WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army will try to win back-to-back games for the first time this season when it travels to Ames, Iowa to take on the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Saturday's game will not be televised
Army Sports Network
Flagship: WABC (770-AM, New York, N.Y.)
Affiliates: WALL (1340-AM, Middletown, N.Y.); WEOK (1390-AM, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.)
Play-by-Play: John Minko
Color Analyst: Dean Darling
Sideline: Rich DeMarco
Program Host: Bob Outer
The 90-minute “Army Football Tailgate Show,” hosted by Rich DeMarco and Bob Outer begins at 5 p.m. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The Army Sports Network game broadcast will be carried via Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 121) beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
A live video stream of Saturday’s game will be available on ITT Knight Vision at www.goARMYsports.com. The feed will be the images utilized on the video board at Jack Trice Stadium, not a television broadcast. The stream will also include the Iowa State radio announcers as audio. Sign up now and catch all of the action.
The entire Army Sports Network audio broadcast, including the “Army Football Tailgate Show,” will be streamed live via ITT Knight Vision on www.goARMYsports.com each week. Subscription fees apply.
On Tuesdays of game weeks, Rich Ellerson’s weekly press conference will be video streamed live on ITT Knight Vision. Thursday’s “This Week in Army Football,” show will also be video streamed live. Both events are available only to ITT Knight Vision subscribers.
COACHING MATCH UP
ARMY HEAD COACH RICH ELLERSON
Alma Mater: Hawai’i, 1977
1st Season at Army (2-1, .667)
10th Season Overall (62-42, .596)
Record vs. Iowa State: 0-0
IOWA STATE COACH PAUL RHOADS
Alma Mater: Missouri Western, 1989
1st Season at ISU (2-1, .667)
1st Season Overall (2-1, .667)
Record vs. Army: 0-0
The Black Knights are coming off a 24-17 victory over Ball State at Michie Stadium. Junior FS Donovan Travis broke a 17-17 tie with an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown with less than seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. It was Travis’ second pick of the game and one of four Army interceptions in the contest. Senior CB Mario Hill and sophomore LB Andrew Rodriguez each recorded their first career interceptions.
The Black Knights rushed for a season-low 207 yards, but came up with several big plays through the passing game. Freshman QB Trent Steelman threw for a career-high 58 yards, including his first career scoring toss. His favorite target was senior WR Alejandro Villanueva. The 6-10 converted lineman made both his catches on Army’s 53-yard scoring drive that gave them a 17-10 lead just before halftime. His juggling reception for a 22-yard gain on 3rd-and-20, set up his 24-yard touchdown catch.
Villanueva has now caught a touchdown in each of the last two games. He is the first Army player to make a scoring grab in consecutive games since Jeremy Trimble had one in four straight contests from Sept. 29-Oct. 20, 2007. Villanueva’s two touchdown receptions are already more than any player on the Black Knights’ roster in 2008.
The Army defense allowed a season-high 375 yards to Ball State, but limited the Cardinals to only 17 points. The Black Knights’ stop unit has allowed only 52 points through three games (17.3 ppg), not counting Duke’s 14 points scored on interception returns. Of the seven touchdowns, opposing offenses have scored this season, two have come after an Army turnover gave them possession inside the Black Knights’ 20-yard line. The Army defense has allowed an opponent to drive more than 60 yards for a touchdown just three times this season. Army ranks 25th in the nation in total defense (278.00 yds./game), 16th in rushing defense (77.00 yds./game) and 57th in scoring defense (22.00 pts./game).
Both defense’s on Saturday will have to focus on stopping the run. Army’s 257.67 rushing yards per game ranks as the seventh-best average in the nation. The Black Knights’ rushing attack accounts for 80.7 percent of their total offense (778 rush yds./ 958 total yds.). The Cyclones also average more than 200 yards rushing per game. Their 209.33 yards per game on the ground ranks 23rd in the nation. However, Iowa State has been more balanced on offense than the Black Knights. The Cyclones’ ground game accounts for 54.7 percent of its offense (628 rush yds./1,149 total yds.). Iowa State’s Alexander Robinson is among the nation’s top 20 rushers, averaging 108.67 per game, while Army boasts four players averaging at least 44.0 yards per game, led by junior SB Patrick Mealy’s 78.7 yards per game.
SCOUTING THE CYCLONES
Iowa State is in its first year under head coach Paul Rhoads. Rhoads, who was born just 10 minutes from Jack Trice Stadium in Nevada, Iowa, came to Ames after serving as defensive coordinator at Auburn for one season. Prior to his tenure with the Tigers, Rhoads was the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh for eight seasons. He also served as an assistant for the Cyclones from 1995-99.
The Cyclones are 2-1 this season, matching their win total from the 2008 campaign. Iowa State’s 34-17 win against North Dakota State in the season opener snapped a 10-game losing streak. Their 34-14 win at Kent State last Saturday ended both an 11-game skid versus Football Bowl Subdivision squads and a 17-game road losing streak. Iowa State’s lone loss on the season was a 35-3 defeat at the hands of arch-rival Iowa.
