Dick Smoak provided this writeup of the Army - Stanford game to be played at Michie Stadium on September 14. Jack Morrison ('59) is the author and his writeup does not necessarily represent the views of '65 or '15. The game can be seen on CBS Sports starting at Noon.
After last week's 40-12 total meltdown Vs. Ball State, Army must quickly try to re-group Saturday against Stanford at Michie Stadium, 12:00 Noon on CBS Sports.
Stanford is rated from #2 to #5 in the four major National polls. Sagarin has them #3. (Army is #139). Stanford won its first game of the season last week 34-13 vs. neighboring San Jose State (Sagarin #62). SJSU was 11-2 last season, beating Bowling Green in the Military Bowl, 29-20. SJSU was riding an 8-game winning streak coming into the game. Stanford held them to 35 yards rushing and 3-12 on third down conversions. Stanford also had 4 sacks. Stanford scored on their first 3 possesions and was 12-15 on third down conversions. They passed for 207 yards and 2 TDs and rushed for 197 yards. Very balanced. Stanford also had 2 INTs, extending their streak to 25 straight games with an INT. Stanford did not have to punt during the entire game. They only had one fumble and two penalties.Very disciplined against a good Div. 1A school.
ARMY OFFENSE VS. STANFORD DEFENSE
Army's starting QB situation is up for grabs. Junior QB Santiago struggled mightily and was pulled in the 4th Q vs. Ball State. Soph QB Schurr looked good running the Offense, including a nice 33-yard run. He did get called for a delay of the game on the goal line when we couldn't get the play called in time. Coach E says to expect to see both QBs this week. Army rushed for 363 yards, almost its average last season when it led the Nation, but a number of those yards were gained after the game had been already lost. Army also had 3 fumbles. losing 2, and struggled making the correct reads on the Option. FB Dixon has 107 yards rushing, but 71 was in his first carry for a TD. RB Maples gained 84 yards. Army was only 7-20 passing for 76 yards. IMO, Army will have to play the perfect game it played vs. Div. 1AA Morgan State (zero turnovers, zero penalties, few mental mistakes) to even stand a chance against Stanford's Defense.
Stanford's Defense plays a 3-4. The front line is 275lbs, 282 lbs, and 303 lbs. Their LBs are their most experienced unit and are 6'6"- 261 lb., 6'3' - 244 lb, 6'2 -237 lb, and 6'2" - 245 lb.` Army's OTs are only 238 and 243 lb, respectively. Our O Center is 248 lb and our O Guards are 250 lb and 264 lb, respectively. Stanford's LBs are bigger than our O linemen. Their Defense was #5 against the run last year, allowing only 97 yards/game. They return 8 starters from that Defense. The secondary is talented and can cover in man coverage. They are relentless and were very upset about allowing SJSU 14 points. Their goal is always a shut out.
Although Stanford never sees a Triple Option like Army's on the West Coast, I believe they have the personnel and the discipline to hold Army well below our rushing average, I also believe their pass rush and Tackles for Losses will create havoc with our young QB and their Option reads/pitches. I also believe our O line will have difficulty in pass protection against the strong Stanford D.
Stanford Offense vs. Army Defense
Stanford runs a pro-style Offense, but they run multiple sets, probably more than any other college team in the country. Anywhere from an empty backfield shotgun with 5 WRs, to a 3 TE set, to an I-Back in motion, all the way to their Jumbo personnel package where they employ 8 big Offensive linemen, plus a 6'6"- 260 lb TE, a RB and the QB. One big OL plays FB and the other OL plays Wing Back in a power package that they use in short yardage/goal line situations. Army's Defense has had major problems identifying opposing formations and adjusting to them correctly. In fact, on Ball State's 6-yard TD run last week, Army only had 10 Defensive players on the field when there was a lapse in communicatons on substitutions. Stanford's multiple personnel packages will give any Defensive Coordinator nightmares. I expect Army to have several break-downs in recognition on Saturday.
The strongest part of the Stanford Offense is their O Line, arguably the best in the country. They return 4 of 5 starters from last year. They are all tall, rangy, athletic types who can move and are VERY PHYSICAL. They average 305 lbs. Their TE is 6'7 - 270 lbs. Army's D line has had problems stopping the run against big O Lines, and I expect Stanford to dominate the line of scrimmage against Army's smallish D line, whch averages only 238 lbs. It is compounded byArmy's small LBs, who average only 200 lbs.
Stanford's QB is Soph Hogan (6'4" - 220 lb) who is a dual threat to run or pass. He started the last 5 games last year as a Freshman and won 5 straight games, including 4 wins against Top 25 teams. He was 17/27 for 207 yards and 2 TDs last week vs SJSU. They lost a good RB to the NFL but RB Gaffney (6'1" -221 lb), who played Minor league baseball last year, has returned and ran for 104 yards in 20 carries last week. Junior WR Montgomery (6'2" -215 lb) caught 4 passes for 81 yards and a TD last week, but Hogan completed passes to 9 different receivers. Stanford is a very disciplined team that makes few mistakes. They are not flashy on Offense but prefer to just physically dominate the opposition and keep the ball away from the other team's Offense.
Army's smallish Defense is susceptible to the run and has had problems matching up with good receivers, especially in Man coverage. We have also had trouble mounting a pass rush without having to commit LBs. I believe that Stanford's offense will dominate the line of scrimmage and wear down the Army front 7. Army will have to run a lot of stunts/blitzes to get pressure on the Stanford QB, but that will leave our DBs in single coverage against Stanford's multiple receivers.
Army's Special Teams faltered in every phase last week. We had a failed Pooch Kick on the kick-off that gave BS the ball on the 40 yard line. We had a 13 yard punt out-of-bounds. We had KO Returner let 3 KOs land in front of him. We had a KO returner funble the ball on the BS 11 yard line. Special Teams had 4 penalties (2 late hits ou-of=bounds and 2 hit in the back) for 60 yards. Ball State's average possession began outside their 40 yard line. Short field position.
Stanford's PK hit FGs from 40 and 48 yards (he missed from 52) last week. Since Stanford's Punter never had to punt last week, there is no scouting report on him yet.
KEYS TO WINNING:
Stanford is favored by 29.5 points in USA Today. The long trip East and possible over-confidence must hopefully impact Stanford negatively and Army will have to play a perfect game to even make this game close. I expect Stanford's size, discipline and poise will place a lot of pressure on an young Army team in a fragile physchological frame of mind.
Stanford is not a team that will run up 50 or 60 points on an opponent. I also believe that they have a great deal of respect for West point as a sister school with high academic standards and will not try to run up the score. So I don't expect another Nebraska 77-0 defeat. Yet I do believe that Stanford's Defense will shut down Army's Offense at least in terms of scring. While we may gain some yardage, I think they will be able to pretty much keep us out of the end zone. On the other hand, I think that Stanford's experienced O Line will dominate and Stanford will be able to score often against our Defense, which will both wear down and also be unable to cope with the many formations and personnel packages Stanford will throw at them.I predict Stanford 48, Army 10.