Army Football Game Notes: The Fordham Game

Malcolm Brown ran for one of Army's two touchdowns at Vanderbilt.

Malcolm Brown ran for one of Army's two touchdowns at Vanderbilt.

Oct. 24, 2011

Army Game Notes vs. Fordham Get Acrobat Reader

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Black Knights play their final game at Michie Stadium this season on Saturday when they welcome the Fordham Rams. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live by CBS Sports Network.

TELEVISION
CBS SPORTS NETWORK
  Play-by-Play: Gary Thorne
  Color Analyst: Randy Cross
  Cadet Sideline Reporter: James Garrison

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.); WPLJ-HD3 (95.5-3 (HD)-FM, New York, N.Y.); WKXP* (94.3-FM,  Kingston, N.Y.); WZAD* (97.3-FM, Wurtsboro, N.Y.);  WNSW^ (1430-AM, New York, N.Y.); WAZZ (1490-AM, Fayetteville, N.C. -- Fort Bragg); WZZN (97.7-FM,  Huntsville, Ala. -- Redstone Arsenal); KXCA (1380-AM, Lawton, Okla. -- Fort Sill); KRZI* (1660-AM, Waco, Texas -- Fort Hood)

*will carry partial schedule, including Army-Navy game
^Spanish broadcasts

Play-by-Play: Rich DeMarco
Color Analyst: Dean Darling
Sideline: Tony Morino
Program Hosts: Bob Outer, John Minko

• The 90-minute "Army Football Tailgate Show," begins at  1:30 p.m.

SATELLITE RADIO
The Army Sports Network game broadcast will be carried via Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 136).

COACHING MATCH UP
ARMY HEAD COACH Rich Ellerson
  Alma Mater: Hawai'i, 1977
  3rd Season at Army (14-18, .438)
  12th Season Overall (74-59, .556)
  Record vs. Fordham: 0-0

FORDHAM HEAD COACH TOM MASELLA
  Alma Mater: Wagner, 1981
  6th Season at Fordham (27-36, .429)
  10th Season Overall (44-62, .415)
  Record vs. Army: 0-0

ABOUT ARMY
Army is 2-1 in its first three home games of 2011, including wins in its last two appearances along the banks of the Hudson. The Black Knights have road games left at Air Force and Temple, along with neutral site games versus Rutgers (at Yankee Stadium; Bronx, N.Y.) and Navy (FedEx Field; Landover, Md.). Army has yet to win away from West Point this season.

Army is coming off a 44-21 loss at Vanderbilt last Saturday. The Black Knights rushed for a season-low 270 yards in the loss, snapping a six-game streak of gaining at least 300 yards on the ground. Despite the performance versus the Commodores, Army enters this weekend's games ranked No. 1 in the nation with a 348.29 rushing yards per game average.

Junior QB Trent Steelman suffered a leg injury in the first half of Saturday's loss at Vanderbilt and did not return. The Bowling Green, Ky., native has started an Academy-record 32 straight games under center, but his status for Saturday is questionable. Steelman is Army's second-leading rusher with 576 yards and owns a team-high 11 rushing touchdowns.

Sophomore RB Raymond Maples had his three-game streak with at least 100 rushing yards snapped against Vanderbilt. Maples is the Black Knights' leading rusher with 600 yards and is second on the team with four rushing touchdowns. In the last five games, Maples is averaging 107.6 yards per game and ranks 47th in the nation overall with 85.71 yards per contest.

Freshman QB Angel Santiago made his collegiate debut at Vanderbilt. Santiago guided the Black Knights on a scoring drive, capping a touchdown march with a one-yard plunge, his first career touchdown. Classmate Larry Dixon, Army's backup fullback, had the best game of his young career with a team-high 92 yards. His 57-yard run was not only his career long, but also Army's longest play from scrimmage this season.

Defensively, Army shuffled its lineup, adding two freshmen to the list of first-time starters this season. Plebe LB Geoffrey Bacon made a career-high and team-best 13 tackles and scored Army's first defensive touchdown this season with a 70-yard interception return. Freshman DL Jacob Drozd made his first career start, posting two tackles versus the Commodores. Army has had 22 players make their first career starts this season, including seven plebes.

Senior LB Steven Erzinger made nine stops against Vanderbilt and leads the Black Knights with 73 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 quarterback sacks. Erzinger ranks 13th in the nation with a 10.43 tackles-per-game average.

A WIN VS. FORDHAM WOULD ...
• Snap Army's two-game road losing streak.
• Be Army's third straight win over a NCAA Football Championship Subdivision opponent.
• Improve Army's home record to 3-1.
• Be the Black Knights' third straight home win, their longest streak since 2007.
• Keep Army's postseason hopes alive. Army must have six wins before the match up with Navy to be bowl eligible.
• Make Rich Ellerson the 15th Army coach to win at least 15 games during their career.
• Be Rich Ellerson's 75th career victory.
• Be the 652nd win in the 122 seasons of Army football (651-465-51; .579).