Iowa State trailed the Golden Flashes early on, 7-3, but scored 31 unanswered points to come back and secure the victory. The Cyclones outgained Kent State, 404-302, including a 234-47 advantage on the ground. Alexander Robinson led the team with 143 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, while quarterback Austen Arnaud guided the Cyclones’ spread attack with 13 completions in 21 passing attempts for 144 yards and a score. He also ran for 42 yards and two touchdowns on nine rushes. Jake Williams caught four passes for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Offensively, the Cyclones are averaging 383.0 yards and 23.67 points per game. They boast the nation’s 23rd-ranked rushing offense with 209.33 yards per game, while also averaging 173.67 yards per contest through the air. Turnovers have been a bit of a problem through three games. Iowa State has thrown six interceptions and lost six fumbles. Five of the picks game at the hands of the Hawkeyes, however, the Cyclones have lost at least one fumble in all three games, including three versus Kent State. Robinson is among the nation’s leading rushers, ranking tied for 15th with 108.67 yards per game. He also has two rushing scores. Arnaud is second on the team with 176 rushing yards, but leads the Cyclones with three touchdowns on the ground. In the passing game, Arnaud is 39 for 71 with 450 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. Jeremy Tiller has played in all three games, going 7 for 18 through the air for 71 yards and two interceptions. Darius Reynolds leads the team with 13 receptions, while Marquis Hamilton has 11 catches for 190 yards and two scores.
The Cyclones’ stop unit is allowing 372.00 yards and 22.00 points per game. Opponents are rushing for an average of 149.33 yards and throwing for 222.67 yards per contest. Jesse Smith leads the team with 24 tackles, while David Sims has 23 stops and a team-high three interceptions. Josh Raven paces the Cyclones with 5.5 tackles for loss, including 2.0 sacks. Rashawn Parker has also brought down the quarterback twice.
Grant Mahoney is 5 for 6 on field goal tries with a long of 50 yards. Mike Brandtner is 30th in the nation in punting, averaging 42.69 yards per boot.
THE ARMY-IOWA STATE SERIES
The Black Knights and Cyclones have met twice before on the gridiron with each team earning one victory. Army took the series opener in 1964, 9-7, while Iowa State returned the favor in 2005, 28-21. Both those contests were played at Michie Stadium. The Black Knights are making their first trop to Ames.
ARMY AGAINST THE BIG 12 CONFERENCE
Iowa State is the only Big 12 team on this year’s docket for the Black Knights. The last time Army took on an opponent from the Big 12 was a 21-17 loss at Texas A&M last season.
Since the Big 12 was formed in 1996, Army is 1-4 versus league members. The Black Knights defeated Baylor, 27-20 in overtime, on the road during the 2006 season. Army has lost once to Baylor (2005), once to Iowa State (2005) and twice to Texas A&M (2006, 2008).
The Black Knights have faced 11 of the teams in the Big 12 at least once in their history. The only team that currently comprises the league that Army has not played is Texas Tech.
Army is 11-18 all-time against teams that currently make up the Big 12 (Baylor, 1-3; Colorado, 1-1; Iowa State, 1-1; Kansas, 1-0; Kansas State, 2-0; Missouri, 1-3; Nebraska, 2-3; Oklahoma, 1-2; Oklahoma State, 0-1; Texas, 0-1; Texas A&M, 1-3).
A WIN VS. IOWA STATE WOULD ...
• Give Army its best four-game start (3-1) since the 1996 squad opened 4-0.
• Put the Black Knights two games above .500 since the 1996 team ended the season 10-2.
• Be the Black Knights’ second straight road victory, a first since winning at Akron and at Air Force in 2005.
• Mark only the second time since the start of the 1997 season Army has won as many as two games on opponents’ home fields in the same season.
• Match the Black Knights’ season win total from each of the last three seasons (3-9).
• Mark the third straight season Army has won consecutive games at least once.
• Be the 640th win in the 120 seasons of Army football (639-450-51; .583).
THE LAST MEETING: IOWA STATE 28, ARMY 21 (SEPT. 23, 2005)
WEST POINT, N.Y. — Ryan Kock scored on two short runs in the fourth quarter and No. 22 Iowa State came back to beat Army 28-21 in the first Friday night game in the 82-year history of Michie Stadium. Before a national audience on ESPN2, Kock, a 6-1, 240-pound fullback, bulled in from four and three yards out in the fourth quarter, the last score coming with 6:50 left in the game.
Army had two chances to tie the contest. The first ended when the Black Knights couldn’t convert a 4th-and-3 at the Iowa State 22 with under a minute left. Army got the ball back with 10 seconds left, but quarterback Zac Dahman was sacked near midfield.
Dahman’s 233 passing yards gave him 5,655 for his career, breaking the Army record of 5,502 set by Leamon Hall from 1974 to 1977. Army’s Carlton Jones rushed a career-high 34 times for 122 yards, notching his eighth career 100-yard rushing outing. Scott Wesley scored two touchdowns for the Black Knights, including the first rushing and receiving scores of his career.
