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Quick thoughts: Delaware State

Photo by Ed Diller/Black Knight Nation

Don’t know if Army’s 57-0 win over Delaware State will serve as a springboard for the season (We’ll find out more at UTSA Friday night) but confidence was one word that was said often during the postgame press conference.

Especially confidence on offense after not scoring a touchdown in the season opener. Army’s home opener was just what the Black Knights’ offense and quarterback Bryson Daily needed.

Daily played one of the more productive and efficient games by a quarterback in the program’s storied history. Still don’t know if Army QB has matched Daily’s three passing touchdowns and two rushing TDs in a game. Researched it back to 1959 and no one.

Watching Daily throw routes in warmups just got the feeling it was going to be a successful day through the air if Army threw the Black Knights passed more than 10 times. Daily was 8-for-11 for 193 yards for an off-the-chart QB rating. Confidence.

Daily’s two deep throws to Isaiah Alston were on the money for touchdowns of 59 and 70 yards. Happy to see Army throw the ball downfield, period.

We’ve repeated on the Black Knight Nation podcast, Alston has been, can be and is the difference maker for this Army offense. His route running is very good. Alston is an exceptional pass catcher. And, he’s a gamebreaker.

Alston became the first Army player to have 135 yards and two touchdown catches since the great Jeremy Trimble in 2007. Pro Football Focus College recognized Alston’s efforts naming him to the first-team offense for Week 2.

Must say was surprised when Army came out with four wide receivers (Alston, Ay’Jaun Marshall, Liam Fortner and Noah Short) to start the game. Thought Army would start a tight end, even though starter Josh Lingenfelter was out with an injury, or an H-back. Was shockingly surprised when Zach Mundell was the first receiver to catch a pass on Army’s second play. In general, the play-calling and personnel showed some creativity that was missing in the opener.

Mundell, who has battled hamstring injuries last season and this preseason, is listed as a quarterback but he was playing slotback toward the end of 2022. Coach Jeff Monken said during the press conference that he wanted to get Mundell’s talents on the field.

Another move was playing Tyson Riley as a tight end/H-back Saturday. Remember co-offensive coordinator Matt Drinkall telling us in the preseason that Riley could play any position on the field with the proper preparation. Riley’s first Army snap came as a tight end his freshman year. He looked like he belonged as a pass catcher with his first touchdown catch for 22 yards and another reception for 16 yards.

From Army’s athletic communications, Saturday’s win was the program’s largest margin of victory in a shout since a 60-0 win over Columbia, Oct. 27, 1956.

The Black Knights’ defense played a close to flawless game with the exception of a few 15-yard personal foul penalties. Linebacker and captain Leo Lowin said Army would have liked to get off the field quicker. Delaware State had three drives or 10 plays or more including a 17-snap possession that chewed up 7 minutes on the clock and ended with Trey Sofia blocking a field goal.

Army’s staff named its players of the Delaware State week – guard Lucas Scott (offense, made his first college start), nose tackle Kyle Lewis (defense, sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery on same play), kicker Cole Talley, special teams, 6 touchbacks on 7 kickoffs), running back Samari Howard and linebacker Noah Nixon (scout team).

Great to see some freshmen make the most out of their playing time including quarterbacks Larry Robinson and Champ Harris and running back Kanye Udoh, who were making their college debuts. Freshmen linebackers Tano Letuli and Elo Modozie were also active playmakers in their time on the field.

Monken said inserting Harris with 29 seconds left in the first half was based on the situation. Gave the plebe an opportunity to run a 1-minute offense. He settled in finding receiver Casey Reynolds for his first two college completions on back-to-back plays, setting up Talley for a 58-yard field goal attempt.

Talley’s kick looked like it had distance but was pushed slightly right. Monken said he wanted Talley to attempt a long kick in a game situation in case a similar scenario unfolds later in the season. Craig Stopa’s record 53-yard field goal (kicked in 1985) may be in jeopardy this season.

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