The Spartans that took the field Saturday against the Black (or Golden #SJSUProgram) Knights were not like King Leonidas’ warriors from ancient Greece. Although they met the same fate, the journey to get there was much different. In the preview article I told you there was little reason to believe that San Jose State could win and hinted at the possibility of a repeat of the 2016 UTEP 52 point blow out. Although the 2,946 mile road trip and three hour time change were concerns, the Cadets didn’t let it affect them at all. After a slow first half, the Sons of Slum and Gravy got things rolling, scoring 38 unanswered second half points.
Yes, San Jose State is 0-6, but they actually do have some talent. They managed to keep it close with Oregon and took Hawaii to a five overtime thriller. Most recently against Colorado State they scored 30 straight points in the 3rd quarter to take the lead, becoming one of only two teams to score that many in one quarter of play. Additionally, after games concluded Saturday, Army’s other opponents are a combined 25-8. When knocking your ring at work this weekend, choose to recognize the domination of the Army Team, not the winlessness of our opponent. San Jose State was actually the first team we played that was not undefeated. Our dominating win generated a whole lot of awards to hand out, so let’s get to it!
Kelvin Hopkins Jr. – Training Room Pool Privileges
Say hello to access to the most coveted recovery tool in the training room. Bob Daplyn would rather send players to Arvin than have to pull lifeguard duties for players in the pool. Given that your first quarter injury scared Old Grads more than the Department of PANE scares PH201 students during Mid-Terms, the training staff is prepared to provide you with the latest in aquatic fitness to get you back to health. You’ll also be in a no contact jersey all week.
Mike Reynolds and John Abercrombie – Honorary Pathfinders
Special Teams or transition plays in college football are not mentioned unless they end dramatically. Much like your friend that got a surprise in his envelope on branch night, you wouldn’t be talking about him at the Firstie Club if he got what he was expecting. Likewise, standard or above average transition plays are never given the respect they deserve. Mike Reynolds and John Abercrombie’s execution on Saturday would inspire any special teams coach. Abercrombie nailed a 33 yard field goal, along with 7 extra points, making him arguably the best poaching grab from Sprint Football this decade. I don’t know a team that would be more excited about making a field goal except the Crimson Tide #KickingCurse. Reynolds averaged 17 yards on his two punt returns. This is the equivalent of the pathfinders who set up a drop zone and direct traffic once paratroopers hit the ground. Just like no one thinks about the punt returner until he muffs a punt, nobody ever thinks of the Pathfinders until a night jump. Whether it’s livid direction giving or a well-flung chemlight to the back of an ACH, Pathfinders get the team moving in the direction. John and Mike should wear those golden torches with pride.
Calen Holt – Exemption from the New Army Physical Fitness Test through 2020
Like Samson’s hair, the closer you play to the Islands the stronger you must get. You pulled Kelvin Hopkins Jr. twice in one series in the 3rd quarter for what seemed like an extra 15 yards. The Army new science-based physical fitness test, rebranded in conjunction with Nike as the Army Combat Readiness Test, has more events than your table in the mess hall has condiments. We’ve all complained about the current test, but now after seeing the addition of three events and the fact that they retained the 2 mile run, I am begging to keep current the test in place. One of the new events involves sled drags. You have clearly demonstrated that you can drag your battle buddy and a couple of Spartans Defenders out of harm’s way. In recognition of your abilities, you are hereby dismissed from the ARCT through FY2022.
Army Defense – Bateman’s Bad Boys Turnover Chain
It seems like every week I am handing out a unit award to the defense, but when you generate 4 fumbles in the Spartans’ first four drives of the second half I can’t not give you guys something. Not only did you all generate 4 turnovers in 10 plays from scrimmage, you held the Spartans to only 171 yards of total offense. Bateman’s Bad Boys (that is my new name for you guys for the rest of the season) are now ranked 1st nationally on 4th Down, 9th on 3rd Down, and 23rd nationally in both yards and points allowed game. Almost forgot the mention that “Play on Sunday” Josh Oliver came into the game as the leading pass receiver among Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) tight ends averaging 6.20 receptions a game. Against the Black Knights he only managed to secure two grabs for 19 yards. Because of your outstanding performance I am personally awarding you the Athena Shield Turnover Chain. Here’s the deal, I will actually get one made if Jay Bateman tweets at me (my cadet room phone is out for repair at Gold Coats). Yeah it’s not going to cost $100K like Miami’s, but it will sure beat Florida State’s Backpack or 2017 Tennessee’s Trash Can from Lowe’s. Maybe we can even get Tosa Brooks to remake the Turnover Chain Song by Solo D for the Air Force game.
