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THREE KEYS REVISITED: ARMY VS. NORTH TEXAS

Army closed out the season with a bang, beating North Texas in overtime in the Heart of Dallas Bowl

Here is a look back at the three keys to beating the Mean Green:

1) Stop Jeffery Wilson – Pass

When Army and North Texas played earlier in the season, UNT running back Jeffrey Wilson had by far his biggest game of the year. The junior rushed for 160 yards and three touchdowns in that game, particularly hurting Army on long runs after breaking loose into the Black Knights secondary.

This time out Army had a much better game plan for Wilson. The Mean Green’s best player was held to 81 yards and a score on 20 carries, though he did also pick up another touchdown on a 22-yard screen play. The biggest difference between the two contests was simply more assured tackling, as the Army defensive players worked hard to wrap Wilson up on first contact and not allow him any creases to turn on the jets and break off huge chunk plays.

2) Do not turn the ball over – Pass

Army won the turnover battle here as the Black Knights took the ball away from North Texas twice and only gave it up once. This is obviously far better than in the original fixture between the two schools this season where Army turned the ball over an incredible seven times.

The Army turnover came on special teams where a fumbled punt return by Malik McGue gave UNT the ball back with the Black Knights up 31-21 late in the third quarter and seemingly on the cusp of breaking the game open. While it did not cost Army in the long run, it is still the kind of mistake that Jeff Monken will need to clean up if Army is going to be able to push on and improve on its 8-5 record in 2017.

3) Run the ball decisively – Pass

Army was rushing for almost 328 yards per game heading into this one and there was always the expectation that the Black Knights would be able to move the ball on the ground against North Texas as long as they held onto the ball. Even those buying into that school of thought though would have been impressed with just how dominant Army was on the ground in this 38-31 victory.

Army ran the ball an almost ridiculous 74 times for 480 yards and six touchdowns. Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw went for 129 yards and a touchdown, while fullback Darnell Woolfolk had one of his best games in an Army uniform as he rushed for 119 yards and two scores on 22 carries. Army tried just four passes total on the day as Monken fully bought into the plan to run the ball at UNT until the Mean Green was able to prove they could stop the run.

They never did.

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  1. ARMY-NAVY 2017 – LET THE HYPE BEGIN | ArmySports.com - June 2, 2017

    […] the West Point Academy upset Navy last December, but that win, followed by a Heart of Dallas Bowl victory over North Texas, gave Army an 8-5 season and all the good feels that come with a season-defining win over the chief […]

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