September 26, 2010

Army vs Duke: Ten Game Shaping Plays

The Black Knights put on a display both offensively and defensively as they controlled the Duke Blue Devils from the opening series of the game and came away with a 35-21 victory on Saturday afternoon. The game was largely dominated by big defensive plays that resulted in four turnovers that netted 28 points for Army.

When it happened: 14:00 left in the first quarter on the first series of the game
What happened: With Duke facing a 3rd and 4 at their own 23-yard line, middle linebacker Stephen Anderson reads quarterback Sean Renfree’s eyes and registered his first interception of the year and returns it to the Duke's three yard line.
Why it mattered: After winning the opening coin toss and deferring, it allowed Army to jump out to an early lead, but also set the tone for the defense, who kept Renfree at bay for the majority of the game.

2.] When it happened: With 8:23 remaining in the 1st quarter.
What happened: Brian Cobbs 15 yard touchdown was nullified because of a holding call, which was followed by Alex Carlton’s field goal attempt being blocked. But Army came right back after a Donnie Dixon interception that was returned inside Duke’s five yard line. With 5:37 on the clock, quarterback Trent Steelman scored on a sneak on a 2nd and goal.
Why it mattered: Once again it showed the Black Knights’ fortitude that started and was demonstrated in their come from behind �" last 2:00 winning drive against Eastern Michigan in the opening game of the season. Adversity does not cause this team to fold.

3.] When it happened: 11:27 left in the 2nd quarter.
What happened: On a 2nd and 8, Marcus Hilton sacked Renfree causing a 3rd and 12.
Why it mattered: This was a drive that the Blue Devils needed to develop some “Mo”, but they eventually punted and on the ensuing series, Army marched down the field on a drive that ended with Cobbs’ second TD on the day.

4.] When it happened: 12:43 left in the 3rd quarter.
What happened: Duke had stopped Army on its first series of the 2nd half and had the ball on their own 28 yard line with 2nd and 15. And on the play and at least seven Army defenders around the receiver, the Black Knights force and recover a fumble.
Why it mattered: The momentum that could have been was extinguished immediately. And on 1st & 10, from the Duke 34 yard line, Steelman his slotback Raymond Maples up the sideline for an Army touchdown, which put the Black Knights up 21-7.

5.] When it happened: 15 seconds left in the the half
What happened: On a second and seven from the 12, Virginia Tech calls timeout, but the whistle isn't heard and Steven Friday hits Dave Shinskie and is called for a late hit giving Boston College a first and six at the six.
Why it mattered: The penalties rack up for the Hokies as all the momentum is going towards Boston College setting them up with a chance to get on the board before the half.

6.] When it happened: 11:00 mark in the 3rd quarter.
What happened: The defensive pressure is become more pressurized and law firm of McNary, Mackey and Hilton begin to lay down the verdict. Now with 9:57 showing, pressure from Jarrett Mackey, force fumble by Anderson and recovered by [db]Josh McNary gives the ball back to the offense at Army’s 53 yard line.
Why it mattered: At this point, the body language of both Duke’s players and coaching staff tell the story and it’s a story of not being able to have an answer defensively or offensively against the Black Knights. It was also a coming out game for [db]Marcus Hilton, and hopefully a reflection of things to come for the senior defensive end.

7.] When it happened: 8:35 remaining in the 3rd quarter.
What happened: After the recovered fumble and making two first downs, Army has the ball 1st & 10 from Duke’s 31yard line. A great play action fake by Steelman allows for a wide open [db]Austin Barr, who pulls in his first touchdown reception of the season and a 35-7 Army lead.
Why it mattered: It not increased Army’s lead, but Steelman’s confidence in his passing game. It also gives the offensive coordinators of other teams, especially Temple who will be visiting on Saturday, just another weapon in the Black Knights’ arsenal to be concerned about. More specifically, it does not allow for defenses to play seven in the box.

8.] When it happened: Entire game
What happened: Maples and [db]Jonathan Crucitti step in for Patrick Mealy
Why it mattered: Not only do the two freshmen backs continue to become real game battle tested, but it allows for Mealy to mend and rehab with the hope that he will be ready for Temple on Saturday.

9.] When it happened: 7:00 left in the third quarter
What happened: Once again with a third and five, Dave Shinskie makes a mistake throwing an out route late and being intercepted by Jeron Gouveia-Winslow at the Eagles 31.
Why it mattered: The defense set up the big mistake with a near interception the play before and rattling of Shinskie. The play gives Tech great field position once again and sees them take advantage with yet another field goal by Hazley from 29-yards to put it up 16-0.

10.] When it happened: 6:58 left in the game
What happened: With a second and 18 at the Tech 21, Tyrod Taylor finds Dyrell Roberts in the zone for a 24-yard pickup.
Why it mattered: The Hokies effectively move the ball down the field predominately on the legs of David Wilson and Darren Evans to roll off the clock before setting up a fourth second half field goal with 3:52 to go from Hazley, this time from 32-yards to seal up the victory.

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