 yards. Army has allowed less than 300 yards in four of the seven games this season.

SCOUTING THE SCARLET KNIGHTS
Rutgers’ head coach Greg Schiano is in his ninth season at the helm of the Scarlet Knights. After winning 12 games in his first four seasons, Schiano has guided Rutgers to four straight winning seasons, racking up 38 victories since 2005. The Scarlet Knights have gone to bowl games in each of the last four seasons, including victories in its last three appearances.

The matchup with the Black Knights is Rutgers final non-conference game of the season. The Scarlet Knights are 4-0 in out-of-league contests this season, defeating Howard, Florida International, Maryland and Texas Southern. Rutgers is 0-2 in league play, losing to Cincinnati in the season opener and Pittsburgh last week.

Friday’s game is just the second road tilt of the season for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers was victorious at Maryland on Sept. 26, taking out the Terrapins, 34-13.

The Scarlet Knights led Pittsburgh 7-0 less than three minutes into the game last Friday, but the Panthers were able to score 17 straight points to seize control. Rutgers got back within a touchdown on two occasions, but were unable to fully close the gap. The Pittsburgh defense limited the Scarlet Knights to 286 yards of offense and only 38 yards rushing. Mohamed Sanu led the team with 29 yards and a touchdown on four carries, while Joe Martinek had 23 yards on nine rushing attempts. Tom Savage completed 23-of-39 passes for 248 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Offensively, the Scarlet Knights are averaging 351.2 yards and 29.33 points per game. Martinek is the team’s leading rusher with 434  yards (72.3/game) and five touchdowns on 84 attempts. Jourdan Brooks, who did not play against Pittsburgh, is next on the list with 236 yards and four touchdowns. Savage has played in five games and is the Scarlet Knights’ top passer with 941 yards and five scores. He is completing 57.3 percent of his throws (71-124) with only one interception. Domenic Natale has also played in five games, completing 14-of-28 throws for 213 yards and three interceptions. Tim Brown is the squad’s top receiver with 28 catches for 548 yards and three scores. He is ranked 23rd in the nation with 91.3 yards per game. Sanu has 26 receptions for 245 yards.

Rutgers brings one of the nation’s top-ranked stop units to Michie Stadium. The Scarlet Knights are 30th in the country in total defense (314.83) and rank 11th in the country in rushing defense (91.50). Rutgers is sixth in the country in both sacks per game (3.33) and tackles for loss per game (8.5). Devin McCourty leads the team with 38 tackles. Jonathan Freeny has been the most frequent visitor to the opponents’ backfield with 8.0 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Rutgers has had eight different players intercept a pass and is second in the country with a +2.0 turnover margin per game.

THE ARMY-RUTGERS SERIES
Army leads the all-time series with Rutgers, 18-17. The series dates back to the 1891 season, Army’s second year of competition.

Rutgers has won the last five meetings with the Black Knights, including a 30-3 win in Piscataway last season. Army’s last victory against Rutgers was a 37-35 win at West Point in 1997.

ARMY AGAINST THE BIG EAST
Rutgers is the only member of the Big East Confernece on the Black Knights’ 2009 docket.

This season marks the 10th consecutive season that the Black Knights have played at least one team from the Big East. Army took on Connecticut from 2003-06, Rutgers in 2002-03 and 2007-08, and Boston College in 2000 and 2001. Army is 0-10 in that span and has lost 11 straight to Big East opponents. The Black Knights’ last win against a team competing in the conference was a 37-35 decision versus Rutgers in 1997

Army is 44-52-2 against teams currently competing in the Big East (Cincinnati, 3-3; Connecticut, 1-4; Louisville, 3-6; Pittsburgh, 6-19-2;  Rutgers, 18-17; South Florida, 1-1; Syracuse, 10-11; West Virginia, 2-1).

Army competed in Conference USA from 1998-2004 with current Big East members Cincinnati and Louisville. South Florida competed in C-USA with the Black Knights in 2003 and 2004.

THE LAST MEETING: RUTGERS 30, ARMY 3 (NOV. 22, 2008)
PISCATAWAY, N.J.  —
Rutgers’ quarterback Mike Teel threw for 359 yards and one touchdown to lead the Scarlet Knights to a 30-3 victory at a cold and breezy Rutgers Stadium.

