Let us begin today with a couple of wise sayings from coaches—one currently doing excellent work; the other an immortal.
Jeff Monken, Army's football coach, likes to say this before his team faces an opponent most people believe it should beat: “I'm concerned anytime we play, regardless of who we're playing.”
Dean Smith, who won 879 games as North Carolina's basketball coach and is on the sport's coaching Mount Rushmore, liked to remind his players that, “The other team gives scholarships too.” The truth in both Monken's and Smith's words were on display for three long hours Saturday afternoon inside Michie Stadium. Monken's concerns about facing Citadel, a team that runs an option offense almost identical to Army's, were so real that it wasn't until the final seconds finally bled off the clock that he and his players could breathe a deep sigh of relief after escaping with a 14-9 victory. From beginning to end, the Bulldogs made it crystal clear that they had very much earned their scholarships and had made the trip north with every intention of pulling a memorable upset.
“They were great," Monken said when it was over. "Their defense outplayed our offense all day.” Fortunately, the same was true of Army's defense, which allowed Citadel very little room to maneuver. In fact, Citadel's two scoring drives—to a first quarter field goal and a late fourth quarter touchdown—went for 28 yards and two yards. Army won the game because it managed to piece together two touchdown drives: one in the second quarter that was built—remarkably—on three PASS completions; the second in the third quarter that was the only time all day one felt as if it was watching an Army offense: 14 rushes that covered 62 yards and included two converted fourth downs.
Beyond that, Citadel's defense, as Monken pointed out, seemed to be ready for everything the Black Knights threw in its direction. The Bulldogs defense got consistent penetration on play after play. Army was without senior fullback Sandon McCoy, but one might have thought his absence wouldn't make that much difference given that fullback is the team's deepest position. But Jakobi Buchanan, Cade Barnard and Anthony Adkins carried the ball a combined 18 times for just 52 yards. Thirteen of those yards came on a critical run by Buchanan on Army's last run-out-the-clock drive of the game.
In all, the Black Knights ran the ball 50 times for 153 yards, an average of 3.1 yard per carry. This from a team that came into the game averaging 351 yards on the ground for four games for an average of six yards per carry. Read more.