Army pulled off a thriller of a Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl win over Rashaad Penny and San Diego State. Here are five things that matter.
2017 Armed Forces Bowl: Army 42, San Diego State 35
5. OF COURSE you go for two
Army went for it all game long.
It might not have always worked out quite right, and the fake field goal didn’t fly, but the Black Knights went for it four times on fourth down – converting two of them – and after a brilliant late march to pull within one, it unleashed an equally fantastic call to get the two-point conversion and, effective, the win.
This was a fearless brand of football with the attitude that proved that San Diego State just couldn’t stop what was coming. It was brilliant.
4. This is on Rocky Long and the Aztec coaching staff
Okay, it’s on Army and its ability to do everything it wanted to do offensively, but if you’re Rocky Long, and you have an amazing defense with almost a month to prepare for what’s coming, how do you not sniff this out better?
Yeah, Army is a machine with its speed option attack, but converting 13-of-18 third down plays and holding the ball for 46 minutes isn’t okay. The Black Knights executed perfectly, and it didn’t help that the SDSU offense scored so quickly, but there weren’t any answers.
All this amazing D had to do was come up with just one stop against a team that can’t throw the ball a lick. All it had to do was get off the field once in a while. All it had to do was tackle a wee bit better, and …
It’s easier said than done.
3. Army being Army
The defense wasn’t even close, and the special teams left a lot to be desired, but everything everything else about Army worked to perfection.
Again, 46 minutes with the ball and third down conversion after third down conversion. 446 yards of total offense – six of them coming through the air – with just one turnover and a mere four penalties.
There was never any panic. There was never any concern. Army ran its O exactly the way it wanted to run its O, helped by …
2. Army was more physical
If Army was going to win this game, it was going to be with its quickness on the outside, and its execution to get things moving in space. And in the end, that turned out to be true, with QB Ahmad Bradshaw running 32 times for 180 yards and two scores, and Darnell Woolfolk running 21 times for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
But it was the power of Andy Davidson that set the tone.
Army beat up a physical, nasty defense, with Davidson – the fullback – pounding out 81 tough yards and a score. That, more than anything else, showed that the Aztecs didn’t have it. Its defense didn’t have a chance. And neither did the Army D against …
1. Rashaad Penny
14 carries, 221 yards, four touchdowns.
His biggest problem was that he was too good and scored too quickly. The Aztecs had scoring drives of 1:22, 2:21, 1:52 and 3:38. He was the best player on the field, and he was the one who almost pulled this game off and saved the defense’s bacon.
All he and the San Diego State offense needed was about one more minute to go on one final drive, but he didn’t get it.
2,248 rushing yards on the season will have to do.