Oct. 27, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
The Army football team returns to the friendly confines of Michie Stadium for the first time in four weeks on Saturday, Oct. 29, when the Black Knights host Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) foe Fordham. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m.
Tickets for Saturday's contest, which falls on Military Appreciation Day, have been sold out. The Army Athletic Association will also be honoring members of the 1996 Independence Bowl team, and the first 5,000 ticketed fans that enter the gates of Michie Stadium will receive a print of the 1996 Army football team photo. It will be Senior Day and the Black Knights' seniors will be honored in a special ceremony prior to the game.
CBS Sports Network will carry a live broadcast of Saturday's contest with Gary Thorne (play by play), Randy Cross (color analyst) and West Point Cadet James Garrison (sideline reporter) calling the action. The CBS Sports Network telecast will also be available through ITT Knight Vision All-Access on www.goARMYsports.com.
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), Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 136) and ITT 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 (2-5) is coming off a 44-21 setback at Vanderbilt last Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn. The Black Knights have dropped two straight games and three of their last four.
Fordham has lost five consecutive contests and the Rams enter this weekend's game showing a 1-6 overall record. Fordham dropped a 45-24 decision to Lafayette last Saturday in Easton, Pa.
Army has not faced Fordham since 1949 when the Black Knights secured a 35-0 victory. Army boasts an all-time record of 2-0 versus the Rams.
Army head coach Rich Ellerson is in his third season as the Black Knights' mentor. He enters Saturday's matchup with a 14-18 record at West Point. Ellerson, who led Army to its first bowl victory since 1985 last year, has piled up a 74-59 career record in 12 seasons as a college head coach.
Fordham is coached by Tom Masella, who is in his sixth season guiding the Rams. Masella led Central Connecticut State to a pair of winning seasons prior to taking over the Fordham program. He has a 44-62 record in 10 seasons as a collegiate head coach, including a 27-36 mark at Fordham.
Army junior quarterback Trent Steelman, who has established a program record by starting 32 straight games under center, directs Army's offense. Army's third-year signal caller leads the team with 347 yards passing and ranks second on the squad with 576 yards rushing. Steelman has accounted for 13 of Army's 26 total touchdowns, having rushed 11 scores and thrown for two TDs.
Steelman's streak of consecutive starts will come to an end versus Fordham, however, after the quarterback suffered an injury last week versus Vanderbilt. Senior quarterback Max Jenkins will draw his first career start against the Rams this Saturday. Freshman signal caller Angel Santiago, who saw his first collegiate action at Vanderbilt, is also expected to receive playing time opposite Fordham.
Sophomore running back Raymond Maples leads Army on the ground with 600 rushing yards. The second-year back, who has posted three 100-yard rushing games already this season, has rushed for four touchdowns as well.
Junior slotback Malcolm Brown has been productive both as a runner and receiver. He has rushed for 350 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He has also caught three passes for 93 yards and a score.
Sophomore wide receiver Jared McFarlin paces Army's receiving corps with seven receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown. Senior wide out Davyd Brooks has hauled in four passes for a team-best 95 yards and one TD.
The Black Knights' offense continues to lead the nation in rushing yards per game (348.3). Army is averaging 26.0 points and 400.7 yards of total offense per contest.
Senior linebacker Steven Erzinger paces Army's defense with 73 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 quarterback sacks. He enters Saturday's action ranked 13th in the nation in tackles per game (10.43).
Freshman linebacker Geoffrey Bacon posted a career-high 13 tackles at Vanderbilt last weekend. Bacon, who drew is first career start in that contest, returned an interception 70 yards to pay dirt to account for Army's first defensive touchdown of the season.
Fordham's offense relies more on the pass than the run. The Rams are averaging 231.1 yards per game through the air, but account for just 86.6 yards per contest on the ground. Fordham piled up 565 yards of total offense against Lafayette last Saturday, but were unable to get past the Leopards.
Junior quarterback Ryan Higgins, who threw for a career-high 413 yards and two touchdowns versus Lafayette last Saturday, leads the Fordham offense. Higgins tops the Rams with 973 passing yards and five TDs.
Junior wide receiver Blake Wayne is one of Higgins' favorite targets in the passing game, having caught a team-high 25 passes for 230 yards and one touchdown. He reeled in 11 receptions for 106 yards and a score against Lafayette last weekend. Junior running back Carlton Koonce leads the Rams with four touchdown receptions.
Senior running back Darryl Whiting, who rushed for a season-high 128 yards last week at Lafayette, paces the Fordham ground attack with 467 rushing yards and one TD.
Fordham's defense is yielding 468.3 yards of total offense and 31.7 points per game. The Rams are allowing 230 rushing yards per contest. Junior linebacker Michael Martin leads the unit with 64 tackles. Senior linebacker Nick Womack tops the team with two interceptions and 3.5 quarterback sacks.
Following Saturday's game, Army will travel to USAFA, Colo., to face service academy rival Air Force on Saturday, Nov. 5. Kickoff for the contest, which will be televised live to a national audience on CBS, is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.