Pregame blog: Riley to make 2017 debut

Sophomore defensive back Elijah Riley is active and is expected to have a significant role in Army’s Commander in Chief’s trophy game today at Air Force.

Riley, who started 11 games at cornerback as a freshman, has yet to play a snap this year due to an academy matter, which has apparently been cleared. He has practiced with the team through the season.

“He was ready against Temple and Eastern Michigan (Army’s last two opponents),” coach Jeff Monken said earlier in the week when asked about Riley’s availability. “We just kind of had him ready every week.”

Riley led Army with three interceptions, including two in the Black Knights’ victory in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, last season. He also recorded 47 tackles, sixth on the team.

Army’s secondary will also be boosted by the return of four-year starting safety Rhyan England, who missed the last five games with a knee injury. Read my story on England here.

Sophomore safety Jaylon McClinton is not expected to play due to undisclosed reasons.

Army senior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw doesn’t have fond memories of his last start against Air Force. It’s a game that still irks Bradshaw. Army’s offense was held to 144 rushing yards and 12 points in 19-point home loss last November. Bradshaw gained 41 yards on 16 carries and completed just 5-of-15 passes for 84 yards. He threw one touchdown and was picked off twice.

“I was not pleased with the way we performed offensively and with the way I performed,” Bradshaw said. “I remember it like yesterday. I remember us not being able to move the ball. They were making plays on us. I made a couple of misreads. It was just not a good day offensively. I think we are a much better team than when we played them last year and I think they are a better team as well.”

Bradshaw enters the game 133 yards shy of the first 1,000-yard rushing season by an Army quarterback since Trent Steelman’s 1,248 in 2012.

VIDEO: Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw on the opportunity Saturday at Air Force

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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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