WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team will lift the lid on its 2010 home slate Saturday afternoon when the Black Knights entertain Hawai'i at Michie Stadium. Kickoff is set for noon.
The game will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports Network with Dave Ryan (play by play), Jason Sehorn (color analyst) and Cadet Andy Nicholas (sideline reporter) calling the action. A live video stream of the game will be available via CBS College Sports XXL (www.cbssports.com).
The Army Sports Network will have the audio call of the game on its flagship station WABC (770-AM), as well as WALL (1340-AM) and WEOK (1390-AM), Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 152) and ITT Knight Vision. Rich DeMarco (play by play), Dean Darling (color analyst) and Tony Morino (sideline reporter) will cover the game on the Army Sports Network.
Army head coach Rich Ellerson, a 1977 alumnus of the University of Hawai'i, is in his second season guiding the Black Knights. He began this year by directing Army to a 31-27 come-from-behind victory over Eastern Michigan last Saturday night. Ellerson currently shows a 6-7 career record at West Point after leading Army to its best record since 1996 last season (5-7).
Hawai'i enters Saturday's contest fresh off a 49-36 setback to Southern California last Friday evening in its season-opening game. The Warriors are coached by Greg McMackin, who is in his third season leading the Hawai'i program. He has authored a 13-15 mark since taking over the reins.
Army and Hawai'i have met on the gridiron just once previously, with the Warriors securing a 59-28 victory during the 2003 season in Honolulu, Hawai'i.
The Black Knights will look to their dominant ground game to carry the weight offensively on Saturday. Army piled up 309 yards rushing last week versus Eastern Michigan, with four different players gaining at least 60 yards. Senior slotback Patrick Mealy led the charge, carrying the ball 14 times for 81 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore fullback Jared Hassin turned in a productive day last week as well, rushing 12 times for 68 yards and three scores.
Sophomore quarterback Trent Steelman was efficient throughout last week's game, rushing for 35 yards and throwing for another 65. He led the team 72 yards in eight plays for the game-winning TD with just 38 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
Steelman, who started all 12 games for Army a year ago, will be making his 14th career start on Saturday. The Black Knights' signal caller paced the team last year in both rushing and passing yards, and he has continued to improve in his second season, according to Ellerson.
"I think Trent was solid last week, but has some even better football in him," said Ellerson. "He played a good game (versus Eastern Michigan), but he is throwing the ball better than that (in practice). He missed a couple of throws; frankly, he's been making those throws. We're spoiled a little bit though; we have high expectations. He was good, but not great."
Three of Steelman's five completions went to sophomore wide receiver George Jordan, who finished with 34 yards. Although the passing offense is not Army's offensive staple, Steelman is proving himself quite capable when he drops back to throw.
Army's triple option offense completed last season ranked 16th nationally in rushing offense, posting 203.6 rushing yards per game.
Hawai'i, which put up 588 yards of total offense last Friday night against Southern California, is Army's polar opposite on the offensive side of the ball as the Warriors do most of their damage via their high-flying passing game. Over the last 11 seasons, the Hawai'i passing offense has ranked within the nation's top 20 nine times.
Junior quarterback Bryant Moniz saw the bulk of the playing time in the shotgun formation versus USC, completing 18-of-36 passes for 269 yards and one touchdown. Not to be outdone, junior quarterback Shane Austin came in off the bench and hit no 6-of-9 pass attempts for 141 yards and two scores.
Three different Hawai'i wide receivers topped the 100-yard plateau, led by senior Kealoha Pilares. The third-year player caught five passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns against the Trojans last weekend. All three of his scoring receptions went for at least 30 yards. Senior Greg Salas (eight receptions for 124 yards) and junior Royce Pollard (seven catches for 106 yards) also posted outstanding games last week. Salas enters Saturday's contest at Army having caught at least one pass in 28 straight games.
Senior running back Alex Green paced the Warriors on the ground, rushing for 66 yards and a touchdown.
The Army defense stood tall against the pass last week at Eastern Michigan, yielding just 31 yards through the air. The Black Knights were victimized on the ground, however, giving up 285 rushing yards. Army was able to force three turnovers, though, intercepting one pass and recovering two fumbles.
Senior linebacker Stephen Anderson made a team-high 10 tackles and forced a fumble last week at Eastern Michigan, and he is poised for a breakout 2010 campaign after returning from a knee injury. Senior defensive end Josh McNary, who was named to the preseason watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Lombardi Trophy and the Lott Trophy, lived up to the billing last week by posting eight tackles. McNary, who finished last season with 12.5 sacks, owns an Academy record 18 career quarterback takedowns.
Senior safety Donovan Travis, who led the Army secondary with four interceptions in 2009, picked off a pass last week at EMU. He also chipped in one tackle and one pass breakup.
Overall, Ellerson was concerned with the play of his team's defense.
"I'm more concerned with our defense (than our offense after last week). Obviously, we did not play as well on defense and part of that is on me. I think we tried to maybe do a little bit too much coming out of the gate. We think of ourselves as an attacking defense; we want to be in on the edge. To do that, we need to be absolutely confident on where to line up and where to put our eyes and what's expected of us. And, we were on our heels (against Eastern Michigan). I'm concerned about getting those guys playing as opposed to thinking."
Hawai'i had trouble containing both the run and the pass versus Southern California last weekend as the Trojans gained 246 yards on the ground and 278 yards through the air. Mana Silva led the Warriors' defensive effort with a game-high 10 stops and a fumble recovery.
Army will play its second consecutive home game next week when the Black Knights host North Texas on Saturday, Sept. 18. The game has been designated "Hall of Fame Weekend" and the 2010 inductees into the Army Sports Hall of Fame will be honored throughout the day. Kickoff at Michie Stadium is set for noon and CBS College Sports Network will carry the game.
Full season, mini-plan and single-game tickets for all Army home contests are currently on sale at the Army Ticket Office, by phone at 1-877-TIX-ARMY or online at www.goARMYsports.com. Full season ticket packages in a special section dubbed "Coach E's Army," begin at just $99 for lower-deck seating locations in Michie Stadium. Fans who purchase tickets in that section will receive a special "Coach E's Army" T-shirt. A limited number of tickets remain available to Army's game against Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium. In order to purchase Army-Notre Dame tickets, fans must hold membership in the Army "A" Club and purchase 2010 Army football season tickets.