Most importantly, the great news Sunday that Army defensive lineman Andre Miller was released from Syracuse’s Upstate Medical Center and returned to West Point.
Hearing Army coach Jeff Monken say Miller had feeling in his extremities and was responded before he was carted off the field after a collision with a teammate in the fourth quarter was a relief.
Football can be so much bigger than wins and losses and Saturday was an example when Army and Syracuse players gathered around Miller, wishing him the best.
Miller posted on his Instagram story Sunday, “Thank you to everyone for the prayers and the amount of support you all had for me was overwhelming and hasn’t gone unnoticed.” Posted with the story is Rod Wave’s song “Long Journey.”
Not sure of the extent of Miller’s injury. Prayers still going out on his recovery.
To the football game (a 29-16 Army loss), Army’s opening 17-play, 75-yard drive ate up the first nine minutes and 25 seconds and was the Black Knights’ longest drive (in terms of time) since a 10-minute, 51-second possession against Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 25, 2021. Bryson Daily completed back-to-back short passes to Noah Short that helped keep the drive going. Surprised Army didn’t go to short passing game in the third quarter when the offense was struggling to advance the ball.
Ranted about this on our recap podcast but hard to believe that Syracuse’s Justin Bannon wasn’t called for unnecessary roughness on his tackle of Army slot receiver Ay’Jaun Marshall in the third quarter. Bannon held onto and ripped Marshall’s right ankle after he was down. Marshall couldn’t place any pressure on his ankle and was helped to the sidelines.
Hope Marshall doesn’t miss much time on a play intentional or not should have been flagged. The game was tied at 10 at the moment. A 15-yard penalty would have put Army in Syracuse territory. Instead, officials decided to talk it up with Syracuse coach Dino Babers while Marshall was being intended to about a previous personal foul on the drive when a Syracuse player tossed Markel Johnson after the whistle.
Daily and top receiver Isaiah Alston didn’t seem to be on the same page early on a few throws. There was some physical play by the Syracuse secondary against Alston that may have contributed to that. Alston caught his first pass in the fourth quarter. Army needed more from Alston and passing game to keep Syracuse honest.
Army’s defense didn’t allow a point in the first quarter for the fourth time in four games. The Black Knights are one of three teams in the nation that are unscored upon in the first quarter this season, joining Louisville and Georgia Southern.
Cam Jones almost gave Army a two-touchdown lead in the first quarter but couldn’t gather a potential Pick Six. That would have been huge.
Army coach Jeff Monken praised Syracuse defensive coordinator Rocky Long is week leading up to the game and rightfully so. Halftime adjustments by Syracuse held Army to minus 4 yards on its first 16 plays of the second half. Babers said Syracuse changed “one thing” defensively in the second half but didn’t elaborate more than that. Looked like the Orange brought an additional player or players into the box to stop Army’s run.
Nate Woody’s defense contained quarterback Garrett Shrader and the Syracuse offense in the first half with The Orange only having one play of more than 20 yards (23 yards on the final drive before Jones’ interception to end the half).
The Black Knights’ defense stopped Syracuse on fourth down on the opening drive of the second half. But, three straight runs up the middle by Army gained a total of 3 yards and the Black Knights couldn’t take advantage of the swing in momentum. Maybe, more creativity there.
Shrader would follow with two passes of 20 yards or more to Damian Alford and add a 21-yard touchdown run.
Time of possession completely flipped. Army held the ball for 23 minutes and 24 seconds of the first half and only nine minutes and 56 seconds of the second half. The Black Knights ran just 23 plays after halftime compared to 44 in the first two quarters.
Tight end Josh Lingenfelter’s first catch of the season was one for the highlight reel. Lingenfelter lost his footing, coming out of a break, recovered and made a diving grab.