The story: Anderson out for season

BY SAL INTERDONATO
Times Herald-Record

The goal remains – barely.
Army football needs to win its last three games to qualify for a bowl game.
The mission will be more challenging with the news that junior middle linebacker Stephen Anderson is done for the season.
Anderson, Army’s emotional leader and top tackler, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the final minutes of   Army’s 35-7 loss at Air Force last Saturday.
Army (3-6), which has lost three straight games, hosts Division I-AA VMI (2-7) on Saturday.
“His impact goes a long ways for us,” Army co-defensive coordinator Payam Saadat said. “He’s a little of the heart and soul of our defense. The good thing is he has another year and he can rehabilitate. In the meantime, we have to fill in that position. It may not be one person. It may be multiple guys.”
Anderson, a student of the game who always showed up early to study film before practice, made a career-high 16 tackles against Air Force. He leads Army with 83 tackles.
“He’s the captain, our on-the-field and off-the-field spokesperson,” Saadat said. “Other guys got to step up as well with that. It’s disappointing…He was playing a good game and being very productive.”
Anderson took on a frontal block from Air Force guard Peter Lusk and his knee buckled on an eight-yard touchdown run by Asher Clark with 2:47 left in the game.
“It was a freak deal,” Saadat said. “His feet didn’t get tangled.”
Anderson’s production will be hard to replace. His nine tackles for a loss are second on the team. Anderson made 82 tackles, 11 for a loss and forced a team-high five fumbles as a sophomore.
Freshman Kyler Martin, who has seen the majority of his action on special teams, is listed on the first-team depth chart.
But Saadat said no decision had been made as of Monday night on who will start at middle linebacker.
“We are throwing it around seeing what’s best for this week,” Saadat said. “What’s best to play VMI. That’s our first focus. We need to win that game and it might be week-to-week depending on our opponent.”
The Air Force game claimed another Army player’s season.
Junior backup quarterback Chip Bowden tore his right ACL while covering a punt in the first quarter. Bowden, who played the up-man on punts, played in six games under center when starter Trent Steelman left the game with an injury. He completed nine of 26 passes for 106 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Bowden, who started nine games last season, rushed 19 times for 59 yards.
“(Anderson) and Chip is a bad deal,” Saadat said. “When you see a kid have an injury that both of those kids suffered, it’s disappointing.”

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    Sal Interdonato

    Award-winning writer Sal Interdonato has been on the Army football beat since 2007. He'll take you inside the huddle and into the lives of the Black Knights. Read Full
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