Nov. 28, 2013
HONOLULU, Hawai'i -- The Army football team returns from a two-week hiatus to face the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors Saturday night at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is set for 11 p.m. ET. The Black Knights have not played since their final home game on Nov. 9.
The game will be televised by Oceanic Time Warner on a pay-per-view basis in Hawai'i. The Mountain West Conference will offer a free stream of the contest on its website to those outside of Hawai'i. To access the game, visit http://www.themw.com/#1/watch-live.
Army and Hawai'i have met twice before. The Black Knights made the trip to Honolulu back n 2003 before the Rainbow Warriors' return trip to West Point in 2010. Army is looking for its first victory in the rivalry, losing 59-28 in its last trip to the Aloha State and 31-28 on the banks of the Hudson.
"We are looking forward to playing," Army head coach Rich Ellerson said. "It's been a couple of weeks. We're excited to play, and we know Hawai'i is as well. We are talking about these guys, and they haven't won but they have played so well. They have taken everybody to the last play, and the past couple of weeks they have taken a couple of teams past the last play into overtime. They are a very competitive team that will play like there is no tomorrow because for them there is no tomorrow. This is their last game and all the emotions that go along with that will be in play. Certainly there is some excitement associated with the travel and all of that, but we are focused on the content itself."
The Black Knights (3-7) are coming off a 21-17 loss to Western Kentucky. Army took the lead on a 20-yard run by Terry Baggett with 7:03 left in the fourth quarter, but the Hilltoppers were able to punch in the game-winning touchdown with only 32 seconds remaining. Hawai'i (0-11) also suffered a tough defeat in its last game, a 59-56 overtime loss at Wyoming. Chris Gant hauled in a 33-yard touchdown pass from Sean Schroeder with just 1:18 left, and the duo connected again on the two-point conversion to tie the game and force overtime. The Cowboys stopped Hawai'i on the opening possession of overtime and kicked a 36-yard field goal to clinch the win.
Army enters Saturday's game as the nation's top rushing offense at 330.6 yards per game. The Black Knights led the country in that category in each of the last two seasons and are trying to clinch their first three-year run in program history. Army is averaging 406.5 yards and 24.4 points through its first 10 games.
Junior running back Terry Baggett is just nine rushing yards shy of reaching the 1,000-yard plateau for the first time in his career. Baggett leads the team with an 8.5 yards-per-carry average and is tied for the team lead with eight rushing scores. Baggett would be the fifth Army player to crack 1,000 rushing yards in the last four seasons. The Black Knights have never produced a 1,000-yard rusher in four straight seasons.
The Army offense will be playing without second-leading rusher Larry Dixon. Dixon suffered a hand injury against Western Kentucky. The Black Knights have been without two-time 1,000-yard rusher Raymond Maples for most of the season.
Junior quarterback Angel Santiago has run for 535 yards and eight touchdowns in his first season as Army's No. 1 signal caller. He has completed 38 of his 73 throws (.521) for 517 yards and two scores. Backups Kelvin White (15-30, 143 yards) and A.J. Schurr (9-14, 74 yards) have each thrown for one score.
Rookie wide receiver Xavier Moss has been Army's top target in the passing game, catching 27 passes for 346 yards and a touchdown. Senior Anthony Stephens and junior Chevaughn Lawrence are next on the list with nine and eight receptions, respectively.
The Hawai'i defense has allowed 502.7 yards and 38.5 points per game in its 11 outings. Opponents have rushed for an average of 209.9 yards per game.
Brenden Daley leads the Rainbow Warriors with 83 total tackles. He has racked up 12 tackles for loss, including three quarterback sacks. Art Laurel is next on the list with 73 stops and a team-high 13.5 tackles for loss. Beau Yap is also in double figures with 10 tackles behind the line, including a team-high 5.5 sacks. Trayvon Henderson has intercepted a team-high three passes.
The Hawai'i offense has posted 398.5 yards and 25.5 points per game. The Rainbow Warriors have done most of their damage through the air, throwing for 299.5 yards per contest and 27 touchdowns.
Schroeder has played in 10 games, starting seven times under center. He has completed 61.2 percent (210-343) of his throws for 2,638 yards and 25 touchdowns. Taylor Graham and Ikaika Woolsley have started three and two games, respectively. Graham is 46-for-100 for 462 yards and two scores, while Woolsey is 11-for-29 for 143 yards. The Rainbow Warriors have thrown 21 interceptions.
Gant and Scott Harding have each caught 51 passes. Gant has a team-high 857 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 16.8 yards per catch. Harding is averaging 10.5 yards per reception. Eleven different players have caught at least 10 passes, while nine Warriors have caught at least one touchdown pass. Clark Evans, Bill Ray Stutzmann and Keith Kirkwood have all been on the receiving end of four scoring throws.
"They are opportunistic," Ellerson said of Hawai'i's offense. "They are accomplished, and they are very aggressive. They play without fear. The quarterback had a hot hand last week like I have never seen, which says something about the whole team. This was a team that was on the road at altitude in below freezing weather, playing out of their shoes, putting up 600 yards and 56 points in regulation. They are searching for that one play and that chemistry that will correlate with success just like we have at times. It is going to be a great game."
As a team, Hawai'i is averaging 99.1 yards per game on the ground. Joey Iosefa has come on of late, averaging 109.0 yards per game in the last four outings, his only appearances of the season. Iosefa has rushed for a team-high 436 yards and four touchdowns. Steven Lakalaka has run for 364 yards and three touchdowns.
The Army stop unit has allowed 397.4 yards and 29.6 points per contest in its first 10 games. The Black Knights are allowing 204.2 yards per game against the pass and 193.2 yards per game on the ground.
The Black Knights will be without the services of leading tackler and tri-captain Thomas Holloway. The senior rover will miss the game with an arm injury. He leads the team with 59 total tackles, including 32 solo stops. Junior free safety Geoffery Bacon is next on the list with 46 stops.
The defensive line tandem of Robert Kough and Mike Ugenyi has combined for 12.5 tackles for loss. Ugenyi leads the team with 6.5 stops behind the line and has forced a team-high three fumbles. Jarrett Mackey, Kough and Colin Linkul are tied for the team lead with two quarterback sacks. Both rookie corner Josh Jenkins and senior rover Justin Trimble, who will get the start in place of Holloway, have picked off two passes.
Saturday's game is the season finale for the Rainbow Warriors, while the Black Knights have their annual showdown with arch-rival Navy left on the docket. The 114th Army-Navy Game presented by USAA will take place at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 14. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. and will be televised to a national audience by CBS.