September 24, 2011

Ball State take down the Black Knights, 48-21

The Army Black Knights were entering Saturday's contest with the Ball State Cardinals with their sights on bringing their record to 2-2 and hitting the .500 mark for the first time in 2011.

And there was plenty of reasons for the Army players, staff and fans to be optimistic going into the game against Ball State.

Despite their opening game loss to NIU, it was the progression that the team had made. Even in their loss to San Diego State, many observers felt the Black Knights were the better team in the 2nd game of the season. Needless to say, it all game together last weekend versus Big Ten opponent Northwestern, as Army was able pull down a convincing 21-14 victory.

However, on Saturday the Black Knights ran into a host called Ball State, who wasn't drinking the fountain of optimism. As a matter for fact, it appeared the MAC conference opponent was using Army as a tune up for their showdown next weekend against the nation's top ranked Oklahoma Sooners.

As Army kicked off to start the game, Ball State's first series was a picture perfect drive that included a mixture of pass and run, but also was a reflection of things to come for Black Knights. The Cardinals marched 80 yards on 12 plays in 4:59 as running back Jahwan Edwards pranced into the end zone to cap off the drive.

However, it was the contribution of fellow running back B. Scott, along with the battery of quarterback Keith Wenning and receiver Willie Snead ... both who would torment the Black Knights' secondary all afternoon long that had the defense on its heals.

With Ball State taking an early 7-0 lead and both teams exchanging punts, Army's offense appeared to up to the task of redeeming their teammates defensive lapse as they marched down to the Ball State 6 yard line, where on 2nd & 5 slotback Malcolm Brown hit pay-dirt for six points.

However, Army was called for an illegal chop block, which put them in a 2nd & 20 that individually turned into a 3rd, then 4th & 20. Kicker Alex Carlton, who has been inconsistent of late attempted a 32 yard field goal, but the senior kick hooked wide left, as Army's 12 play - 48 yard drive netted zero.

From that point on in the first half, it became the Wenning & Snead Show, as the 6-foot-4, 221 pound sophomore quarterback calmly picked apart the Black Knights defense in the first half passing clinic. He hit on 21-27 passes for an impressive 254 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Snead pulled down 9 of Wenning's precision passes for 135 yards, including one for a score, as Ball State took a convincing 31-0 lead into locker room.

The 3rd & 4th quarters were no better for either side of the ball for the Black Knights. Yes, there were moments offensively, that resembled their offensive firepower, as both slotback Raymond Maples (125 yards) and fullback Jared Hassin (111 yards) surpassed the 100 yard mark.

But even with their effectiveness, this game was sealed after two quarters of play, although the Cardinals were able to post an additional 17 points, providing them with a comfortable 48-21 win over Army.

Clearly there is much work to be done on both side of the football for the Black Knights, as this game was decided after one half of play.

Army only run 23 plays for 101 yards and 12:05 TOP in half one, while Ball State ran 50 plays for 333 Yards, and 17:55 TOP. Army will never win with those types of stats ... it goes against their identity and philosophy.

But with Tulane making their way to Michie Stadium on October 1st, there is little time for the team to lick their wounds from the Ball State ... the Green Wave will be arriving full force.

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