The following analysis is provided by Jim Morrision ('59) who was a wide receiver on the undefeated Army Football Team led by Pete Dawkins. Charlie Shaw ('62) was kind enough to forward this to us.
AF 14, ARMY 17: MONDAY AM QB REPORT
Please pardon the tardiness. I attended the AF game for our ’58 Undefeated Team’s 60th Reunion and traveled all day Sunday, arriving home late Sunday night. Hence the Tuesday AM QB Report.
Independent Army (7-2, Sagarin # 45) defeated Mtn. West Air Force (3-6, Sagarin #76) 17-14 in a hard-fought game on a cool, sunny, and windy day at Michie in front of an announced sell-out crowd (although there were some empty seats , possible due to the rain before KO).
With the win, Army retained the CIC Trophy in back-to-back seasons (for the first time ever), regardless of what happens vs. Navy. FYI, the current holder retains the trophy in case of 3-way ties. Since AF defeated Navy 35-7 earlier, Army will keep it for another year. HOOAH!
It was Army’s 5th straight win and 11th straight win at Michie. Seven of those 11 wins have been by 7 points or less, many decided in the last minute (and even the last play!). Army feature writer John Feinstein named the current team the Michie Miracles. For us elderly (80+ years), a better term may be the Cardiac Cadets. Probably costing us Old Farts a few precious years.
Army dominated the First Half, limiting the AF O to just 3 possessions and gaining 164 yards TO vs. AF’s 105 yards, but AF changed QBs (after an Army INT on the Goal line just before the Half) to start the 2nd Half, sparking their O. Army’s O stalled in the 2nd Half with just one long Drive which was held to a FG.
The AF O out-gained Army 201 yards to 92 yards in the 2nd Half. The AF O also out-scored Army 14-3 in the 2nd Half. That’s the 3rd straight game Army has been out-scored in the 2nd Half by a combined score of 50-31. Army is holding on for the wins thanks to the Army D and FGs by K Abercrombie.
Army is 13-0 over the last three years under HC when not having a turnover.
The Great, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The Great (For this crucial game)
- Diving catch by SB Asberry on the AF one-yard line which was initially ruled O-O-B. An Official review reversed the call saying Asberry got both knees in-bounds. Army scored to make it 7-0. Co-play of the Game #1!
- 52-yard run by FB Woolfork to the AF 6-yard line on 4th & one at the Army 42-yard line. Army scored to make it 14-0. Co-play of the Game #2!
- Interception by CB Reynolds on the Army 4-yard line with 00:46 left in the Half to keep AF from scoring. Co-play of the Game #3!
- 30-yard FG by K Abercrombie in crunch time to make it
- Army 17, AF 6 with 8:35 left in Q#4. Co-play of the game #4!
- Two big stops on 3rd and 4th Downs by MLBs Christiansen and Nachtigal on AF’s last drive to thwart a tying FG. Co-plays of the Game #5
- Army O had a 75-yard opening drive that took 21 plays and 12:55 (both season highs), also overcoming THREE 15-yard Penalties.
- Army D held AF to 125 yards rushing (vs. 255 yards/game coming in, #7), the 4th time this season Army has held an Opponent to under 140 yards Rushing.
- Army O rushed for 286 yards vs. an AF D that was #6 with 108 yards/game vs. the rush and had held all teams except one to under 140 yards Rushing (Nevada – 177 yards).
- FB Woolfork rushed for 117 yards and a TD on 21 carries.
- QB Hopkins rushed 19 times for 75 yards and a TD.
- Army O was 3/3 on 4th Downs (now 29/32, #1). AF was 1-3.
- Army D forced two AF Turnovers on Downs.
- Army D limited big play AF O to just 3 plays of 25+ yards, none for TDs (Bend but don’t break!).
- QB Hopkins was 3/5/0 Passing for 44 yards.
- Army won Time of Possession, 37:32 – 22:28
- Army led 14-0 at Half. AF O had just 3 possessions.
- Army STs had 2 PATs and a FG vs. AF’s missed PAT. The difference in the game!
- AF O outgained Army in Total O, 322 yards vs. 286 Yards.
- AF O gained 197 yards passing on 12/21/1.
- Army KOs only averaged 47 yards (vs. AF 60 yards/KO).
- AF O gained 201 yards in the 2nd Half vs. Army O’s 92 yards..
