Army Football Game Notes: The Notre Dame Game




WEST POINT, N.Y. - Two of the most storied programs in college football get together to make history once again when Army and Notre Dame square off in the first college football game played at the two-year-old Yankee Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 with the NBC pregame show starting at 7 p.m. The two teams met 22 times at the original Yankee Stadium with the last meeting in the Bronx back in 1969.

TELEVISION
NBC

Play-by-Play: Tom Hammond
Color Analyst: Mike Mayock
Sideline Reporter: Alex Flanagan

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: Rich DeMarco
Color Analyst: Dean Darling
Sideline: Tony Morino
Program Host: Bob Outer

The 90-minute “Army Football Tailgate Show,” begins at 5 p.m.

SATELLITE RADIO
The Army Sports Network game broadcast will be carried via Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 152)  and beginning at 7 p.m.

INTERNET STREAMING
The entire Army Sports Network broadcast, including the “Army Football Tailgate Show,” will be streamed live (audio) 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 MATCH UP
ARMY HEAD COACH RICH ELLERSON

  Alma Mater: Hawai’i, 1977
  2nd Season at Army (11-11, .500)
  11th Season Overall (71-52, .578)
  Record vs. Notre Dame: 0-0

NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH BRIAN KELLY
  Alma Mater: Assumption, 1983
  1st Season at Notre Dame (5-5, .500)
  20th Season Overall (176-62-2, .738)
  Record vs. Army: 1-0

ARMY QUICK HITTERS
The Black Knights recorded their sixth win last week with a 45-28 triumph at Kent State. It is the first time that Army has been eligible for a postseason game since the 1996 team went 10-2 and played Auburn in the Independence Bowl.

Army is looking to break its habit of alternating wins and losses over the last six weeks. While Army hasn’t won two in a row since defeating North Texas (Sept. 18) and Duke (Sept. 25), the good news is that the Black Knights have not lost two in a row. The last time Army went through an entire season without suffering consecutive losses was 1996.

The Army offense will try to continue on the momentum of last week’s game when it chewed up 233 rushing yards against the then-No. 1 ranked rushing defense at Kent State. The Golden Flashes entered the game giving up just 69.3 rushing yards per game. Army’s 45 points marked its highest offensive output against a Football Bowl Subdivision team since a 48-29 win over Cincinnati on Oc.t 9, 2004. It was its best scoring game on the road since a 49-7 win at Boston College on Oct. 21, 1995.

All six of Army’s touchdowns against Kent State came via the run. It was the first time the Black Knights reached the end zone on the ground at least a half dozen times since a 62-7 win against VMI on Oct. 7, 2006. It was the first time they accomplished the feat versus an FBS squad since rushing for seven touchdowns in a 59-52 double-overtime win against Louisville on Oct. 7, 1999.

Sophomore FB Jared Hassin led the Black Knights with 75 rushing yards against Kent State, snapping a four-game streak of rushing for at least 100 yards. Hassin is Army’s leading rusher with 858 yards and ranks 39th in the nation at 85.8 yards per game.

Much has it has been all season, the turnover margin played a crucial role in Army’s success at Kent State. The Black Knights did not turn the ball over, while racking up four takeaways (3 INT, 1 FR). Army is tied for fifth in the nation in turnover margin at +1.20 per game. Army is 9-1 under Rich Ellerson when winning the turnover battle. This season, the Black Knights own a 104-24 advantage over its opponents in points off turnovers. Army is 3-1 this season when not committing a turnover.

A WIN VS. NOTRE DAME WOULD ...
• Give the Black Knights seven wins for the first time since the 1996 squad went 10-2
• Clinch Army’s first winning season since 1996
• Snap a 13-game losing streak versus the Fighting Irish
• Put Army three games above the .500 mark for the first time since ending the 1996 season 10-2
• Be the Black Knights’ fifth win in six games away from West Point this season
• Mark only the second time that all three service academies have won seven games in the same season (1963: Army, 7-3; Navy, 9-2; Air Force, 7-4)
• Make Rich Ellerson the first Army head coach to win at least 12 games in his first two seasons since Tom Cahill won 16 games in 1966 (8-2) and 1967 (8-2).
• Improve Army’s record to 4-2 in November under head coach Rich Ellerson (lost eight straight games during November prior to Ellerson’s arrival)
• Be the 649th win in the 121 seasons of Army football (648-459-51; .581).

SCOUTING THE FIGHTING IRISH
Head coach Brian Kelly is in his first season at the helm of the Notre Dame program. Kelly came to South Bend after guiding Cincinnati to back-to-back Big East titles. Kelly has also led the programs at Central Michigan and Grand Valley State. He took the Chippewas to the 2006 Mid-American Conference title and won back-to-back Division II national championships (2002-03) with the Lakers.

Notre Dame is coming off a 28-3 win over No. 15 Utah in its 2010 home finale. The victory was Notre Dame’s first over a team ranked in the AP top 25 since 2006, when the Irish defeated Penn State. Freshman quarterback Tommy Rees made his first career start and threw three touchdown passes to lead the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame was also opportunistic on special teams, blocking a punt for a score and recovering a fumble on the second-half kickoff that led to another score. Rees completed 13 of 20 passes for 129 yards, while Cierre Wood rushed 19 times for 71 yards. Michael Floyd caught four passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. The Notre Dame defense limited the Utes to only 265 yards of offense.

