Army football got off to a rough start this evening after dropping their season opening contest to the Fordham University Rams.
The game was a sloppy contest with turnovers, penalties and other miscues dominating the night.
The Black Knight defense was skewered by Fordham's offense. Rams quarterback Kevin Anderson went 15/23 for 322 yards and Chase Edmonds ran for 110 yards on 20 carries along with 140 receiving yards on six receptions.
It was an abysmal defensive performance by the Black Knights: every time Army needed a stop or a defensive play, the Rams offense would move the chains instead.
For four quarters, Fordham was easily the better team and if Army can't compete with the Rams, they'll get eaten alive by the likes of Duke, Penn State, and Rutgers.
Opening jitters aside, Monken needs to go back to the drawing board with the defense because there is no way Army can survive this season with a performance like that.
The lone bright spot was Ahmad Bradshaw, who ran for 143 yards on 20 carries and threw for 107. He rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two as well. However, he tossed a pick late in the first half to set up a Fordham field goal in the waning seconds of the second quarter.
Bradshaw looked good both on his feet and with his arm. For the most part his passes were sharp and accurate (save for a few instances like the game clinching incompletion) and he showcased his athleticism in his scrambling and option running.
Despite being outscored and outplayed for the majority of the game, Bradshaw kept a late game drive alive with a great 13-yard run. From there the sophomore quarterback picked up 60 yards and a touchdown on two passing plays.
However, Bradshaw was the entire Army offense. Army ran the ball 42 times, nearly half of which were Bradshaw rushes. The triple option doesn't work very well when the fullback option is practically off the table. Aaron Kemper and Matt Giachinta rushed for a combined 46 yards on nine carries.
Before the season, it appeared the schedule set Army up for a fast start, which was something the program had not seen in some time. The potential 4-0 start is gone now. They've done themselves exactly zero favors by losing this contest.
However, the only thing the Cadets can do is move on and learn from this game.
There are quite a few lessons:
Eliminate the special teams turnovers that resulted in a safety and prevented the team from getting the ball back in the fourth quarter.
Eliminate the poor clock management that resulted in burnt timeouts late in the game and unnecessary penalties in the first half.
Get Bradshaw more acclimated to the option so he can spread the ball out more.
And please: do something, ANYTHING, about this defense.
Yes, it's the first game of the season and mistakes will happen. But Army's made a habit of making mistakes year in, year out for a long time.
And there's little this game showed to prove that won't be the case yet again for the Black Knights.