Quick thoughts: Stanford

Army coach Rich Ellerson and players said after a 34-20 loss to No. 5 Stanford that there were no moral victories.

OK, if so, the Black Knights’ effort and intensity are something to build on. Army, a 30-point underdog, hung around and didn’t make it easy on Stanford.

Army’s remaining nine games are against teams with a combined record of 9-16 . Only Navy (2-0) and Boston College (2-1) have winning records. Seven of the teams lost this week (Navy was only winner, 51-7 over Delaware).

Defensive end Bobby Kough said if the team plays the way it did against Stanford the rest of the season, it can rule the table. Wins have been hard to come by since 2010.  There have been letdowns at home including a 23-3 loss to Stony Brook last week.

Army’s next game, home to Wake Forest Saturday, will be a telling sign. Wake Forest is a team that Army should beat with a Stanford effort.

Coach Rich Ellerson went into Stanford game committed to playing both junior Angel Santiago and sophomore A.J. Schurr at quarterback in the first half. I wonder if the plan was set on playing Santiago the first two series and then bringing on Schurr. Santiago led Army on field-goal drives on his first two possessions against a very good Stanford defense. The timing of the quarterback switch just felt wrong.

This was the breakout game that Army’s been looking for from junior running back Terry Baggett. Baggett led Army with 96 rushing yards on just nine carries including a 46-yard run set up by Hayden Tippett’s edge block. He had a 17-run run where he huddled a defender’s tackle attempt. Baggett also caught Army’s longest pass, a 16-yarder.

Luck still isn’t on Army’s side. Stanford’s first touchdown came off  a deflected pass inside Army’s 5  by cornerback Josh Jenkins into the hands of wide receiver Michael Hector. Army linebacker Dalton Mendenhall popped the ball up in the air on a scramble by Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan. The ball just happened to land in the arms of Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney.

Jenkins continues to grow. Two plays after a pass interference penalty, which did prevent a Stanford touchdown, Jenkins intercepted his first career pass in the end zone.

Junior defensive end Mike Ugenyi made his first start of the season and there should be many more starts to come.  Ugenyi, who is listed at 257 pounds, adds size to the defensive line and has forced two fumbles against Stanford.

Asked Kough how much he was weighing after the game. Kough, who is listed at 239 pounds, said he hasn’t weighed that since freshman boot camp. He said he plays between 255-26o. Kough said it’s almost a psychological advantage for offenses to think he’s 239 pounds.

“I think we learned enough from ourselves today that we know we can play with anybody,” Kough said. “We don’t have to worry about how big they are. We don’t have to look at their weight anymore.  We’ve established ourselves as a d-line unit that we can play football.”

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