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Defense breakdown: Western Kentucky

Photo by Edward Diller

Spencer Jones’ football IQ has always made an impression on Army defensive coordinator Nate Woody.

Woody loves Jones’ burst to the football and how he fits in the Black Knights’ scheme.

Injuries kept Jones limited in spring and preseason after he made his first career start in the 2020 Liberty Bowl.

The sophomore linebacker returned to Army’s starting lineup against Western Kentucky Saturday. And, Jones never left the field. He was one of six Army starters to play all 59 defensive snaps in a 38-35 win.

“I was really proud of Spencer,” Woody said during his Thursday virtual press conference. “Being able to get back there out on the field for this first (start) ball game, I bet you he hasn’t had more than six practices since the bowl game.

“To be able to step out there and play the whole game like that, that was good. Does he have to improve? Absolutely. There are some things that we left out there that we have to get better at. But to do the things that he did on such short practice opportunities, I thought was pretty good.”

Jones led Army with six tackles and was credit with his first career snap.

Junior safety Marquel Broughton, senior safety Cedrick Cunningham, junior cornerback Jabari Moore, senior apache Malkelm Morrison and senior linebacker Arik Smith also went the distance for Army.

Turnovers created: 1 (Marquel Broughton, interception, first drive of game)

Third-down defense: Western Kentucky converted 7-of-10 attempts

Penalties: 3, (Personal foul, 12-men on the field, offsides, Jaylen Jacobs)

Western Kentucky 3-and-outs: 1

Western Kentucky starting field position: Western Kentucky 26

Western Kentucky plays of 20 yards or more: 8 (All passing)

Here’s a player breakdown of the 59 snaps (based off DVR)

*S Marquel Broughton (59 plays): 2 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass breakup, 14th career start
*S Cedrick Cunningham (59 plays): 3 tackles, 1 pass breakup, 22nd career start
*LB Spencer Jones (59 plays) 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 2nd career start
*CB Jabari Moore (59 plays): 3 tackles, 2 pass breakups, 14th career start
*Apache Malkelm Morrison (59 plays): 3 tackles, 1 pass breakup, 22nd career start
*LB Arik Smith (59 plays): 4 tackles, 2 quarterback hurries, 25th career start
*LB Andre Carter (58 plays): 4 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss, 4th career start
*NT Nolan Cockrill (51 plays): 2 tackles, 1 quarterback hurry, 14th career start
*CB Julian McDuffie (45 plays): 5 tackles, 1 pass breakup, 7th career start
*DE Ryan Duran (35 plays): season debut, 6th career start
*DE Kwabena Bonsu (34 plays): 4 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 15th career start
DE Chris Frey (19 plays):
LB Jaylen Jacobs (19 plays): 1 tackle, 0.5 sack, 0.5 tackle for loss
DE Nate Smith (14 plays):
CB Cam Jones (8 plays): 1 tackle
CB Isaiah Morris (6 plays): 1 tackle
NT Darius Richardson (6 plays)

Watch defensive coordinator’s Thursday press conference below

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