Army Football: Trent Steelman and Black Knights Upset Northwestern 21-14!

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Army Football: Trent Steelman and Black Knights Upset Northwestern 21-14!
Trent Steelman Leads Army to Upset (K.Kraetzer)

Sometimes the sound defines a game; the roar, the bands, the sense of urgency, it is what you remember years later about a game. 

That is the way it was at Michie Stadium on Saturday as Army won one of its biggest home games in recent memory, a 21-14 win over Northwestern.

Junior quarterback Trent Steelman carried on his back the hopes of his team, the Corps of Cadets, the alumni, all the "voices' surrounding an Army team. 

And wow did he deliver. 

Army ran the ball 78 times, and Steelman himself carried the rock 28 times, gaining 108 yards often on crucial short yardage third- and fourth-down plays. In the Black Knights first quarter 18-play 81-yard drive, Steelman himself carried for six first downs, including a 17-yard run to score the first of his three touchdowns.  

Afterwards Steelman, described to me the "trust that the coaches and his teammates have in him" and his appreciation for support from the Corps of Cadets.

Army overall had 381 yards rushing the ball with only six yards passing. Eight different ball carriers gave Army an effective attack with sophomore Raymond Maples and junior Malcolm Brown gaining consistent yardage to the outside, often taking pitchouts from Steelman. 

Maples had 95 yards on the day and Malcolm Brown added 79, including a 40-yard run in the fourth quarter that gave Army crucial field possession.   

On defense, Army gave up just 115 yards on the ground and 309 yards overall. Wildcat quarterback Kain Colter was 12-of-23 passing for 89 yards and one touchdown before being relieved in the fourth quarter by redshirt freshman Trevor Siemian. 

On just three plays, Siemian showed accuracy in completing three straight passes; the last being a 62-yard completion to Jeremy Ebert that tied the score at 14, all with less then six minutes left to play.

Army Players Sing Alma Mater After Victory
Getting the ball back, Steelman started a drive at his own 25-yard line and proceeded to lead Army up the field, aided by a Malcolm Brown 23-yard run to bring the Black Knights across midfield to the Wildcat 47. Sophomore slotback Scott Williams came in and pulled off a 17-yard run to the NU 13.

Steelman ran three straight plays; first converting a third-and-six play for a first-and-goal from the three. Then on the second attempt running up the middle, Steelman followed his center, 285-pound Will Wilson for the go-ahead touchdown that gave Army a 21-14 lead with less than three minutes left.

Trevor Siemian had one more chance to tie the game taking over on the Army 40-yard line. A pass to Jeremy Ebert went for 18 yards to the Army 42, but on the next play, Army linebacker Nate Combs sacked Siemian for a loss. A fourth-and-one pass attempt to Ebert failed and the Black Knights took over on downs.

Army Captain Steven Erzinger had a big day with nine tackles and a sack from his outside linebacker spot. The front line of the Black Knights, led by Holt Zalneraitis, A.J. Mackey and Cory Watts did a good job of handling the large Northwestern offensive line while pressuring the throws of the Wildcats QBs. 

Army coach Rich Ellerson was excited about his team's first win of the season, much less defeating a heralded team from the Big Ten. He felt the team had built from the close loss a week ago to San Diego State to "prove we could be fine" against Northwestern. 

I asked the coach about the play of his offensive line which is maturing quickly into an effective unit, and he credited the play of offensive tackles Brad Kelley and Mike McDermott for helping to open up the running plays to the outside. 

West Point, now 1-2 on the year, will travel next week to Muncie, Indiana to play Ball State. In the mean time, there are a lot of happy Army people on the west bank of the Hudson.

Ken Kraetzer covers Army football for Sons of the American Legion Radio, hosting the West Point Football Report every Tuesday at 5:30 PM EST on 1460 AM and WVOX.com. He can be reached on kgk914@aol.com.

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