Quick thoughts: North Texas

What a wild game.

North Texas’ 52 points were the most points allowed by Army since a 52-24 loss at Western Kentucky on Nov. 15, 2014.

Army’s 49 points tied its season high against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent. The Black Knights had allowed 16 points total in their previous two games.

The combined 101 points tied the most in a regulation game in the 127 years of Army football. Army defeated Colgate 56-45 on Nov. 3, 1956. The highest scoring game in Army history is the Black Knights’ 59-52 double-overtime win over Louisville on Oct. 7, 1999.

The Black Knights’ 534 rushing yards were the seventh most in academy history.

Ahmad Bradshaw is Army’s new single-season rushing leader. Bradshaw recorded his second 200-yard game of the season. Bradshaw’s 244 yards give him 1,472 for the season, shattering Collin Mooney’s record of 1,339 set in 2008.

Bradshaw’s 1,472 yards ranks fourth among service-academy players (Army, Navy, Air Force) behind Navy’s Napoleon McCallum (1,587, 1983), Air Force quarterback Beau Morgan (1,484, 1996) and Air Force’s Chad Hall (1,478, 2007). Bradshaw has two games left in 2017 – Dec. 9 against Navy in Philadelphia and Dec. 23 against an undetermined opponent in the Armed Forces Bowl.

2017 FBS rushing leaders: 1. Rashaad Penny (San Diego State) 1,824; 2. Bryce Love (Stanford) 1,723′ 3. Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin) 1,657; 4. Devin Singletary (Florida Atlantic) 1,524; 5. Ahmad Bradshaw (Army) 1,472.

Jeff Monken didn’t hold back on how he felt about his team’s sloppy play. Read Monken’s postgame comments here.

Army was flagged six times for 66 yards. Three of the penalties resulted in first downs including cornerback Elijah Riley’s late hit on Mason Fine after North Texas quarterback Mason Fine was tackled for a minimal gain on 2nd-and-22…An offside penalty on James Nachitgal negated an interception by Mike Reynolds on North Texas’ final drive. The penalty allowed Fine to take a shot downfield that he might not have otherwise…Darnell Woolfolk’s 32-yard touchdown was called back when slotbacks John Trainor and Fred Cooper were in motion at the same time. Cooper entered the game for the injured Kell Walker before the snap. After the game, Army coach Jeff Monken said one of the players wasn’t supposed to be in motion.

The officiating of Rodney Burnette and his Conference USA crew was sketchy at best. North Texas was called for one, ONE penalty, a late hit on quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw after his 27-yard completion to John Trainor to the Mean Green 2 late in the fourth quarter. The markoff was one yard. Obvious North Texas holding penalties were missed or overlooked. One official see North Texas’ Turner Smiley right in front of him throw the first blow while blocking Glen Coates on a kickoff. Coates was flagged for unsportsmanlike penalty when he retaliated.

One of the most puzzling calls that I’ve seen in my 11 years on the Army beat was when officials ruled that North Texas’ long snapper hiked the ball before their whistle on the first play of the second quarter. Army Barstool poignantly posted the replay of said snap showing it occurred after the official’s whistle. Mike Reynolds returned the first punt 12 yards to Army’s 30. Reynolds called for a fair catch inside Army’s 10 on the second punt and fumbled the ball. North Texas recovered at Army’s 7 and scored two plays later, extending its lead to 21-7.

Haven’t even mentioned North Texas running back Jeffery Wilson’s fumble on a 4th-and-1 from Army’s 38 in the second quarter. The play was reviewed and it was obvious the ball popped out before Wilson’s knee touched. But, officials reportedly couldn’t determine who recovered so North Texas maintained possession.

Never will be 100 percent completely sure of what a catch is in college football. Didn’t look Jalen Guyton had possession of ball on 10-yard touchdown pass from Fine in right corner in the second quarter.

Fine threw for 386 yards, the most by a quarterback against an Army defense since Buffalo’s Joe Licata threw for 401 yards in the 2014 season opener.

For as many strides as Army’s special teams has made this season, Saturday’s miscues were a reminder of last season and cost the Black Knights. The list of mistakes included Reynolds’ fumble on the punt, a snap that reliable holder Zach Potter couldn’t get down that nearly turned into points for North Texas on a fumble return, a season-long 63-yard kickoff return by Evan Johnson of North Texas and Coates’ 15-yard penalty.

Should Army have iced North Texas kicker Trevor Moore before a 49-yard attempt with 13 seconds left? North Texas was out of timeouts and committed to the kick. The timeout gave North Texas coach Seth Littrell to change his mind and send his offense on the field. Fine completed a 10-yard sideline pass to Turner Smiley and Moore made a game-winning 39-yard field goal after Army iced him again with 5 seconds left.

One fan suggested that Army should have taken a knee or two before Andy Davidson scored the Black Knights last touchdown with 1:23 left. Army was hurrying to get the play called and in hindsight a delay of game penalty wouldn’t have been the worst scenario.

North Texas fans took to message boards and social media wanting a targeting penalty on Army safety Rhyan England for his hit on wide receiver Jalen Guyton. The play was reviewed and England was not penalized. If a penalty was upheld, England would have been ejected from the game.

Good news: Sophomore slotback Kell Walker, Army’s third-leading rusher, left the game in the first quarter with an apparent ankle injury and did not return. After the game, Monken said that Walker was walking OK and has

Lost in loss: Fullbacks Darnell Woolfolk and Andy Davidson combined for 192 yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns. Woolfolk recorded his second 100-yard game in his last four games. Davidson is the fourth Army players to top 500 rushing yards (515) for the season.

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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    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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