James “Hammersticks” Nachtigal – IOCT Tab
Not only did you score your first collegiate touchdown while earning the turnover chain, you had 8 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery. When you picked up the loose ball and dashed 52 yards down the sideline, it looked like you were tight roping the balance beam. Not only did you make up across without falling, you nailed the dismount by finding the endzone with finishing speed. The “Hayes Lung” didn’t slow you down on your final lap after tossing the batan in the empty laundry bin. This tab should be proudly be worn on your Gym A shorts. Also, we will see if Determan can get one to match the ranger tabs on your helmet.
San Jose State Offensive Line – Army Hearing Conservation Test
It is great when we get to give out superlatives to our opponents. In recent history we have given awards to several opponent kickers, but anyone that helps the Army team deserves a superlative. Early in the first quarter Lineman Downfield penalties negated what would have been two first and goal opportunities. These blunders set the tone for how the rest of the game would go. Since you guys need some help following instructions we’re going to set you up with the hardest and most frustrating test in the Army. Make sure to hold your breath and DO NOT PRESS THE BUTTON WHEN THERE ISN’T A TONE.
#78 Deano Motes – Military Movement High Zero
I give recognition where recognition is due. Your attempt to lure Elijah Riley into a block in the back during Hammersticks touchdown was clever, but come on…these aren’t your average Mountain West Conference opponents. These are Cadets your playing! The best and brightest scholar-athletes in the country.
The Military Movement Instructors of PE117 in conjunction with Saturday’s officiating crew are giving you a “High Zero” on that dive roll. Keep your knees together…I’ve attached the official Department of Physical Education instruction video for your reference. If you can’t pass the class, I heard Ole Miss is looking for some good actors…
Honorable Mentions – Kell Walker and Cam Thomas
Guys look, I barely passed EN102. Not only am I a terrible writer, but I have to save some jokes for the rest of the season. With that being said, Kell your #Hurdle of a Spartan defender got me out of my chair. You are one of the most electric (not a term that is often associated with triple option teams) players to come through the Academy in quite some time. Cam your performance gave me confidence in not only our depth, but also in the future of the Army Football Brotherhood. Your 74 rushing yards also pushed us above our rushing average and helped us overtake Navy for the second spot nationally.
Left on the schedule we have a pair of MAC teams, Air Force, and two FCS foes (Colgate looks good so far this season out scoring their opponents 160-23) before America’s Game against the Squids. Like I said in the Buffalo Superlatives Article, if we find ourselves undefeated prior to Navy, we should be ranked. In 2017, we entered the Army-Navy game with an 8-3 record and loss the week before. Unlike last year, we have the opportunity to be 9-2, with both loses against potential Top 25 teams and our most recent loss coming in week 4. Ultimately, the late season loss last year against North Texas kept us from getting into the polls following the victories over Navy and San Diego State. As a special fall out privilege for As For Football readers the 2013 Army Football Team Captain and once the most handsome face in the Corps, Thomas Holloway gives you his takeaways from the San Jose State Game and where he sees the team heading for the rest of the season.
Thomas Holloway’s Takeaway:
The biggest “takeaway” from our beloved Black Knights’ 52-3 annihilation of the Spartans was the takeaway battle itself. The Army Defense had 3 fumble recovery in San Jose State’s first 5 of their plays in the second half. This turnover domination has to be a landmark in Army football history, and has mentioning potential during the Corps’ upcoming graduation week next spring. I can hear it now… “The First Class is so short that they have fewer days until graduation than San Jose State had fumbles against us last season.” Perhaps the amount of points San Jose State scored would be a more appreciated statistic for a “First Class is so Short” joke. As a defensive fan by nature, I could not help but grin, play after play, as the Army Defense created rapid turnovers that led to a combined 24 unanswered points. From the very first play, where San Jose State failed in their pass attempt to pick on our cornerbacks, to the end, I was so proud that our boys held them to nothing but a measly field goal.
Let me not forget to acknowledge the offense for an outstanding and dominating performance. The Army Offense was in complete control of the pace of the game, and devoured time from the clock like a Slug devours food from Grant Hall after missing lunch on account of Cow Drowning. The versatility of Army’s backfield never ceases to amaze, and the triple option looked unstoppable. The Offensive Line dissected hole after hole, and by the 4th quarter, the Spartans looked like they wanted to pack up and go home early. Nice work again, Bryce Holland and crew. A special shout-out goes to QB #8 Kelvin Hopkins, who was more elusive against San Jose State than a “Corps Squader” during Plebe Duties. By that, I mean that he was responsible for 3 rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown. As an old Grad, I’m still trying to get used to a reliable passing game, but I love it. Congratulations Kelvin, and make sure that you take those big boys in front of you out for a nice dinner.
Beat Miami-Ohio. Rest.