For the third time this season, Army was able to steal defeat from the jaws of victory.
Army has not been a good fourth quarter team this year, and they proved it again Saturday. Bad penalties have also become a disturbing trend for this team.
Army opened the day’s scoring with 2:45 remaining in the first quarter on a 3-yard Trent Steelman touchdown run, part of another big performance from the sophomore quarterback.
San San Te responded for Rutgers, hitting a 19-yard field goal to pull the Scarlet Knights within 7-3.
Jared Hassin scored from 5 yards out with 8:02 left in the half to give Army a 14-3 lead. The Black Knights went into the locker room with a 17-3 lead after Alex Carlton made a 21-yard field goal as the half expired.
A scoreless third quarter meant Army brought a two-touchdown lead into the final period, and Rutgers facing a fourth and 2 at the Army 3-yard line.
Rutgers freshman quarterback Chas Dodd found Kordell Young for the first Rutgers touchdown of the day, cutting the Army lead to 17-10.
After an Army punt pinned Rutgers at their own 7, the Scarlet Knights embarked on an eight-play, 93-yard drive that tied the game. The drive was capped by Dodd’s second touchdown pass, this one a 16-yard completion to Mark Harrison with 5:16 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Rutgers’ two regulation scoring drives were aided by 55 yards in Army penalties, including two personal fouls.
The Army offense was held to a field goal on its overtime possession, relying on the defense to make a big stop.
Six plays later Joe Martinek scored from 1 yard out to clinch a come-from-behind Rutgers win.
What Went Right: Individual performances. I will cover the stats when I get to the player of the game segment, but Josh McNary, Steelman and Hassin deserve to be highlighted for their performances. The Army defense registered seven sacks, led by McNary.
What Went Wrong: Another second-half collapse/bad penalties. This loss and the loss against Temple are tough to swallow after relinquishing two-score leads in each game. Factor in the fumble on a play to set up the go-ahead field goal attempt against Hawaii, and the three Army losses this season really sting. To make matters worse, penalties have played a major role in the losses, especially against Hawaii and Rutgers. The personal foul penalties are unacceptable and very uncharacteristic. You cannot expect to give a team 40 yards in penalties on one drive and keep them out of the end zone.
Player of the Game: Three Army players get the award this week: QB Trent Steelman, FB Jared Hassin, DE Josh McNary. Steelman threw for 115 yards and rushed 102 yards and a touchdown. Hassin ran for 118 yards averaging 7.4 yards per carry, including a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 30 yards. Josh McNary continues to establish himself as one of the best defensive ends in college football, with 2.5 sacks and five total tackles.
Final Word: Army was the better team Saturday. After a while, it becomes tiresome seeing the improvement in the team on the field, but not on the record. A bad loss and with the bye week Rich Ellerson and his staff will need to clean some things up to make a run at eight wins. The Black Knights should be able to get back on track against VMI before heading into some tough games to finish the season. I still stand by my eight-win prediction; I am just a bit disappointed because this team could easily be 7-0.
About the Author
Written by Donald Lappe
Senior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Double Major in Media & Society and United States History. Also writing for TapouT Magazine and MMA Worldwide Magazine.