Oct. 20, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. -
The Army football team returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 22, when the Black Knights travel to Nashville, Tenn., to face Southeastern Conference foe Vanderbilt. Kickoff from Vanderbilt Stadium is slated for 7 p.m. ET.
ESPNU will carry a live broadcast of Saturday's matchup with Clay Matvick (play by play), Brian Griese (color analyst) and Allison Williams (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), Sirius Satellite Radio (channel 134) 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 (2-4) has been idle since dropping a 35-28 decision at Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 8. The Black Knights led 28-14 early in the third quarter, but the RedHawks scored 21 unanswered points to secure the victory.
Vanderbilt (3-3) began the season with three consecutive victories, but the Commodores enter Saturday's contest looking to halt a three-game losing skid. Last week, Georgia dealt Vanderbilt a 33-28 setback.
Army and Vanderbilt have split eight previous matchups in a series that began in 1968. The two schools last met during the 2009 season when the Black Knights secured a 16-13 overtime victory. Vanderbilt's last win over Army dates back to 1991 when the Commodores took a 41-10 verdict.
Army head coach Rich Ellerson is in his third season as the Black Knights' mentor. He enters Saturday's matchup showing a 14-17 record at West Point. Ellerson, who led Army to its first bowl victory since 1985 last year, has piled up a 74-58 career record in 12 seasons as a college head coach.
Vanderbilt's James Franklin is in his first season as a collegiate head coach. He spent the previous three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Maryland, where he helped lead a prolific Terrapin attack. A 1995 graduate of East Stroudsburg University, Franklin served a two-year term as the offensive coordinator at Kansas State from 2006-07 where he helped mentor current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman.
Army's offense, which is averaging 419.5 yards of total offense and 26.8 points per game, racked up 450 yards versus Miami the last time out. Led by its triple option attack, the Black Knights lead the nation with 361.3 rushing yards per game.
Army junior quarterback Trent Steelman, who has established a program record by starting 31 straight games under center, directs Army's offense. Army's third-year signal caller tops the team's rushing chart with 536 yards and 11 touchdowns. Steelman is ranked seventh in the country in scoring, averaging nearly two TDs per game.
Steelman has been perfect through the air over the last two games, completing all 11 of his pass attempts for 194 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Steelman has completed 52.8 percent of his throws for 329 yards and two scores.
Sophomore running back Raymond Maples, who has eclipsed the 100-yard plateau in each of the last three games, lists second on the team with 534 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Junior slotback Malcolm Brown has been productive both as a runner and receiver. He has rushed for 325 yards and one touchdown on the ground. He has also caught three passes for 93 yards and a score.
Sophomore wide receiver Jared McFarlin leads Army's receiving corps with seven receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown. Senior wide out Davyd Brooks has hauled in four passes for 95 yards and one TD.
Senior linebacker Steven Erzinger leads Army on the defensive side of the football. The tri-captain paces the Black Knights with 64 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 quarterback sacks. He enters Saturday's game at Vanderbilt ranked 12th in the nation in tackles per game (10.67).
Sophomore defensive back Tyler Dickson lists second on the squad with 35 tackles and is tied for the team lead with one interception.
Vanderbilt's offense has fared much better at home this season as the Commodores are averaging 31.8 points per game in Nashville. By contrast, VU has mustered a combined total of just three points in road losses at South Carolina and Alabama.
Senior quarterback Larry Smith, who has passed for 481 yards and three touchdowns this season, directs Vanderbilt's attack. Junior signal caller Jordan Rodgers has also appeared in all six games, and he has thrown for 236 yards and one score.
Sophomore wide receiver Jonathan Krause has emerged as one of the primary targets in the passing game, having hauled in a team-best 20 receptions for 108 yards. Freshman wide out Chris Boyd, meanwhile, has caught eight passes for 128 yards and a team-leading three touchdowns.
Junior running back Zac Stacy paces the Commodores' ground attack, which is averaging 129.3 yards per game. Stacy enters Saturday's matchup versus Army averaging 63.5 yards per contest. He rushed for 97 yards and a score against Georgia last week. Freshman running back Jerron Seymour has rushed for 180 yards and three TDs this season.
The Vanderbilt defense has been stingy through the first six games of the season as the Commodoares are allowing just 329.8 yards of total offense and 21.7 points per game. Senior linebacker Chris Marve paces the Vanderbilt stop unit with 46 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss.
Senior defensive end Tim Fugger (3.0 sacks, 8.0 tackles for loss) and junior defensive tackle Rob Lohr (3.0 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss) have been key defensive contributors as well. Senior defensive back Casey Hayward lists tied for second in the country with five interceptions. As a team, Vanderbilt has picked off 15 passes.
Following Saturday's game, Army will be return to West Point on Saturday, Oct. 29, when the Black Knights host Fordham at Michie Stadium. Kickoff for that contest, which is sold out, is set for 3:30 p.m.