Special teams breakdown: Fordham

Army turned in one of its better all-around special teams efforts of the Jeff Monken Era in its season-opening win over Fordham.

Junior Nick Schrage, who was named the team’s co-special teams player of the game by coaches, got the unit off to a strong start with three straight touchbacks. Schrage finished with four touchbacks in eight kickoffs. He had two touchbacks last season.

Nose tackle Andrew McLean ignited a big play, blocking a 24-yard field goal attempt that was scooped up by junior cornerback Jalen Sharp for a 75-yard touchdown return. Defensive lineman Price Oyetuga got a good push on McLean’s block and would denied a Fordham extra point later in the game.

Army and Alabama were the only Division I-A teams to block two kicks in a game last week. The Black Knights have blocked 11 kicks/punts in Monken’s three-plus seasons.

Wilson connected on Army’s only field goal attempt from 30 yards out and four different kickers – Wilson, junior John Abercrombie, freshman Landon Salyers and sophomore David Cooper – attempted extra points.

Special teams positives: 5 touchbacks (Nick Schrage 4, Blake Wilson 1). In one game, Army kickoff specialists have more than one-third of the touchbacks (14) last season…blocked field goal that resulted in cornerback Jalen Sharp’s first career touchdown on return…blocked extra point…held Fordham to 16.6 yard average on kickoff returns.

Special teams negatives: Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, who was holding after running for 71-yard touchdown, couldn’t get down a snap on an extra point in the second quarter. Cooper missed an extra point, kicking the ball low in the fourth quarter.

Special teams tackles: Junior linebacker James Nachtigal was named the team’s co-special teams player of the week after making tackles on three of Fordham’s six kickoff returns. Tackles – Nachtigal 3, sophomore linebacker Hayden Haupt 1; junior linebacker Jarrod Jones 1; sophomore LB Ryan Parker 1, freshman kicker Landon Salyers 1; freshman safety Joe Stephenson 1; sophomore safety Ryan Velez 1.

Participation: Army used three long snappers – sophomore Scott Flanick and freshmen Kyle O’Connor and Caleb McKee. O’Connor snapped on Wilson’s field goal and two extra points. McKee snapped on both extra points in the fourth quarter. Bradshaw and junior quarterback Luke Langdon held on extra points.

The following position players only saw action on special teams units: freshman linebacker Gavin Bassett; freshman linebacker Kieran Douglas; sophomore cornerback Richard Hanson; Haupt; freshman cornerback Joe King; sophomore linebacker Donavan Lynch; senior defensive lineman Matt Sannella; Velez; freshman defensive back Ke’shaun Wells.

For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and Sound Cloud @salinterdonato. For Army coverage on Facebook, here’s the link.

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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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