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Quick thoughts: Louisiana-Monroe

Photo by David Crossan/Black Knight Nation

“Five” Army coach Jeff Monken repeated during his postgame press conference following a 17-13 loss at Louisiana-Monroe.

Monken said the story of the Black Knights’ season-opening road setback was five Army turnovers Saturday.

Army still held a 10-point lead (13-3) midway through the fourth quarter. What happened after was stunning The defense, that was winning the game for the Black Knights, parted for Hunter Smith’s 62-yard touchdown with 5:43 left.

The Black Knights appeared to still be in control when quarterback Bryson Daily connected on a 3rd-and-10 pass to move the chains but Marshall’s extra effort after the catch resulted in a fumble and ULM’s recovery.

Still not convinced that ULM receiver Tyler Howell had possession with one foot inbounds on the game-winning touchdown. Monken said Tuesday that “perhaps they didn’t have the same video evidence that we had. They didn’t show many plays of it from the scoreboard but they showed one as they were making the announcement that I thought was pretty compelling evidence but it is what it is.”

Monken continued to say that Army can’t put themselves in a position where a call will determine the game that it should have been more efficient in the red-zone, where the Black Knights registered just two field goals on four possesions.

Figured there would be some growing pains with the new shotgun offense also expected some creativity. For the most part, plays were centered around runs in RPO game and Daily. Daily had 23 of Army’s 50 carries. Monken said Tuesday that there needs to be better distribution in the backfield.

Also, 21 of the Black Knights’ 50 runs were for two or less yards.

Army needs to get the ball in the hands of its playmakers Isaiah Alston, Ay’Jaun Marshall, Miles Stewart and Co. more. Alston was targeted on seven of Army’s 12 official pass attempts ands had three catches for 47 yards with a drop. One pass was intercepted and another not thrown high enough. Marshall averaged 21 yards on three touches (2 rushes, 1 catch). Stewart’s 10-yard run with the second longest by a running back (Marshall had a 36-yard jet sweep).

When we posted a social media poll prior to the game on who would score Army’s first touchdown of the season, didn’t have a defensive player in mind. But as the first half moved on, it was apparent that the Black Knights were going to a scoring boost from the defensive side. Senior cornerback Bo Nicolas-Paul answered with Army’s first pick six since 2020.

This game reminded me of how hard it is to play quarterback at a high level in college football and increased my respect for recent QB’s Tyhier Tyler, Christian Anderson, Jemel Jones and Cade Ballard for their toughness and ability to read defenses.

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