- Army LP had a rugby-style Punt blocked for just 4 yards, creating an AF short field setting up an AF TD. Turning point in the Game!
- Army O was out-scored in 2nd Half, 14-3.
- Officiating! Both teams had 5 Ps for over 50 yards each, many on poor calls (one over-turned on Review.)
- Officiating! Called Pass Interference on Army D despite a high pass obviously not being catchable.
- Officiating! Did not call Pass Interference when an Army WR was mugged on an obvious Interference (could have been called Unnecessary Roughness!)
- Officiating! Called Army C Holland for 15-yard Personal Foul penalty on a minor shove after the whistle. Ticky-Tacky! This is a Service Academy game. They are always physical! Let them play!
Game Tracker (For those who did not see the game live)
Army O marched down the field on a nice 14-yard pass from QB Hopkins to SB A13-yard run to AF 25 by Hopkins on 3rd & 9 but C Holland was called for a cheap 15-yard P after the play. Now 1st and 25 AF 40. QB Hopkins gained 9 yards on 3rd and 6. 1st down on AF 16. On 4th and 2 from the AF 9 yard line, Woolfork converted the 1st down.
On 1st down Army OL (Reeder/Peyton) was called for a Chop Block, now 1st and 22. (Note: Peyton replaced OT Hunter, who was injured (Knee) on the 3rd play of the game). QB Hopkins threw a nice ball into the corner that leaping SB Asberry caught going O-O-B at the one. Play was called incomplete on the field. An Official Review reversed the call saying that Asberry got both knees down inside the line. Great Catch!
- Play of the Day #1. FB Woolfork scored TD from the one. Drive: 21 plays/75 yards/12:55. Score: Army 7, AF 0 at 2:05 Q#1.
AF QB Sanders completed a 29-yard pass to SB Saucier to Army 29. AF False Start P made it 2nd & 12 then Army D had a TFL for a 4-yard loss. An incomplete pass forced an AF Punt. Drive: 5/30/2:16. Good job D!
Army O went 3 for minus one yard, forcing an Army Punt. 3 & Out! Not a good possession.
AF gained a 1st down on a 15-yard P called on MLB Nachtigal for a little shove after the play. Mickey Mouse call! But Army D forced another AF Punt. Drive: 4/27/2:12. Good job D!
Army ball on Army 11. 42. Poor field position.
Army going for it on 4th and 1 at our own 42- yard line. FB Woolfork burst through for a 52-yard gain to the AF 6-yard line.
- Play of the Game #2! Gutsy call that paid off BIG! QB Hopkins scored 6-yard TD. Drive: 11/89/3:17. Score: Army 14, AF 0 at 4:03 Q#2.
- Looking Good!
AF O came right back with a 19-yard completion to the A38, followed by an 18-yard completion to the Army 14. Red Zone!
AF was called for Chop Block on 1st Down. Now 1st and 25 on A29.
On 2nd Down, Army CB Reynolds Intercepted an AF pass on the Army 4-yard line with just 00:46 left in the 1st Half! Great play!
- Play of the Game #3! Drive: 8/48/3:17. Score at Half: Army 14, AF 0.
AF had just 3 possessions in the 1st Half . Army outgained AF in Total O, 164 yards to 105 yards.
AF O started new QB Hammond III under Center. He completed his first pass on his first play, a 31-yarder to WR Bennett to the A36. On 4th & 4, AF converted a 1st down but was called for a Chop Block. 15 yards! Now 4th & 14, AF punted. Good stop D to start the 2nd Half!
On 4th & one on the A29, HC Monken elected to punt. 3 & out!
QB Hammond passed for 17 yards to SB Saucier on 3rd & 8. He then completed a 13 yard pass to WR bennet to the A 43. After a 1st down on the A 312, the Army D stuffed a run and covered well on 3 straight incomplete passes. Turnover on Downs! Good job D!
The Army O went 3 & out, losing a yard, forcing a punt. LK Schrage either bobbled the snap or hesitated as he attempted a Rugby-style punt that was blocked by AF and went just 4 yards. ST mistake!
Turning point of the Game!
AF ball on A34. Good field position!
On 3rd &4, FB Fagan rushed 9 yards to A19. Red Zone!
The Army D forced a 4th & one on the A10 but QB Hammond III converted. FB Fagan carried to the one, QB Hammond III scored.
