January 1, 2011

Army-SMU: Ten Game Shaping Plays

The 2010 season was capped off by an exciting win over SMU, as the Army football program continues to make strides in the right direction as they demonstrated in their first bowl appearance since 1996.

As such, GBK selected 10 plays that we believe help shape the outcome of the game, which turned out to be a solid team effort, where the defense force SMU to make untimely turnovers and pay for them along the way.

1.]
When it happened: 13:48 into the 1st quarter and Army's first offensive series.
What happened: On 2nd & 4 at the Army 30, linebacker Zach Watts applies pressure off the edge on quarterback Kyle Padron who attempts to side-step the rush and simply just loses the ball, which is picked up by defensive Josh McNary. The senior defender galloped 55 yards for the game's first touchdown
Why it mattered: It gave the Black Knights early momentum and set the tone for how the defensive would play throughout the contest, especially the first half.

2.]
When it happened: 4th & 4 at the Army 18 yard line with 8:40 remaining in the 2nd quarter.
What happened: SMU moved the ball from their own 29 yard line to the 18 of the Black Knights, but their drives stalls and kicker Matt Szymanski misses on a 35 yard field goal attempt.
Why it mattered: After running 10 plays for 53 yards and using 4:53 off the clock, the Mustangs failed to come away with any points in the red zone. Coming away empty only increased Army's defensive confidence as the score remained at 7-0 in favor of the Black Knights.

3.]
When it happened: Army had 2nd & 10 at their own 20 yard line and 8:36 left in the 1st quarter.
What happened: An outstanding counter play to the right saw slotback Patrick Mealy break off 22 yards.
Why it mattered: Although seven plays later, slotback Malcolm Brown scored on an impressive 13 yard scamper that gave the Black Knights a 13-0 lead, it was Mealy's run that was key to Army's 8 play - 80 yard drive.

4.]
When it happened:1st & 10 at the Army 22 yard line with 2:00 on the clock in the 1st quarter.
What happened: SMU quarterback Kyle Padron takes a three step drop, but middle linebacker Stephen Anderson locks onto the Padron's eyes and steps in front of a pass intended for wide receiver Cole Beasly at the 15 and returned the interception 8 yards to the Black Knights 29 yard line.
Why it mattered: For the second time in the first quarter, the Army defense defuses a SMU drive and keeps their bowl opponent off the score board.

5.]
When it happened:11:50 into the 2nd quarter.
What happened: On 4th & 8 from the SMU 34 yard line, punter Jonathan Bulls gives off a 32 yard punt, that crawls to the Mustangs' two yard line.
Why it mattered: It forced the SMU offense to start their run and shoot offense out of the end zone and although they responded well by connecting on a 39 yard pass on first down … two plays later, cornerback Josh Jackson picked off a Padron pass and returned it to the SMU 30.

6.]
When it happened:At the 2:39 mark of the 2nd quarter and 4th & 11 from the SMU 27 yard line.
What happened: After Army's drive stalls on the SMU 27, Alex Carlton connects on a 44 yard field goal
Why it mattered: Carlton's three pointer gives Army a 16-0 lead that they would take in the locker-room. It was also Carlton's 11th field goal in a row over a six game period.

7.]
When it happened: 2nd quarter and 1:13 remaining on the clock.
What happened:On 4th & 2 at the Army 34 yard line, Padron tries to get the two yards to keep the drive going. However, defensive tackle Mike Gann and linebacker Zach Watts stuff the SMU quarterback for a 1 yard loss.
Why it mattered: Once again the "D" stepped to the challenge and the net result for the first half was they were able to shutout the potent Mustang offense for the first half of the game.

8.]
When it happened: 4:46 left in the game.
What happened: Kicker Matt Szymanski misses his second field goal on the day as he attempted a 47 yarder into the wind
Why it mattered: If Szymanski makes the 3-pointer, if would have given SMU a 17-16 lead with 4:10 remaining and hence putting the ball in the hands of an Army offense that had been ineffective in the second half of the game.

9.]
When it happened: 3:20 remaining in the contest and Army faced with a 3rd & 5 at their own 35 yard line.
What happened: Quaterback Trent Steelman bootlegs to the left and fights his way for 6 yards.
Why it mattered: Steelman's 6 yards allows for Army to receive the all important first down with 2:57 left on the clock.

10.]
When it happened: 1:20 on the clock and 3rd & 4 from the Army 47 yard line.
What happened:Steelman rolls right and drifts a pass that barely makes its way over the outstretched hands of the SMU linebacker. The pass hits wide receiver Davyd Brooks in stride for 22 yards to the Mustangs' 31 yard line.
Why it mattered: SMU has no timeouts left and the Black Knights take a team rush (take a knee) and allow the clock to run out to become the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl Champions.


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