WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army will try to win back-to-back games for the first time this season when it heads to Denton, Texas to face the North Texas Mean Green. The game will be televised in the Dallas market on TXA 21 beginning at 4 p.m. ET.
TELEVISION Network: TXA 21 (Dallas/Ft. Worth) Play-by-Play: Brad Sham Color Analyst: Babe Laufenberg
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 2 p.m. Pre-game coverage starts at 3:30 p.m.
SATELLITE RADIO The Army Sports Network game broadcast will be carried via Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 152)beginning at 4 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.
A live video stream is also available for ITT Knight Vision subscribers. The audio of that feed will be the North Texas radio play-by-play.
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 (4-6, .400) 10th Season Overall (64-47, .577) Record vs. North Texas: 0-0
NORTH TEXAS COACH TODD DODGE Alma Mater: Texas, 1987 3rd Season at North Texas (5-29, .147) 3rd Season Overall (5-29, .147) Record vs. Army: 0-0
The Black Knights defeated VMI 22-17 last time out. The Keydets led 17-16 in the fourth quarter, but Patrick Mealy broke off a 17-yard touchdown run to give Army the lead for good. Mealy finished the game with a career-high 136 yards on 16 carries.
The victory kept the Black Knights’ bowl hopes alive. Army is now 4-6 on the season, and can still can become bowl elgibile with wins in its final two games. The Black Knights have a tie-in with the Eagle Bank Bowl this season. A loss in either one of the remaining two contests would knock Army out of bowl contention.
The Black Knights’ four victories this season are the most for the program since the 2005 squad went 4-7. A win against the Mean Green would mark Army’s first five-win season since the 1996 team went 10-2 and played in the Independence Bowl.
While Army has relied on the running game for most of the season, the passing game took center stage versus the Keydets. Freshman QB Trent Steelman set career highs with 11 completions and 174 yards and a touchdown on only 14 attempts. Senior WR Alejandro Villanueva also had a career-high effort with seven catches for 119 yards and a touchdown. All seven of his receptions accounted for a first down, including the score. Army’s 174 passing yards were the most since throwing for 328 yards against Tulsa on Nov. 7, 2007.
Army’s defense allowed a season-high 328 yards rushing to the Keydets, who entered the game ranked second in the NCAA FCS with nearly 255 yards per contest. Despite the yardage total, Army limited an opponent to fewer than 20 points for the fifth time this season. The Black Knights are 4-1 in those five games. Junior DB Donovan Travis led the squad with a career-high 12 tackles, including 11 solo stops.
A WIN VS. NORTH TEXAS WOULD ... • Mark the first time this season Army won back-to-back games. • Be the Black Knights’ second road win of the season, a first since 2005. • Give the Black Knights five wins in a season for the first time since 1996 (10-2). • Pull the Black Knights to within one game of the .500 mark and keep their bowl hopes alive. • Keep the Black Knights undefeated against the Mean Green (2-0). • Be the first time Army has won back-to-back games in November since 2005. • End Army’s two-game losing streak in the State of Texas and be only the second win in its last 11 trips to the Lone Star State. • Be the 642nd win in the 120 seasons of Army football (641-455-51; .581).
SCOUTING THE MEAN GREEN Head coach Todd Dodge is in his third season at North Texas. Prior to taking over the reins of the Mean Green, Dodge led Southlake Carroll High School (Texas) to four Texas 5A state championships in five seasons between 2001-06, posting a 79-1 record in that span. He was 98-11 overall at Carroll. Dodge entered coaching after starting at quarterback at Texas where he threw for 2,791 yards and 18 touchdowns during his career.
The Mean Green are coming off a 35-28 loss at Florida International. North Texas led 28-14 at halftime, but FIU scored 21 unanswered points in the second half. It was the fourth time this season that North Texas lost a game in which it held a double-digit lead. The Mean Green had the ball for 39 minutes and recorded 513 yards of offense. Lance Dunbar ran for 119 yards and two scores, his sixth 100-yard game of the season, while Riley Dodge, head coach Todd Dodge’s son, threw for 314 yards and a touchdown in addition to rushing for a score.
North Texas opened the season with a 20-10 over Ball State, the only common opponent it shares with Army, but lost its next six before defeating Western Kentucky on Oct. 31. Five of the Mean Green’s eight losses have been by seven points or less.
