Quick thoughts: Buffalo

Ahmad Bradshaw and former Army quarterback Ronnie McAda are linked after Saturday.

Army’s 21-17 victory over Buffalo was Bradshaw’s five straight win as a starting quarterback equaling McAda’s streak, which ran from Nov. 18, 1995 to Sept. 28, 1996.

Bradshaw recorded his seventh career 100-yard rushing game and his third straight. The seven 100-yard games are tied for third with Nate Sassaman (1984) among Army quarterbacks. Trent Steelman (2009-12) had 12 career 100-yard game, second among all rushers in academy history. Troy Crawford (1985-87) notched 11 100-yard games.

Was talking a few people on the field during pregame who thought the game would be a lot closer than I predicted (Army 38-14) and they were right. Buffalo’s defensive front didn’t give Bradshaw much space to operate the triple option in the first half, getting a good push on Army’s offensive line.  Army changed things up in the second half, going to the shotgun a few times and effectively running Kell Walker.

Great redemption story for junior punter Nick Schrage, who erased the memory of his run on a 4th-and-44 against Lafayette, with a 15-yard game-sealing sneak on the same play, “rugby right” in the fourth quarter. Schrage’s quote, “If the Red Sea parts, I can go for it” is an all-time classic.

The Black Knights caught a break in the second quarter when Buffalo decided to get a little too creative, attempting a flea flicker from Army’s 32, up 17-7 with 9:10 left until halftime. The flea flicker never materialized. Linebacker Cole Christiansen blitzed pushing Buffalo center James O’Hagan into running back Emmanuel Reed, who couldn’t handle a handoff from quarterback Tyree Jackson. Linebacker Alex Aukerman fell on the fumble. If Buffalo was a little more conservative, it might have had a field goal attempt at the least. The Bulls would not score again.

Army’s offensive line committed two personal fouls that the Black Knights cannot have this Saturday at No. 8 Ohio State. Center Bryce Holland was called for blocking after the whistle on a first-down play in the first quarter. Coach Jeff Monken pulled Holland for the rest of Army’s second drive as Army shifted senior Josh Boylan from left guard to center and inserted sophomore Ethan Palelei at left guard…A chop block by tackle Rick Kurz negated a 13-yard third-down conversion run by Bradshaw in the fourth quarter.

Andy Davidson, Army’s leading rusher in 2016, entered the game with seven minutes in the second quarter behind starting fullback Darnell Woolfolk, sophomore Connor Slomka and junior Calen Holt. Davidson, who scored 12 touchdowns last season had two carries for three yards. He had six carries for 23 yards and a touchdown on the season.

Army is now 9-8 at home in Jeff Monken’s four seasons. The Black Knights were 12-15 in the previous five seasons under Rich Ellerson.

Army’s alma mater started a few moments later than expected Saturday as Army coach Jeff Monken rushed into the east stands of Michie Stadium near the band director’s position to fire up the Corps of Cadets following the win.

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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