After a high snap and with a strong crosswind, the AF K boinked the PAT try off the left post. Good break for Army!
- Drive: 9/34/3:15. Score: Army 14, AF 6 at 00:54 Q#3.
Momentum AF! Charge those 7 points to the Army ST.
QB Hopkins hit WR Coates for 9-yards. QB Hopkins then converted two 3rd downs to the AF 20. Red Zone!
On 4th & 3 at the AF 13, HC Monken called time to talk it over, then elected to go for the FG to make it a 2-score game with a little over 8 minutes left. K Abercrombie came through in the clutch with a 30-yard line drive FG to go 6/6.
- Play of the Game #4! Drive: 13/62/7:19. Score: Army 17, AF 6 at 8:35 Q#4.
Army K Salyers came through with a TB. QB Hammond III scrambled twice for 1st downs to the A47. After two incomplete passes, on 3rd & 10 Army CB Reynolds was called for Pass Interference on a ball that was 3 yards over the WR’s head, obviously uncatchable. Bad Call!
Now 1st down AF on the A44. QB Hammond III hit FB Fagan for 30 yards to the A14. Red Zone!
AF then called two great plays to score and then converted the 2-point try. Kudos to AF.
- Drive: 10/75/3:08. Score: Army 17, AF14 at 5:19 Q#4.
We have a Ball Game! Army needs a long drive here.
But the Army O went 3 & out, missing on a 3rd & 8 pass to WR Cline. LP Schrage’s 42-yard punt was returned 8 yards to the AF 34. Good field position. Gut check time for the Army D!
QB Hammond III completed a 19-yard pass to WR Sanders to the A47. On 3rd & one on the A38, out of FG range, MLB Christiansen bolted through to throw FB Fagan for a 2-yard loss. Now 4th and 3. MLBs Nachtigal and Christiansen STUFFED QB Hammond III for NO GAIN on the same play AF had scored on earlier.
- Plays of the Game #5! Drive: 6/26/1:52.
Still 1:10 left and AF has two Time-outs. Army needs a 1st down here.
Army FB gained 2 yards. Time out AF! 1:07 left.
Army QB gained 4 yards. Time out AF (their last!). 1:02 left
Army QB gained 3 yards. Now 4th and One. HC Monken let the clock run down to 00:17, then called an Army Time out.
Good clock management! If we decide to punt and pin AF deep, they would only have a few seconds to go the length of the field to get into FG Range to tie.
But HC Monken elected to go for it. QB Hopkins converted the 4th down on a QB sneak behind our O Line’s big push and also pushed by our 3 backs. Game Over! Army wins, 17-14!
The Army sideline, Michie Stadium and the Corps went NUTS!
Asked why he went for it instead of punting, HC Monken replied … “ If you can’t make one yard, you don’t deserve to win.”
Final Score: Army 17, AF 14. The CIC trophy stays at West Point!
This Army team continues to impress by making big plays to pull out close games that we had been losing for many years. The 21-play, 12:55 opening drive (overcoming three 15 yard Ps) was the longest of the year and a statement. Controlling the ball for 37:32 and rushing the ball for 286 yards against a good AF rush Defense (#6) is what won the game, keeping the ball from the AF Offense. Although giving up 197 yards passing, our D limited their big play Offense to just 3 plays of 20+ yards and ZERO TDs! Bend but don’t break!
The win moved Army to #29 on the AP poll (up 6 points) and to # 33 on the Coaches poll (up 21 points). USA Today’s Amway Coaches poll has Army at #22 (up 4 points).
Army hosts FCS Lafayette (3-6, Sagarin #236) at Michie on Saturday. Lafayette lost to fellow Patriot League member Holy Cross (3-6, Sagarin #235) on Saturday, 40-14. Hopefully QB Hopkins can get some rest after being banged up again vs. AF.
AAC Navy (2-7, Sagarin #117) lost to AAC Cincinnati (8-1, Sagarin # 40) on Saturday, 42-0. Navy will miss qualifying for a Bowl this season, for only the 2nd time in HC Numiatololu’s reign.
BTW, AF will have to win all 3 of its remaining games vs. New Mexico (3-6, Sagarin #117), Wyoming (4-6, Sagarin #97), and Colorado State (3-6, Sagarin #126) to qualify for a Bowl, after missing a Bowl last season.
Regards, Jack Morrison ‘59