SCOUTING THE RAMS
Fordham head coach Tom Masella is in his sixth season as the head coach at Fordham. Masella guided the Rams to the Patriot League championship in 2007. Before arriving in the Bronx, Masella was the head coach at Central Connecticut State for two seasons, winning back-to-back NEC titles in 2004 and 2005. He also served as the head coach at Boston University in 1996 and 1997.

Fordham is playing a Patriot League schedule in 2011, but the Rams are not eligible for a conference championship and its games against Patriot League foes do not count in the standings for either team. The Rams are ineligible for the conference title because they began awarding athletically-based financial aid to the freshman class that entered school in the fall of 2010.

The Rams are coming off a 45-24 road loss to Lafayette. Fordham gained a season-high 565 yards of offense in the loss. Junior QB Ryan Higgins completed 32 of his 52 throws for 413 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Senior RB Darryl Whiting rushed for a season-high 128 yards on 20 carries.

Offensively, the Rams average 15.9 points and 317.7 yards per game. The Rams do the majority of their damage through the air, averaging 231.1 yards per contest compared with 86.6 yards per game on the ground. Higgins has completed 54.5 percent of his throws (73-134) for 973 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions in four games. Peter Maetzold has played in five games this season, completing 67-of-112 passes for 637 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. Whiting has accounted for 467 of the teams' 606 rushing yards and has one of the Rams' three rushing scores. Blake Wayne and Carlton Koonce lead the team with 25 and 23 receptions, respectively. Koonce leads the team with four receiving touchdowns. Greg Wilson is averaging 21.2 yards per catch (16 rec., 340 yds.).

Defensively, Fordham is giving up 31.7 points and 468.3 yards per game. Michael Martin leads the team with 64 tackles, including 37 solo stops. Jake Rodriques has a team-best 5.0 tackles for loss, while Nick Womack owns 3.5 quarterback sacks and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions.

The Rams' special teams play is highlighted by their punting unit. Fordham leads the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in net punting (45.53), while Patrick Murray ranks second in the nation with a 46.71 yards-per-punt average.

THE ARMY-FORDHAM SERIES
Despite the short distance between the two schools, Saturday's game is only the third all-time meeting on the gridiron. Army holds a 2-0 edge.

Saturday's game is the first time the two teams have played since a 35-0 Army win at West Point on Nov. 5, 1949. Both previous games have been contested at West Point.

The first game between Army and Fordham took place on Oct. 24, 1891. It was the Black Knights' second game in its history and its first opponent other than Navy, which Army played in its first game on Nov. 29, 1890. The 10-6 win was the first vicotry in Army history.

ARMY VS. THE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SUBDIVISION
Prior to the 2007 season, the NCAA enacted new nomenclature to differentiate between the different levels of Divison I football. What was formerly knows as Division I-A is now called the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). Division I-AA is now known as the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

The divisions split in 1978. Since that time, the Black Knights have played 61 games against the FCS, accumulating a 50-10-1 record. Lafayette has been Army's most common FCS opponent. The two teams have played 12 times since 1978 with Army winning 11 times.

Army played at least one game against an FCS school from 1978-97. The schedule was solely FBS squads from 1999-2001 before the 2002 team opened against Holy Cross.

The Fordham game will mark the seventh consecutive year the Black Knights have played an FCS squad. Army defeated UMass (27-24) in 2005, VMI (62-7) in 2006, Rhode Island (14-7, OT) in 2007 and VMI in 2009 (22-17) and 2010 (29-7). New Hampshire scored a 28-10 victory at Michie Stadium in 2008.

STREAKING
• Army has run for at least 270 yards and two touchdowns in all seven games this season.
• Army has lost six straight games when allowing a non-offensive touchdown.
• The Black Knights have lost 36 straight games when allowing 40-or-more points.
• Army has won seven straight games when scoring at least 40 points.
• The Black Knights have lost 16 straight games when trailing after three quarters.
• Army has defeated a team from a BCS automatic-qualifying conference in each of the last three seasons (Vanderbilt, 2009; Duke, 2010; Northwestern, 2011).
• The Black Knights have lost four straight games following wins over BCS league opponents.
• Army has lost four straight road games.

UP NEXT ...
Army plays its first Commander In Chief's Trophy game when it travels to Air Force on Nov. 5. The game will be televised live nationally on CBS beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. The Falcons defeated Navy earlier this season to take the lead in the CIC series. A win by Army would set up a showdown with the Mids for a chance at the Black Knights' first CIC crown since 1996. An Air Force victory would keep the trophy in Colorado Springs.

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