WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Army football team will travel for the first time in three weeks when it heads to Ames, Iowa, for a matchup against Big 12 member Iowa State. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. eastern.
The Black Knights, 2-1, will wear their white jerseys for the first time since a season-opening 27-14 win at Eastern Michigan on Sept. 5.
Iowa State, a member of the Big 12 North, also sports a 2-1 record. The Cyclones, under first-year head coach Paul Rhoads, beat North Dakota State, 34-17, lost to Iowa, 35-3, and dispatched Kent State, 34-14, a week ago.
Army will look for its second straight win after a 24-17 victory over Ball State last week.
No television coverage is planned for the game but fans will have several ways to follow along with the action. The Army Sports Network will have the audio call of the game on flagship station WABC (770-AM) as well as WALL (1340-AM) and WEOK (1390-AM), Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 121) and ITT Knight Vision. ITT Knight Vision, Army’s subscription-based multi-media platform, will offer fans a video stream from Iowa State’s video board along with the Cyclones’ radio call. Twitter updates will also be provided at www.twitter.com/ArmyAthletics.
“We play an Iowa State team that’s off to a good start,” said Army first-year head coach Rich Ellerson. “They are coming off of a big win for their program at Kent State – their first road win in a lot of tries. Big 12 football is very physical; they have a very big football team. They can challenge you physically offensively, but they are sophisticated and can finesse you as well. Defensively, again they are going to be hard to move, just like we have faced the last couple of weeks. They are a relatively veteran outfit on the defensive side of the ball. They know their way around the system, so it’s another great challenge.”
A look at the matchups: QUARTERBACK Army freshman Trent Steelman (6-0, 185) continues to improve with each start. Through three games, he has rushed for 134 yards and a touchdown while completing 7-of-18 passes for 94 yards and a score. Junior Chip Bowden (6-0, 211) and senior Carson Williams (6-3, 212) have also taken snaps.
Iowa State often lines up junior Austen Arnaud (6-3, 224) in a shotgun formation and provides plenty of throwing options. Arnaud has completed 39-of-71 passes for 450 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. He averages 150 passing yards per game and is second on the squad with 176 rushing yards. He has scored a team-best three rushing touchdowns.
IN THE BACKFIELD Army has utilized nine different ball carriers this season, led by junior slotback Patrick Mealy (5-8, 203) who has a team-high 236 rushing yards. Mealy averages 10.7 yards per carry. Junior fullback Kingsley Ehie (5-10, 221) has rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns while junior slotback Jameson Carter (5-11, 187) has two touchdowns and 142 yards on the ground. Ian Smith (5-8, 180), George Fletcher (5-9, 200) and Alfred McDaniel (5-6, 160) have also been active in the rushing game. The Black Knights are averaging 257.7 rushing yards per game, the seventh-best average in the nation.
Iowa State junior Alexander Robinson (5-9, 187) is the team’s leading rusher with 58 carries for 326 yards. He averages 5.6 yards per carry and 108.7 per contest. Jeremiah Schwartz (5-11, 232) has 81 yards on 16 carries.
WIDE RECEIVERS Four different players have caught passes for Army this season. Alejandro Villanueva (6-10, 283) has six catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns while Damion Hunter (5-10, 166) has six catches for 47 yards. Austin Barr (6-4, 203) and Carter also have receptions.
Iowa State averages 173 passing yards per game and 11 players have receptions. Darius Reynolds (6-2, 201) has a team-high 13 grabs for 72 yards while Marquis Hamilton (6-3, 224) has 11 catches for 190 yards with two touchdowns. Jake Williams (6-1, 199) has seven receptions in an offense that often features three wide receivers.
OFFENSIVE LINE During his weekly press conference, Ellerson hinted that some changes might be coming on the offensive line. Joe Bailey (6-2, 283) is penciled in as the starter at left guard and is expected to be joined up front by tackles Mike McDermott (6-6, 256) and Jason Johnson (6-3, 257), guard Seth Reed (6-1, 275) and center Zachary Peterson (6-1, 267).
Iowa State boasts a mammoth offensive line with the lightest player listed at 295 pounds. Left tackle Kelechi Osemele (6-5, 349) is the biggest of the bunch, followed by right tackle Scott Haughton (6-3, 338), center Reggie Stephens (6-3, 333) and guards Ben Lamaak (6-4, 318) and Alex Alvarez (6-2, 295).
DEFENSIVE LINE Army’s front four will be tested against a huge offensive line. The Black Knights are allowing 77 rushing yards per game and 201 through the air.
