October 12, 2009

Army vs. Vandy: The Top 10 Plays of the Game

Army's 16-13 win over Vanderbilt was a complete game by the Black Knights,
made up of some key plays throughout.  GoBlackKnights.com takes a look at the 10
key plays, in no particular order, that got Army to the final gun as victors
over the Commodores.

In the 2nd quarter and the ball on their own 23 yard line,
Vandy was mounting a drive.  But a series of defensive stops, including
back-to-back plays by Andrew Rodriguez and Stephan Anderson, the Commodores
found themselves push back to their 34 yard line.  This drive was halted by
cornerback Antuan Aaron's first career interception.  The play was the result of
a blitz by Anderson, who hit Vandy quarterback Larry Smith as he threw.

With score tied at 10-10, quarterback Trent Steelman was stopped cold on
a 4th & 1 at the Vanderbilt 24 yard line with 9:28 remaining in the
contest. Army needed a Big Play from their defense and on the Commodores first
snap from center, free safety Donovan Travis stepped in front of a Larry Smith
pass at the 43 yard line and returned it 36 yards to the Vandy 7 yard line. 
This was Travis' 4th interception of the season.

Wide Receiver, Davyd Brooks pulled in his first career reception.   Why
is this a Top Ten play?  Not only did Brooks make the catch for 25 yards, but it
was his 22 YAC, added on to the 2 yard reception that was impressive.  At
6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Brooks has the size and the athletic ability to another
weapon for Ellerson's offense.  Only a sophomore, Brooks has solid upside for
the Black Knights now and in the future.

Vandy started the overtime with the ball on Army's 25 and Stacy broke off
a 13 yard run to the 12 yard line.  On the next play, running back Zac Stacy
appeared to be headed for end zone and putting the Commodores up by 7.  However,
the heady play of linebacker Andrew Rodriguez, who was all over the field
throughout the contest, striped the ball at the 1 yard line … that rolls out of
the end zone for a touchback … and the break that Army needed. 

After A-Rod's play, it was Army's turn to close out the game and after
not moving the ball from the Vandy 25 yard line, for the second straight game,
sophomore kicker, Alex Carlton would be called upon to attempt to give Army the
win.  With the 34,000 plus on edge, Carlton lined up for the 43 yarder and the
kick the cross bar, but went through and Army registered their first win over a
BCS opponent at home since their win over Baylor in 2006.

Quarterback Trent Steelman's gutsy-never-give-up play on 3rd &
goal from the Vanderbilt two yard line in the 4th quarter.  When it
appeared that the Army signal caller would be stopped and perhaps once again the
Black Knights would have to settle for a field goal attempt …. Steelman's second
effort put him across the goal line and gave Army a 10-3 lead.

With the game still knotted up at 0 and Army needing to get some points
on the board to match the great defensive play in the game, the Black Knights
put together a good drive that got them to the Vandy 34.  Alex Carlton came on
the field to attempt a 51 yard field goal.  The kick was perfect, right through
the middle of the uprights, and gave Army a 3-0 lead.

This one is more a series of plays…twice.  Two times in the game, Army
had their backs against the wall and did not yield.  First, on Vandy's opening
drive of the second half, the Commodores had a first and goal at the 5.  A stuff
by Andrew Rodriguez, and a pressure on 3rd down by McNary made
Vanderbilt settle for a field goal.  At the end of the fourth quarter, Army's
defense came up big again. Vandy again had the ball first and goal from the 5. 
On first down, Rodriguez came up big again with a stuff.  On second, Stephen
Anderson made a huge hit in the middle to hold again.  After a couple of
penalties, Vandy again settled for three.  A touchdown probably would have
sealed a win for the Commodores.

After taking a 13-10 lead, Vandy had the ball and was ready to move. 
After gaining seven yards on the first two plays, Army got aggressive again on
defense.  The line pushed through hard as Smith dropped back, and Mike Gann
broke through getting right in Smith's face.  Andrew Rodriguez shot through from
the right and put a hand on the hurried Smith pass.  The ball dropped to the
ground and Army forced a three-and-out for Vandy.

Again leaving fans worried about a second half drop-off, Vandy took the
ball on their second possession of the third quarter and started to move the
ball downfield.  Facing a third and 5, Smith dropped back and found a receiver
in the middle of the field, but Antuan Aaron played perfect coverage and dropped
the receiver a yard short of the first down.  Army would get the ball back and
stop the second half falloff.

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