Army (1-0): def. Morgan State, 28-12. This game started out the way you’d figure a game with a struggling MEAC program would, with Army going up 21-0 early in the 2nd quarter. After that, though, Morgan State held their own pretty well, especially running the ball. It was the Bears’ inability to get out of their own way that kept this game from being even closer, with penalties, busted plays, and missed extra points. Statistically, Army was better, but not overwhelmingly so: the Black Knights held a 396-301 advantage in total yards, and a 19-17 edge in first downs. To be fair, you play to win the game, not to pile up statistics. Army took control early, and it never felt like it was getting away from them. There were also some encouraging things from Angel Santiago’s arm. Maybe Army just let off on the gas after getting a big lead. Either way, I don’t know if I’d come away from that game with any warm and fuzzy feelings if I was an Army fan.
Air Force (1-0): def. Colgate, 38-13. After a surprisingly bad first quarter that saw Colgate outgain Air Force 113-49 on the way to a 7-0 lead, team Howdy Doody eventually wore down our Patriot League friends in predictable fashion. It might have been a Pyrrhic victory, though, as Air Force starting quarterback Kale Pearson went down with a knee injury in the second quarter. Troy Calhoun didn’t want to comment until getting MRI results, but now that those results are in it looks like initial fears of a season-ending injury are confirmed.
The next player to pick up the battle flag is sophomore Jaleel Awini. Pearson and Awini supposedly had an open competition for the starting job this fall, but I don’t know how open the job really was. I suspect that the job was Pearson’s to lose, but the coaches didn’t want him to get too complacent. Pearson was the backup last year for a reason, after all. Regardless, that isn’t an indictment of Awini’s talent. He’s reportedly the better passer of the two and is very highly regarded. It isn’t his talent that’s in question as much as it is his grasp of the offense, which is to be expected from most sophomores. With Utah State’s mile-a-minute offense coming to town next week, you don’t want anything less than your full arsenal if you hope to keep pace.
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West Point’s defense left much to be desired. They can still move the ball on the ground, but Morgan State’s defense wasn’t exactly as strong as, say, Tulane’s.