2011 Northwestern Wildcats Football

 
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Northwestern Wildcats @ Army Black Knights Football Recap

Army 21, Northwestern 14

 

 

Northwestern merchandise This is the kind of game that changes a season for a program.

The Army Black Knights scheduled very ambitiously this year. After previous seasons in which coach Rich Ellerson started out with a high-cupcake diet and a lack of imposing competition, the Army sideline sultan decided to increase the degree of difficulty on a 12-game Independent slate. In the first two weeks of the 2011 campaign, Army took on high-powered offenses from Northern Illinois and San Diego State. Army got blown out of the water against NIU and fought really well against SDSU. However, those two performances both produced losses because of mistakes made in a 23-20 heartbreaker against San Diego State. With a tough Northwestern team – an annual bowl team – coming into the state of New York on the third weekend of the season, Army needed to dig out a win to not only feel good about itself, but to maintain a realistic expectation of a bowl bid. It’s always great to have one special bowl-winning season the way Army did last year, but the true test of quality for a program is to stack together winning seasons and make bowl games a habit, not an irregular occurrence.

Now, Army just might be able to reach that threshold… at the very least, the program has a chance to rise to that standard.

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After serious turnover issues, Army put together a ball-dominant complete game in West Point, beating Northwestern 21-14 on Saturday for its first win of the season.

It was a similar performance as the previous week for the Black Knights, as they again dominated time of possession 40 minutes to 20 over Northwestern. But improved ball security turned what was a tough loss to San Diego State last week into a win this week. Quarterback Trent Steelman again led the Black Knights with 108 rushing yards and three touchdowns, including the deciding score with under three minutes left in the game.

Northwestern’s Kain Colter, replacement for the injured Dan Persa, was benched late in the game in favor of Trevor Siemian, who after a missed Army field goal, hit Jeremy Ebert on a 62-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 14-14 with just six minutes left. But Steelman would lead Army to the win on a 75-yard drive that featured carries from five different players.

Army handed Northwestern its first loss by rushing a whopping 75 times for 381 yards. Raymond Maples added 95 rushing yards to Steelman’s 108, and Malcolm Brown pitched in 79 more to lead Army. Northwestern ran just 57 plays, as Siemian was 5-7 for 105 yards and a touchdown in his backup duties.

 

By Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer

 

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