National Rankings: Army defense on rise

Army’s defense continues to climb the national rankings following a 62-7 win over Lafayette Saturday.

The Black Knights moved from fifth to second in total defense (245.2 yards/game) after holding Lafayette to 223 yards. Army trails only Michigan (212.8)

Only defending national champion Alabama (63.9 yards/game) stops the run better than Army. The Black Knights rank second (84.2 yards/game). The defense held Lafayette to 10 yards on 17 carries.

Army is tied for 4th in scoring defense (14 points/game).

What’s made Army’s defense so effective this season?

Defensive coordinator Jay Bateman said the improvement of junior linebacker is one reason.

“What a success story,” Bateman said during Lafayette week. “He came here as a safety. He was 200 pounds. He’s 243 pounds now. He’s playing a four-technique defensive end, three-technique defensive tackle some. So strong. He’s plays really hard. He’s hard to block because he’s so strong.

“There’s back-to-back plays (against Duke) where they throw the bubble screen to their slot receiver and he’s the 3 player and goes and tackles for minus-1. The very next play, he’s in the B-gap holding on against a 1-back zone play in a down-lineman, three-point stance. There are just not many kids in America that can do that.”

Aukerman leads the team with 8.5 tackles for loss.

The Black Knights regained the nation’s top spot in rushing with 537 yards against Lafayette.

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and SoundCloud @salinterdonato. Started a Facebook page, solely for Army coverage. Here’s the link.

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