(Saturday, September 17th)
Final Score:Army 21, Northwestern 14
West Point, N.Y. (Sports Network) - The Black Knights' dominating rushing game was on display yet again this week as Army (1-2) upset Northwestern (2-1) at Michie Stadium in front of a rowdy crowd of cadets, for the team's first win of the season. The Black Knights rushed the ball 75 times for 381 yards on their way to the victory. Quarterback Trent Steelman accounted for 108 of those yards and all three Army scores.
Raymond Maples and Malcolm Brown were also effective for the Black Knights, rushing for 95 and 79 yards, respectively. Steelman only completed one pass on seven attempts in the contest for six yards.
Army's defense was again led by Steve Erzinger. The senior linebacker, who opened the 2011 campaign with a 21-tackle performance against Northern Illinois, paced the team against the Wildcats as well with nine tackles and a sack.
Northwestern's preseason Heisman candidate Dan Persa did not make his season debut despite being available "in case of emergency." Kain Colter made his third start of the season completing 12-of-23 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. Colter also ran for 57 yards on the ground before being replaced in the fourth quarter.
Bryce McNaul led the Northwestern defense with 15 tackles for the game. David Nwabuisi also had a strong contribution with 12 tackles and a sack.
The Wildcat offense was led by receiver Jeremy Ebert, who caught six passes for 108 yards and scored both of Northwestern's touchdowns.
Army's win gave the program its 350th in school history.
With just under four minutes remaining in the opening quarter, the home team struck first as Army quarterback Trent Steelman dove into the end zone on a 17-yard option keeper that capped off an 18-play, 81-yard opening drive for the Black Knights.
Northwestern answered later in the second quarter as Ebert roped in a 14-yard pass from Colter to tie the score 7-7 with just over five minutes left in the half.
After halting Army at the Northwestern 40, Colter and the Wildcat offense took over with just over a minute remaining. Colter led Northwestern down the field quickly as he compiled 62 yards in under a minute to put his team in position for a field goal with seconds left in the half. Unfortunately for the visitors, kicker Jeff Budzien was unable to convert from 26 yards away and the game went into the half deadlocked.
Army's option attack continued to give Pat Fitzgerald's defense fits in the second half. Army opened up the half with a 33-yard burst by sophomore running back Raymond Maples. The Black Knights followed that play with nine straight rushes, the final of which gave Steelman his second rushing touchdown of the game, a one-yarder.
The Army rushing attack finally showed a glitch on their next possession as a botched handoff put the ball on the turf for Northwestern defender Ben Johnson to recover. The Wildcats were unable to take advantage of the short field though and submitted a quick three-and-out.
The Black Knights had their Big Ten counterpart on the ropes in the fourth quarter. The Army option exhausted Northwestern's defense yet again on a drive that took over eight minutes. Northwestern finally halted the charge by forcing a fourth and two at their own eight-yard line. The Wildcats caught a huge break as Alex Carlton missed a 25-yard field goal for Army.
Trailing by a touchdown with seven minutes remaining, Northwestern surprisingly turned to freshman quarterback Trevor Siemian. Siemian did not disappoint as he completed his first two passes for 18 yards. On his third attempt, the freshman found Ebert who was able to elude Army defenders after the catch and sprint 62 yards for his second touchdown to bring the score even once again.
The Army rushing attack answered quickly and marched down the field yet again. This time the Knights were able to break the plane of the end zone as Steelman once again scored from one-yard out to give the Black Knights a 21-14 lead with under three minutes remaining.
Siemian would take the field again. However, the freshman was not able to recreate the magic he produced on his first drive. After the Army defense stopped Northwestern on a fourth down, they were able to kneel on the ball to seal the victory.
09/17 20:13:48 ET