Offensively, the Fighting Irish are playing their first season under Kelly’s spread attack. Notre Dame is averaging 387.4 yards per game, including 272.60 yards per game through the air, ranking as the nation’s 21st-best passing offense. Rees made his first start in place of an injured Dayne Crist. Crist threw for 2,033 yards and 15 touchdowns before his injury. In six games, Rees is 52 for 83 (62.7 percent) for 542 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Michael Floyd, who ranks among the top 32 players in the nation in both yards per game and receptions per game, paces the receiving corps with 59 catches for 767 yards and nine touchdowns. Leading rusher Armando Allen is out for the season with an injury after running for 514 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. Wood has 345 yards and a pair of scores.

Defensively, the Fighting Irish are allowing 380.3 yards and 22.70 points per game. Manti Te’o leads the team with 109 total tackles, ranking ninth in the country with 10.9 stops per game. He is also tops on the team with 8.5 tackles for loss. Ethan Johnson owns a team-high 5.0 sacks, while Harrison Smith has three of the team 11 interceptions.

Kicker David Ruffer has not missed a field goal this season (13-13). He is 18 for 18 in his career.

THE ARMY-NOTRE DAME SERIES

One of the most magical rivalries in all of college sports is revisited on Saturday as longtime foes Army and Notre Dame renew acquaintances on the gridiron for the 50th time. Notre Dame holds a 37-8-4 all-time advantage in the series.

From 1913, when the teams first met, through 1947, the Black Knights and Fighting Irish faced each other annually, with the exception of 1918 when Army postponed its season after one game. The teams have met much more sporadically since that time, squaring off just six times since 1980.

Saturday’s game is the first collegiate football game in the new Yankee Stadium. The Black Knights and Fighting Irish met 22 times at the original Yankee Stadium with Notre Dame holding a 14-5-3 record in those games.

THE LAST MEETING - NOTRE DAME 41, ARMY 9 (NOV. 18, 2006)
SOUTH BEND, Ind.  —
Brady Quinn threw for three touchdowns and Darius Walker ran for 162 yards and two scores to power No. 6 Notre Dame to a 41-9 win over Army.
  
Quinn threw his first interception in seven games on Notre Dame’s first possession, and the Irish trailed 3-0 late in the first quarter, but Notre Dame scored on its next five possessions and cruised to its eighth straight win.
  
The victory over Army gave the Irish a three-game sweep over the service academies. The Black Knights had given the Irish scares the last two times they played, with both games decided in the final minutes. This time, the game was close for a quarter.
  
After gaining 67 yards en route to a 3-0 lead on a 27-yard field goal by Austin Miller, Army lost 11 yards in the second quarter and finished the game with 150 total yards.
  
Army scored a touchdown on the final play of the game against Notre Dame’s reserves, a 12-yard pass from David Pevoto to Tim Dunn.
  
The interception thrown by Quinn ended a streak of 226 straight passes without an interception - the longest such streak in Division I-A in 2006. Quinn was 22-of-30 for 218 yards.
  
Quinn threw a 16-yard TD pass to Jeff Samardzija, who had nine catches for 87 yards, and TD passes of 8 and 24 yards to Rhema McKnight. Walker ran for TDs of 10 and 7 yards. He had another shot at a TD, but fumbled on the 1. David Grimes recovered in the end zone for the touchdown.
  
The 162 yards rushing gave Walker his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season, becoming just the fourth player in school history to accomplish the feat.

NOVEMBERS TO REMEMBER
The Black Knights’ win at Kent State evened their record in November at 1-1 this season. In head coach Rich Ellerson’s two seasons, Army is 3-2 in the month of November. Both losses have been to service-academy rival Air Force.

Prior to Ellerson’s arrival, the Black Knights lost eight straight games in November.

Two of Army’s three wins in November during the last two seasons have been on the road. The Black Knights won a total of two road games in November between 2002-08.

SEEING RED
Through the first 10 games of 2010, the Black Knights have shown a vast improvement in their ability to score touchdowns in the red zone. Army has made 44 trips inside its opponents’ 20-yard line and reached paydirt 34 times (77.3 percent).

Converting on red-zone opportunities into touchdowns was a struggle for the Black Knights in 2009. Army scored on 27 of its 35 trips into the red zone (77.1 percent) last season, but only 16 of those trips resulted in touchdowns (45.7 percent).

The Black Knights are tied for ninth in the nation with a 91.0 percent red-zone rating (40-44).

DUAL THREAT
Sophomore QB Trent Steelman has run for 596 yards and passed for 798 yards through the first 10 games of the season. If he can throw for 202 yards in the final two games, he will become the first Army player ever to pass for 1,000 yards and run for 500 yards in the same season.

Steelman’s 1,394 yards of total offense is the 12th-best season total in Academy history. His career total of 2,737 yards is just 100 yards outside Army’s all-time top 10.

UP NEXT ...
The Black Knights have two weeks off before wrapping up the regular season on Saturday, Dec. 11 versus arch-rival Navy at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa. It is the 111th meeting between the two service academies. Army will try to snap an eight-game skid against the Mids. The Army-Navy Game presented by USAA will be televised live on CBS.
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