Sunday, October 23, 2016

Quick Thoughts: Army vs. North Texas

I thought Army was going to go into Michie Stadium yesterday and win a close game in tough conditions.  That's the second time I've thought that, only to watch them lay an egg.  The team ran pretty well early, but QB Ahmad Bradshaw was off target with his passes for the first three quarters of the game, giving up a pick-6 on a very high pass that his receiver tipped to a North Texas DB.  The defense played well enough to keep the team in the game for a half, but we still headed into the break down by four.

Selfie on the walk up to Michie Stadium.  I left my daughter Emma at home
because of the weather forecast.  It was chilly, but we didn't get much rain.
Took this shot about an hour before the game.  Weather was windy, but
we never had more than a light drizzle.
The team fell apart in the second half.  North Texas started running the ball, and then the wheels came off.  Army went down 28-10 in the third quarter, but then Bradshaw--finally--engineered a decent drive, closing the lead to 28-16 just after the start of the 4th quarter.  Following a successful 2-point conversion, Army was down by 10 with something like fourteen minutes left to play.

Army's defense held on the next possession, forcing North Texas to try a second long field goal going into the wind.  They missed, their second missed field goal of the game, and then Bradshaw threw his best pass of the day to TE Dalton Mendenhall, who rumbled to the North Texas ten yard line.

The "Long Grey" uniforms got mixed reviews in the stands.
The Rabble Rousers, trying to rouse Section 16.
I thought the crowd was pretty goo, all things considered.
A kickoff.
I'll give North Texas' coaching staff credit.  They noticed that Army plays loose with the football and started telling their defensive players to go for the strip after contact.  You see this a lot from the New York Giants' defense.  The first tackler hits the ball-carrier to stop forward motion, and the next guy then goes for the strip before trying to put the guy on the ground.  We saw this several times yesterday.  Army players would get stopped, but they wouldn't go down, and then they'd get stripped, fumbling the football.  Mendenhall put the ball on the turf in exactly this way here, killing Army's chances permanently.

Important rule of thumb for ball-carriers in football: Know when the journey is over and get down.  Watching all those fumbles yesterday was maddening, especially because they all happened essentially after the play was over.

In the end, Army gave up fully 7 turnovers and 160 yards of rushing.  Despite leading time-of-possession by almost fifteen minutes and 76 more yards of offense, the Black Knights got blown out in their own building.  That's unbelievable.  This was a game that Army should have dominated based on the statistics, but they got destroyed instead, entirely because they were just too sloppy.  Bradshaw went 7-21 passing with 4 interceptions, and the Black Knights lost 3 fumbles.  That's totally inexcusable.

Can someone please tell me where Chris Carter was while Bradshaw was going 7-21 passing?  Based on the fact that it took him almost three quarters to start throwing decent balls, I have to say that Bradshaw is WAY too emotional when he plays.  He was erratic out there, and it cost the team.  If he was my athlete, I would tell him to spend more time warming up--at least another twenty minutes--and to do some freaking yoga.  Dude badly needs to get his shit under control before the start of games, or this team is going nowhere.

Yoga helps, Ahmad, trust me.  Twenty minutes or so per day.  Disconnect your emotions from your physical performance, and even though you'll feel flat, you'll play much, much more consistently.

I am deeply afraid now that yesterday's failure is going to cost Army a bowl bid.  Army has to travel to Wake Forest next to take on a very good Demon Deacons team.  The Black Knights have shown no signs of being able to win close games, and honestly, I'll be amazed if they don't blasted on the road next week.

By the way, can somebody out there tell me what the score was from Friday's swim meet against Yale?  I actually care about that more than the football game.  Thanks.

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