Air Force (1-1) – Bye. I think they were supposed to play Nicholls State or something but Troy Calhoun cancelled the game because of “academics.”
Army (0-2) – Lost to Northern Illinois, 41-40. NIU’s option defense was as vanilla as it gets, lining up in a 5-man front and not giving Trent Steelman much to think about as far as reads go. Army’s offense took full advantage, running for 486 yards while Steelman, Larry Dixon, and Raymond Maples all topped the 100-yard mark individually. Even if NIU’s defense was lacking, Army gets credit for doing exactly what good offenses should do to bad defenses, and for once they did it without turning the ball over. They did put the ball on the ground three times, though, which is still troubling.
The real story of the game was the Army defense, which did not look good at all. Whenever NIU found themselves in a pickle, they just lobbed the ball downfield and let their wide receivers run past Army’s DBs to catch up to it. Four of the Huskies’ six touchdown drives consisted of five plays or less, and while one of those drives was capped by an 88-yard run by NIU quarterback Jordan Lynch, they also averaged a whopping 19 yards per completion. The Army secondary was left in a lot of one-on-one situations and just wasn’t fast enough to keep up. It isn’t unusual for Army’s secondary to be short on speed, but in the past they have been able to make up for it somewhat by putting pressure on the quarterback. They weren’t able to do so on Saturday.
Stat of the game: TOP – Army 42:33, NIU 17:27. That’s not a lot of time to pile up 515 yards. Pretty much tells you how the game went.