The Black Knights have scored a touchdown on their first possession in each of the first three games. They scored on their opening possession three times all of last season and have now reached the end zone six times in its last 10 games.
Army’s 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive that took 6:36 off the clock on its opening possession against Ball State was its longest touchdown march of the season in terms of the number of plays. It was the Black Knights’ second-longest scoring drive of the season in terms of both yards and time of possession.
Scoring early is not uncommon among team’s that utilize the triple option as defenses try to adjust to the unique system. Army, Navy, Air Force and Georgia Tech have scored touchdowns on their first possession seven times in 12 games. The Black Knights are the only team of the four to accomplish that feat in all their games.
The challenge for the Black Knights is to continue their momentum generated on that first possession. Army has yet to score on its second drive in any of its three games. In fact, the Black Knights have yet to gain yardage on their second possession in any of the three games.
SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST
Army scored the only points of the fourth quarter in the 24-17 win over Ball State when junior FS Donovan Travis returned an interception 18 yards for the game-winning touchdown. In the last 12 games, Army has outscored its opponents 83-62 in the final stanza. The Black Knights have kept opponents off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter seven times in those 12 games.
Duke outscored the Black Knights 21-6 in the fourth quarter to break open a 14-13 game and take the 16-point victory. It was the largest fourth-quarter scoring deficit for the Black Knights since Rice held a 17-0 advantage in the final stanza on Sept. 30, 2006.
The Duke game marked the first time an Army opponent scored at least 21 points in the fourth quarter since East Carolina posted 21 markers to help seal its 38-28 win on Oct. 30, 2004. It was the first time the Black Knights gave up at least 21 points in the fourth quarter at Michie Stadium since Sept. 20, 2003.
Two of Duke’s three fourth-quarter touchdowns were scored by the Blue Devils’ defense. Eastern Michigan (2009) is the only team to score two offensive touchdowns in the final period versus the Black Knights in the last 12 outings.
Army has either come from behind or broken a tie in the fourth quarter in three of its last four victories.
Army intercepted Ball State quarterbacks Kelly Page and Tanner Justice a total of four times in the win last Saturday. The last of those picks resulted in an 18-yard touchdown return by junior FS Donovan Travis that provided the winning points. It was Travis’ second interception of the game.
It was the first time the Black Knights intercepted four passes in a game since oct. 24, 1995 in a 49-7 win over Boston College.
Led by Travis’ three interceptions this season, Army has already picked off opposing passers six times, which is tied for eighth in the country. The Black Knights had seven interceptions all of last season.
Army has a total of nine takeaways in 2009, tied for the sixth most in the nation. The Black Knights turned its opponent over 16 times last year, and didn’t get their ninth takeaway until week five.
STEELMAN MAKES PLEBE HISTORY
Freshman QB Trent Steelman earned his second victory as the Black Knights’ starting quarterback in the win over Ball State. Steelman is the first plebe signal caller to win two of his starts since Jerryl Bennett in 1978. The Bennett-led Cadets defeated Colgate, 28-3, on Oct. 28, 1978 and Air Force, 28-14, on Nov. 4, 1978. In the modern era (since 1944), no Army freshman quarterback has won three starts.
Army’s win at Eastern Michigan stopped an eight-game losing streak with a freshman starting under center for the Black Knights. Williams and Dahman both lost all of their starts during their respective freshman seasons. Before Steelman, the last freshman to start and win a game for the Black Knights was Bryan McWilliams on Oct. 31, 1987 versus Temple (17-7). McWilliams started that game, but was injured in the first quarter. Fellow plebe Otto Leone took over and guided Army to victory.
The first plebe of the modern era (since 1944) to start a season opener at quarterback for the Black Knights, Steelman could also tie another Army rookie QB record on Saturday. If he takes the first snap, he will match current teammate Carson Williams and Zac Dahman for most starts under center by a plebe. Williams started four times in 2006, while Dahman appeared with the first unit in 2002.
In the opener at Eastern Michigan, Steelman became the 17th plebe to start at quarterback for the Black Knights and only the seventh since 1951.
Steelman is Army’s fourth-leading rusher through three games with 134 yards (44.7/game). He has one rushing touchdown while calling his own number a team-high 48 times.
In the passing game, the rookie is 7 for 18 for 94 yards and has yet to throw an interception. Steelman tossed his first career touchdown pass against Ball State, a 24-yarder to senior WR Alejandro Villanueva.
UP NEXT ...
Army returns home for the first of two consecutive games at Michie Stadium. The Black Knights host Tulane on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 12 p.m. in the annual Homecoming contest. The first 5,000 fans through the gates at Michie Stadium will receive a free Army mini-helmet. The last time the Green Wave came to West Point, Army scored a thrilling 20-17 overtime win after tying the game with a 36-yard “Hail Mary” on the final play of regulation.