Army's remarkable 34-31 win Saturday and the effort of Quarterback Trent Steelman was recognized by a number of organizations who provide weekly college football honors.
The awards issued to Steelman are the ECAC Football Bowl Subdivision Offensive Player of the Week and the Football Subdivision Independent Player of the Week. In addition, the Bowling Green, Kentucky native received Manning Award stars and was named the Army Athletic Association player of the week.
The Army senior has played every game for Army since opening day of his freshman year, except three games last year when he was injured. He often plays through pain as was evidenced two weeks ago when he played the entire game against Stony Brook despite sore ribs suffered late in the Wake Forest game.
Against Boston College, Steelman ran 22 times and gained 141 yards. He scored three touchdowns in the game on runs of one yard and 27 yards in the first quarter and the game winner a 29 yard run through a big hole down the left side of the field with just 45 seconds left. Throwing the football is not a big part of the Army offense which ran for 516 yards Saturday, but Steelman did complete five of 12 attempts for 79 yards.
The 595 yards of offense was the most by Army against a rival from the Bowl Championship Subdivision,
The Army quarterback is moving up towards the top of many of the Army statistical lists. The three touchdowns scored versus BC gives Steelman a career total of 36 the most of any Army quarterback, one more than Tory Crawford who played for West Point from 1984-1987. He already holds the West point QB records for most rushing attempts with 628, rushing yards at 2,503 and points scored with 218.
Steelman's career rushing total of 2,503 yards already is ranked No. 30 all-time among running quarterbacks. He has seven games and a possible bowl game remaining in his college career barring injury. If he reaches 3,000 career rushing yards he would finish in the top 15.
More important to Steelman, as he told me after Saturday's games, is to put a winning streak together and then prime for the two big Commander-In-Chief games against Air Force on November 3rd and Navy on December 8th.
Those are still the milestones which largely define Army football player careers. He commented to me after the game about the importance of gaining the first win of the year against Boston College,
"It is a huge momentum swing, helps us set up to get back on track, start winning some games, just exactly what we need."
Steelman is always appreciative of his teammates going over on the other side of the bench to encourage the defense. He is appreciative of the his offensive line which has matured into possibly the strongest part of the team with Ben Jebb and Michael Kime at the tackles, Frank Allen and Stephen Shumaker at the guards, and the 290 pound senior Will Wilson filling in at center for the injured Ryan Powis.
Steelman takes a pounding in games not just on plays he rushes the ball, but by the nature of running the option offense which invovles drawing the defense, pitching out at the last moment and taking a hit himself. Coaches go to him most often in short yardage situations when then desperately need a first down or to get the ball into the end zone—that is why he has scored 36 touchdowns.
On Saturday, Army will host the 4-1 Kent State Golden Flashes under second-year coach Darrell Hazell, start at Michie Stadium is at 12:05 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast nationally by the CBS Sports Network.
Ken Kraetzer covers Army football for WVOX in New Rochelle, NY and Sons of the American Legion Radio.