Un­der­manned Black Knights hung in there

The Columbus Dispatch - - Ohio State/ Army - By Mark Znidar mznidar@dis­patch.com @MarkZnidar

Army coach Jeff Monken re­it­er­ated dur­ing his weekly news con­fer­ence that not a sin­gle one of his play­ers was re­cruited by a Power 5 team and not one could match up phys­i­cally with Ohio State.

He also said his tripleop­tion would be no great sur­prise be­cause Buck­eyes de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Greg Schi­ano planned for the scheme against Navy on a yearly ba­sis when he was Rut­gers’ head coach. The Black Knights did get within 20-14 of Penn State two years ago, beat North­west­ern 21-14 in 2011 and were game in hold­ing their ground and tak­ing some against Ohio State on Satur­day, but mid­way through the third quar­ter Monken was cor­rect on all counts.

Shin­ing mo­ment

Pre­par­ing for the an­ti­quated triple-op­tion of­fense is sim­i­lar to a bat­ter fac­ing a knuck­le­ball pitcher, and a lot of times the Cadets had the Buck­eyes whiff­ing at ball Army quar­ter­back Ah­mad Brad­shaw is tack­led by Ohio State safety Da­mon Webb (7) and cor­ner­back Den­zel Ward (12) at the end of a sec­ond-quar­ter run.

car­ri­ers dur­ing a 99-yard, 18-play touch­down drive that lasted 9 min­utes, 37 sec­onds in the sec­ond quar­ter. Dar­nell Wool­folk did the honor by run­ning over a cou­ple of de­fend­ers for a 3-yard touch­down.

What went right

The Cadets ran the ball 58 times, but had just one fum­ble (and lost it).

Draw­ing board When it is forced to

at­tempt a pass, Army some­times is much like an ar­madillo caught in the mid­dle of the Florida In­ter­coastal High­way with cars ap­proach­ing. Hey, Coach Monken, even fel­low tripleop­tion teams Air Force and Ge­or­gia Tech can air it out a lit­tle bit. Brad­shaw’s first pass fell in­com­plete be­cause Ohio State line­backer Jerome Baker blitzed up the mid­dle un­touched and planted him a mo­ment af­ter the throw. He also might have put too much air on a throw when Kell Walker was open by a cou­ple of yards at the goal line in the sec­ond quar­ter. Buck­eye safety Erick Smith bat­ted it away. Fi­nally, when the sit­u­a­tion screamed pass on Army’s first pos­ses­sion of the third quar­ter, Walker was stuffed for a 2-yard loss on third-and-four at the Buck­eyes' 26. A 43-yard field goal at­tempt was wide left.

Ques­tion mark

Thirty-point un­der­dog Army might have made its first mis­take when it won the coin toss and chose to de­fend. The re­sult was, well, blitzkrieg, as Ohio State went 75 yards for a touch­down in eight plays. The Buck­eyes went 94 yards in 13 plays to make it 14-0, and play­ing catchup is a dif­fi­cult game for a team that runs the triple-op­tion.

Star power

If the run­ning game was still in vogue, Army’s 5-foot-9, 235-pound Dar­nell Wool­folk might be play­ing for the Buck­eyes and mak­ing a name for him­self like Pete John­son, Champ Hen­son, Bruce Elia and those other bulls from the past. He ran for 74 yards and a touch­down on 15 car­ries.

They said it

“I don’t know how many guys they’ve got on their de­fense who are go­ing to play in the NFL, but we have ex­actly none. We have no one on the of­fen­sive line who is go­ing to play in the NFL, and they’ve got to block those guys.’’

— Army coach Jeff Monken

Telling stat

The Cadets had pos­ses­sion 13 min­utes, 54 sec­onds longer than the Buck­eyes but gained only 278 to­tal yards.

Triv­ial mat­ters

Army’s record when trail­ing at half­time un­der Monken is 3-17. … The team had won five straight games since last sea­son. … The Cadets are 43-51-1 against Big Ten teams. Their last win over a Big Ten team came in 2011 against North­west­ern.

[ADAM CAIRNS/DIS­PATCH]

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