Quick thoughts: Eastern Michigan

Just to clear things up, Army’s 37-22 win over Eastern Michigan wasn’t the first time that Army secured bowl eligibility in three straight years.

Army played in the 1984 Cherry Bowl and the 1985 Peach Bowl and defeated Navy in its final 2006 regular-season game to be bowl eligible. However, Army did not receive a bowl bid. Semantics.

The Eastern Michigan win qualified Army to play in a third straight bowl game for the first time in academy history.

It’s too premature to know which bowl Army’s bowl destination without a tie-in. If Army can win its next three games against Air Force, Lafayette and Colgate, the Black Knights should have a few attractive bowl offers.

ESPN’s experts had the Black Knights playing San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl in a 2017 rematch or playing Georgia Tech and Paul Johnson in the Military Bowl. In the past, Army coach Jeff Monken has said he would not schedule a game against Johnson, his mentor at Georgia Southern and Navy.

Sports Illustrated has an Army-Georgia Southern Cure Bowl matchup. Monken was the head coach at Georgia Southern from 2010-13 and has said he wouldn’t want to schedule the Sun Belt Conference school.

Brant Parsons of the Orlando Sentinel has Army and Nevada playing in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Senior fullback Darnell Woolfolk (97 yards, TD vs. Eastern Michigan) is 40 yards away from becoming the 13th player in academy history to rush for 2,000 career yards.

Quarterback Kelvin Hopkins said he will surprised when the call for a pop play came in from the sideline on 4th-and-goal from Eastern Michigan’s 2 in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve had that and we’ve been practicing it for a while,” Hopkins said. “The opportunity to run it just came. They were clogging the middle. They had stopped us in the red zone three times and it was 4th-and-short again. Coach (Brent) Davis made a great call. I didn’t even expect it. When it came in, I forgot about the play honestly. It was great that it got called and it worked and that he (Walker) was wide open.”

Senior tight end Quinten Parker’s first career catch was a driving grab on third down to keep Army’s first drive alive. It was the first reception by an Army tight end in more than a calendar year. Senior Zach Saum caught a pass at Ohio State on Sept. 16, 2017.

Junior slotback Malik “Herbie” Hancock had Army’s longest run of the game, 29-yard gain off a reverse on the Black Knights’ third drive. It was the second career carry for Hancock, one of the team’s most beloved players. Hancock, a walk-on, had shifted back and forth from slotback to cornerback during his time on the team.

Defensive coordinator Jay Bateman tweeted this about Hancock after the win, “One of the best two way players in college football. From Nickel blitzes to reverses. Herbie gets it done!”

Army’s first-half defensive effort was one for the ages. The Black Knights forced four straight 3-and-outs and allowed just 18 yards at the halftime break. The lockdown could be contributed to Army playing its assignments and some unimaginative play-calling by Eastern Michigan.

Was surprised that Cole Christiansen’s sack of Tyler Wiegers in the second quarter was the first of the captain’s career. Army doesn’t track quarterback pressures but Christiansen has forced quarterbacks to unload the ball early often this season.

 

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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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