The Mean Green’s spread attack has posted 418.9 yards and 28 points per game so far this season, ranking 28th and 54th in the nation, respectively. The 29th-best rushing unit in the nation with 186.1 yards per game, North Texas also averages 232.8 yards per game on the ground. Dunbar is the nation’s 16th-ranked rusher, averaging 112.0 yards per game. He has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark (1,120) and is averaging 6.7 yards per carry with a team-leading 15 touchdowns, four more than Army’s team rushing score total. Dodge is the team’s second-leading runner with 373 yards and five scores. Through the air, Dodge has completed 66.8 percent of his throws (171-256) for 1,737 yards, eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Four different players have caught at least 20 passes. Jamaal Jackson is tops on the squad with 59 receptions for 596 yards and four touchdowns. Darius Carey has 46 catches for 443 yards and four scores. Michael Outlaw is next on the list with 35 receptions for 430 yards and two scores, while Dunbar has 24 catches for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Defensively, North Texas is allowing 417.7 yards and 38.0 points per game. Craig Robinson is the team’s top tackler with 89 stops. He also has 3.5 tackles for loss, including 1.5 sacks. DaWaylon Cook ranks second with 65 total tackles. Brandon Akpunku has a team-best 10.0 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. Royce Hill tops the team with two interceptions. North Texas is on the minus side of a 23-12 turnover disadvantage.
On special teams, the Mean Green boast two of the nation’s top 25 kick returners. Jackson ranks 14th in the country with a 28.07 yards-per-return average, while Hill is 21st at 27.36 yards per return.
THE ARMY-NORTH TEXAS SERIES Army and North Texas have met twice on the gridiron with the Black Knights scoring victories in both contests. Army won on the Mean Green’s home field, 27-10, on Sept. 28, 1996 and scored a 25-14 win at Michie Stadium on Nov. 15, 1997.
The Mean Green is scheduled to visit Michie Stadium on Sept. 18, 2010.
THE LAST MEETING: ARMY 25, NORTH TEXAS 14 (NOV. 15, 1997) WEST POINT, N.Y. — Rod Richardson ran 56 yards for a touchdown and set up another score with a long kickoff return to lead Army over North Texas, 25-14, at West Point. Eric Olsen booted a career-high four field goals, while Kenny Dale Rowland intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble to key hte Army defense. North Texas managed just 259 yards in total offense, including a paltry 20 total yards in the opening half. Army added to its 10-0 lead on its first possession of the second half when Olsen connected from 37 yards out. His kick was set up by a 64-yard kickoff return by Richardson. With the outcome still hanging in the balance late in the third, Richards ignited the Black Knights’ offense by darting untouched on a 56-yard run down the right sideline for his first career rushing touchdown. The score gave Army a 19-7 lead, swinging momentum back in the Cadets’ favor. Another Olsen field goal, this one a 39-yarder, was answered by a two-yard scoring dive by North Texas’ Hut Allred. Olsen added a career-high 40-yard field goal in the closing minutes.
FANTASTIC FINISHES Five of Army’s last eight 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. The Black Knights scored the game-winning points on a 17-yard touchdown run by junior SB Patrick Mealy with 8:58 left in the fourth quarter versus VMI.
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, Temple and Air Force (all in 2009) are the only teams to score two offensive touchdowns in the final period versus the Black Knights in the last 17 outings.
Army has either come from behind or broken a tie in the fourth quarter in five of its last six victories.
THE CURE FOR YELLOW FEVER In the three games since tying the Academy record with 14 penalties in the loss at Temple, the Black Knights have committed only seven penalties. The 14 flags for 100 yards versus Temple tied the Academy record originally set on Oct. 6, 1962 at Michigan. That game in Ann Arbor also resulted in an Army-record 137 penalty yards.
The game at Temple marked the 12th time in Academy history that the Black Knights were penalized at least 100 yards in a game. It was the 23rd time Army was flagged at least 10 times in one game.
Army was penalized 11 times for 82 yards in the season opener at Eastern Michigan. It is the first time since 2002 that the Black Knights have accumulated at least 10 penalties in a game twice in the same season.
Taking away the EMU and Temple games, Army has committed only 29 penalties for 236 yards in the other eight games (3.6 for 29.5 yards).
UP NEXT ... Army has two weeks off before matching up with arch-rival Navy on Dec. 12 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. It is the 110th meeting between the two academies. The game will be broadcast live nationally on CBS beginning at 2:30 p.m.