The Black Knights fell to the Troy Trojans last night, 10-9, following a truly solid performance on both offense and defense that was somehow still marred by the same kinds of mistakes we’ve seen all season. These culminated with a missed 41-yard field goal that would have given Army the win, but there were tons of missed opportunities that led to that one decisive point.
Final: Troy 10, Army 9— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) November 12, 2022
The irony is that Army ran the ball really well all night, and they played good defense, too. The Black Knights ran for 275 yards on 4.4 yards/carry, earned every bit of 20 first downs. They held the ball for 24 minutes in the first half alone and 37 minutes total. They even threw for 82 yards. Truth is, Troy didn’t do much to stop Army for the most part; Army mistakes stopped Army. They fumbled twice and hurt themselves with a couple of really crucial penalties at critical moments. The first fumble happened on maybe the Troy 3-yard-line as Army was looking to take an early lead in a game that quickly got lopsided in every way but on the scoreboard. The second fumble came immediately after Army got a turnover of its own, killing yet another chance to take a more-commanding lead than the 9-0 advantage the Black Knights actually took into the locker room.
In what’s become an alarming trend, those 9 first half points were Army’s only points of the entire game. The Black Knights rushed for 175 yards on 5+ yards/carry in the first half but couldn’t hold momentum down the stretch. They wound up punting 5 times, and though it took the Trojans a good long while, Troy eventually fought their way back into the game.
When they finally took the lead, those same Trojans made it stick.
Tyler had a productive first half for the Black Knights.— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) November 12, 2022
◾️ 106 rushing yards
◾️ 5 yards per rush#GoArmy pic.twitter.com/hiM3vMvEFx
Troy finished with just 264 yards of total offense, earned almost entirely in the second half. But they’ve been an excellent second half team all season, and indeed, they’ve come back to win games in the 4th quarter so many times this year that it must have seemed like old hat on their sideline. Certainly, we never saw anything like panic.
Army had every chance in this one, but somehow that same late-game magic has consistently eluded this team, even when they’re playing relatively well. The Hell of it is that we knew the Black Knights would have to play clean to win. They came into this game as heavy road underdogs. That’s not ever an easy situation. Their effort and determination gave them every chance, too, but a costly chop-block penalty, an intentional grounding call, a successful Troy run-blitz to the Army mesh point on a 3rd-and-short, and two fumbles ultimately killed them.
This team is never more than a handful of plays away from either glory or disaster. This year, their margin for error has been even thinner than usual, and the team — for better and worse — hasn’t often been able to come up with 100% of the plays they need to get a victory. In this particular game, they came up with maybe 95% of those plays, but that wasn’t quite enough.
This team just doesn’t seem able to put anyone away after halftime. Once these defenses have gotten a good look at what Army’s trying to do, the better ones are all making the right adjustments and shutting the offense down after the break. One of the guys in AFF’s Firstie Club asked if maybe that’s a team-wide conditioning issue since it’s been such a consistent problem. That’s a fair question at this point.
Army crashes the right side and Tyler takes advantage for his 7th TD of the year! #GoArmy pic.twitter.com/QqpDOcBYSz— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) November 12, 2022
Here Comes UConn
UConn beat Liberty yesterday to get to 6-5. The Huskies are now bowl eligible for the first time in a very long time. They have a talented team with a terrific defense and a lot of great athletes, but they’re also young, undisciplined, and as apt to beat themselves as the Black Knights have been this season.
How that plays out at Michie Stadium this coming Saturday is anyone’s guess, but I feel good in saying that the Huskies probably remember some of the beatings that Army has handed them in the not-too-distant past. They’ll be coming hard, and they’ve already beaten several notable teams, including Mountain West-leading Fresno State, Boston College out of the ACC, and yes, Liberty, who’s 8-2 and came into the game ranked #19 in the nation.
This is a win for the ages! @UConnFootball whups up on 19th ranked Liberty to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2015. You gotta believe!— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) November 12, 2022
UConn stunned the college football world after pulling off an epic upset of No. 19 Liberty to officially clinch bowl eligibility for the first time in seven years https://t.co/LjOaaEpXhL— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 12, 2022
Navy, too, has got to be waiting eagerly after watching the Black Knights implode two weeks in a row. It’s been several years now since Army’s offense has looked good in a service academy rivalry game, and this particular year, the Mids’ defense has been absolutely outstanding against the run. Hell, even their offense is improving.
So. I’ll be in the stands this weekend cheering on the team. I would very much like to see these guys reset themselves and get better heading into the most important game of the season. They have the tools — they’ve had them all season — but they’ve got to get better in the back halves of these games.
Hope springs eternal, friends.
Through all the hardship there has always been one guy that stays until the very end of EVERY GAME.— UConn Football (@UConnFootball) November 12, 2022
Thank you Dale Nosel, the BEST fan in college football! This one is for you!#HuskyRevolution pic.twitter.com/3nn8Hu02gj
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