Collin Mooney posted his fifth 100-yard rushing day of the season, gaining 112 yards on 20 carries. Mooney moved into a tie for fifth place on Army’s single-season 100-yard games list. He jumped to second place on the Black Knights’ single-season rushing yardage list, improving his season total to 1,285 yards. Chip Bowden ran 21 times for 83 yards and completed two of his four pass attempts for two yards.

Teel completed 33 of 23 throws on the day. RU receiver Kenny Britt caught 10 passes for a career-high 197 yards. Shamar Graves was one of four other Scarlet Knights to catch at least two passes, finishing with 42 yards and a score. Joe Martinek was the squad’s leading rusher with 53 yards on nine carries.

The Scarlet Knights outgained Army, 521-219. It was the most yards allowed by an Army opponent in 2008 and the most since Tulsa gained 622 at Michie Stadium in 2007.

Frank Scappaticci led the Army defense with 12 tackles. Stephen Anderson notched nine tackles, including 1.5 for loss. Anderson forced two fumbles to run his season total to an Academy-record tying five. Antuan Aaron had a career-best nine stops.

Army turned the ball over twice in the game, leading to 10 Scarlet Knights’ points.

PLAYING FROM BEHIND
Temple’s touchdown on the first possession of the game last week marked the first time that Army did not score first. The loss to the Owls was the only game this season where Army did not hold a lead at some point during the contest.

The Black Knights have scored touchdowns on their first possession in four of their seven games this season. The Vanderbilt and Temple games mark the first time this season Army has gone two straight games without reaching the end zone on its initial drive. 

After scoring at least one touchdown in the first half of its first five games, Army has managed just one field goal in each of the last two games during the first half. Despite the slow starts in the last two weeks, Army is outscoring its opponents 33-17 in the first quarter and 66-54 in the first half.

While the Black Knights have won the first quarter, the third quarter has been a struggle. Army scored its first third-quarter touchdown in the loss at Temple, and its 10 third-quarter points against the Eagles were the most this season. Entering the game, Army had scored a total of three points in the first five third quarters of the season.

FANTASTIC FINISHES
Four of Army’s last five games have had the winning points scored in the fourth quarter or overtime. Army scored the only points of the fourth quarter in the 24-17 win over Ball State when junior FS Donovan Travis returned an interception 18 yards for the game-winning touchdown. Tulane overcame a 10-7 deficit in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Black Knights 10-6 in the final stanza to take a 17-16 victory. Vanderbilt tied the game in the fourth quarter before Army won it with an overtime field goal, and Temple broke a 13-13 tie with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Duke outscored the Black Knights 21-6 in the fourth quarter to break open a 14-13 game and take the 16-point victory. It was the largest fourth-quarter scoring deficit for the Black Knights since Rice held a 17-0 advantage in the final stanza on Sept. 30, 2006.

Two of Duke’s three fourth-quarter touchdowns were scored by the Blue Devils’ defense. Eastern Michigan and Temple (both in 2009) are the only teams to score two offensive touchdowns in the final period versus the Black Knights in the last 14 outings.

Army has either come from behind or broken a tie in the fourth quarter in four of its last five victories. In the win over Vandy, Army broke a 3-3 tie and a 10-10 tie, but the Commodores kicked a field goal with 52 seconds left to force overtime.

THE MAGIC NUMBER
Army won its eighth straight game when holding an opponent to 14 points or less in its overtime win over Vanderbilt. The last time the Black Knights allowed 14-or-fewer points and lost was Sept. 2, 2006 in a 14-6 loss at Arkansas State. Since 2000, Army is 12-2 when holding opponents to no more than 14 points.

Army allowed 27 points in the loss at Temple, dropping the Black Knights to 16-99 since 1996 when allowing opponents to score 18-or-more points. In that same span, Army is 24-6 when the opponent tallies 17 or less.

UP NEXT ...
Army gets its first bye week of the season before traveling to Colorado Springs for its first Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy matchup versus Air Force. The game starts a stretch of three of the last four games away from West Point. The Black Knights will be attempting to snap a seven-game losing streak against their service-academy rivals. Army’s last win in the CIC series was on Nov. 5, 2005 at Air Force (27-24). ESPN’s College Gameday program will be on hand.

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