End Josh McNary (6-1, 225) is fifth on the team with 16 tackles and has a team-best 4.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. Tackle Victor Ugenyi (6-3, 262) has 3.5 tackles for loss while fellow tackle Mike Gann (6-2, 275) has 1.5. End Bradley Marren (6-1, 246) has posted six tackles. Broghan Carnes (6-2, 250), Chris Swain (6-3, 260) and Marcus Hilton (6-0, 247) add depth up front.
Iowa State generally plays a 4-3 defense and is allowing 149 rushing yards per contest. End Christopher Lyle (6-4, 257) has 13 tackles and a sack on the season while fellow end Rashawn Parker (5-11, 254) is a three-year letterwinner. Stephen Ruempolhamer (6-3, 287) and Nate Frere (6-1, 291) are the tackles.
LINEBACKERS Stephen Anderson (5-10, 229) leads the Army defense with 27 tackles, 15 of which came a week ago. Steve Erzinger (6-1, 216) is tied for second on the squad with 17 stops while Andrew Rodriguez (6-3, 210) has 16 tackles. Chad Thayer (6-0, 198), Bill Prosko (6-2, 215), Kyler Martin (6-2, 200) and Sean Westphal (6-1, 210) round out the linebacking corps.
Jesse Smith (6-0, 234) leads the Iowa State defense with a team-best 25 tackles from his middle linebacker position while Josh Raven (5-11, 223) has 5.5 tackles for loss and Fred Garrin (6-1, 227) has two forced fumbles.
SECONDARY Army has intercepted six passes this season and five of them have come from the secondary, led by three from safety Donovan Travis (6-1, 190) who also has 17 tackles. Cornerback Mario Hill (6-0, 175) has one interception and 10 tackles while fellow corner Antuan Aaron (5-9, 199) has 13 stops. Donnie Dixon (6-0, 196) is the other starting safety and had six tackles. Joshua Jackson (5-11, 175) has the other interception and adds depth to the secondary, as does Desmond Lamb (6-2, 193), Jordan Trimble (5-10, 190), Chase Prasnicki (6-1, 212) and Brian Cobbs (5-11, 185).
For Iowa State, David Sims (5-9, 208) and James Smith (5-8, 191) are the safeties with Ter’ran Benton (6-0, 197) and Leonard Johnson (5-10, 181) expected to start at cornerback.
SPECIAL TEAMS Jonathan Bulls (6-1, 217) is averaging 41.2 yards on 20 punts with six that have pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line. Matt Campbell (5-9, 195) averages 58.1 yards on 14 kickoffs and Alex Carlton (6-0, 186) has converted 4-of-4 conversion kicks and 3-of-4 field goal tries, including a career long 45-yard make last week. Hunter, Mealy and Josh Jones (6-1, 187) handle returns.
Iowa State’s Grant Mahoney (6-1, 162) is 8-for-8 on PAT attempts and 5-of-6 on field goal tries with a long of 50 yards while Mike Brandtner (6-0, 200) averages 42.7 yards on 16 punts. Mahoney is averaging 62.3 yards per kickoff. Punt returner Josh Lenz (5-11, 184) has a long return of eight yards while kick returner David Sims (5-9, 208) averages 29 yards per return.
UP NEXT Army will begin a two-game homestand with Tulane (Oct. 3) and Vanderbilt (Oct. 10). Both games will begin at noon at Michie Stadium.
The Tulane contest has been designated as the annual Homecoming contest and the first 5,000 fans entering Michie Stadium will receive an Army football mini-helmet.
“‘Doc’ Blanchard Day” will be held on Oct. 10 when Army welcomes Vanderbilt to West Point. Blanchard will become the fourth Army player to have his uniform number officially retired by the Army Athletic Association, joining fellow Heisman Trophy winners Glenn Davis (41) and Pete Dawkins (24), along with Joe Steffy (61) in that select grouping. The first 5,000 fans entering Michie Stadium that day will receive a Doc Blanchard bobblehead.
Individual game tickets for the Vanderbilt and VMI contests can be purchased for just $29 per seat. The Tulane game is priced at $36 per ticket.
In addition, fans can purchase a Rutgers ticket package for $49 per seat. This two-pack includes a ticket to the game versus the Scarlet Knights plus the VMI contest.
Ticket orders can be placed online at www.goARMYsports.com, in person at the Holleder Center Box Office, or by phone at 1-877-TIX-ARMY. Flexible payment plans are available by calling the Army ticket office.