Army Faces Kent State On Saturday

Nate Combs

Nate Combs

Oct. 11, 2012

WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Army football team wraps up its season-long three-game homestand on Saturday, Oct. 13, when the Black Knights host Mid-American Conference rival Kent State at Michie Stadium. Kickoff for the contest is slated for 12 p.m.

Saturday's game falls on "Homecoming Weekend" and members of the Army football team will be available inside Gate 1 to sign autographs following the game.

CBS Sports Network will broadcast Saturday's contest to a national audience with Ben Holden (play by play), Randy Cross (color analyst) and West Point Cadet Ally McKearn (sideline reporter) calling the action.

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), SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Sirius channel 134) and 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.

Live statistics for the contest will be offered via GameTracker by logging onto Army's official website ( In-game Twitter updates will also be provided from the Black Knights' official football handle (@Army_Football). A live blog will also be provided.

Army (1-4) brings a great deal of momentum into Saturday's game after rallying past Boston College, 34-31, last weekend. The Black Knights trailed by 10 points late in the second quarter before storming back to secure their first win of the season.

Three Army players rushed for more than 100 yards as the Black Knights racked up 516 yards on the ground. Senior quarterback Trent Steelman tallied three touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 45 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Kent State (4-1) carries a three-game winning streak into Saturday's tilt following last week's 41-14 victory at Eastern Michigan. Sophomore running back Trayion Durham rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, and the Golden Flashes limited the Eagles to 200 yards of total offense en route to the lopsided win.

Army head coach Rich Ellerson, who is in his fourth season at West Point, owns a 16-26 record as the Black Knights mentor. His career record, which spans 13 seasons, stands at 76-67. He will be looking to lead Army to its first set of back-to-back victories since Sept. 18 and Sept. 25, 2010.

Kent State second-year head Darrell Hazell shows a 9-8 overall record. Hazell, who spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Ohio State before taking over the reins of the Golden Flashes program, has helped KSU win eight of its last 10 games dating back to last year.

The Black Knights' rushing offense, which leads the nation with 397.2 yards per game, is led by junior running back Raymond Maples, who is averaging 134.2 rushing yards per contest. Maples, who has topped the 100-yard rushing mark in four of Army's first five games, is coming off a career-high 184-yard effort versus Boston College.

Sophomore fullback Larry Dixon, who has three 100-yard rushing games to his credit this season, ranks second on the team with a 92.0 yards per game average and five touchdowns. He rushed for 128 yards and one TD against BC last Saturday.

Steelman, who rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns versus Boston College last week, directs the Black Knights' triple option attack. The senior signal caller has rushed for 431 yards and eight touchdowns through five games. He has also thrown for 271 yards and another score

Junior wide receiver Patrick Laird leads the Army receiving corps with six receptions for 92 yards. He caught a career-best three passes for a career-high 42 yards opposite Boston College last Saturday. Sophomore wide out Chevaughn Lawrence, who has hauled in four aerials this season, paces the Black Knights with 98 receiving yards on the year.

Army's defense, which is allowing nearly 465 yards of total offense and more than 37 points per game through five weeks of play, came up with a pair of huge stops versus Boston College late in the fourth quarter last week. The Black Knights have held their last two opponents under 40 points, after allowing more than 40 points over the first three games.

Sophomore linebacker Geoffery Bacon, who has reached double digits in tackles three times already this season, leads the stop unit with 48 hits. Senior linebacker Nate Combs, who lists third on the team with 25 tackles, paces the Black Knights with eight tackles for loss and six sacks. The fourth-year performer has already recorded three multiple-sack performances through five games. Sophomore defensive tackle Robert Kough (four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks) has begun to emerge as a force defensively as well.

Kent State's offense, which is putting up 32.8 points per contest, is a balanced outfit that averages approximately 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing per game. Durham, who was named the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, paces the Golden Flashes' ground attack with 460 yards and five touchdowns through five games.

Senior quarterback Spencer Keith directs Kent State's prolific offense. The fourth-year playmaker is completing 55.8 percent of his passes for 789 yards and four scores. He also has one rushing touchdown this season.

Freshman wide receiver Josh Boyle leads the team with 18 receptions for 254 yards. Senior running back/wide receiver Dri Archer has scored five rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns. The explosive performer has also returned three kickoffs to pay dirt this season.

The Kent State defense is a stingy unit that yields just 378.6 yards of total offense and 26.4 points per game. The Golden Flashes have allowed three touchdowns or less in four of their first five games.

Senior linebacker Luke Batton paces the Kent State defense with 41 tackles. Junior defensive lineman Roosevelt Nix tops the squad with 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Senior defensive end Jake Dooley (3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks) has been productive as well.

Army and Kent State will be meeting for just the third time when the programs face off on Saturday. Army won the first two encounters, including a 17-14 overtime win at Michie Stadium on Sept. 9, 2006. The Black Knights won their only trip to Kent, defeating the Golden Flashes 45-28 in 2010.

Following Saturday's game versus Kent State, Army will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich., to face another Mid-American Conference opponent in Eastern Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 20. The game is set to kick off from Rynearson Stadium at 1 p.m.

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