2007 Army Black Knights
Army Golden Knights
Posted Jan 21, 2008

2007 Army Black Knights Season Game-By-Game Recaps and More

2007 Army Black Knights

Recap: It's not as if much was expected from Army this season, but when Navy and Air Force grab bowl bids in the same season, it shines a flood light on the Black Knights' ineptitude.  The academy dropped its final six games after climbing to 3-3, none more embarrassing than a sixth consecutive loss to the Middies that added an exclamation point to the growing divide between the two rivals.  Although Army's problems were boundless, an abundance of turnovers and a dreadful run defense were the primary culprits in an 11th losing season in-a-row.     

Offensive Player of the Year: WR Jeremy Trimble

Defensive Player of the Year: S Caleb Campbell

Biggest Surprise: Coming back to beat Tulane, 20-17, in overtime on Oct. 6.  Seemingly headed to a defeat, the Knights went 80 yards in the final 29 seconds of regulation, getting a game-tying, 36-yard touchdown pass from a third-string quarterback as time expired.  It evened Army's record at 3-3, representing a high point in the season for the program.    

Biggest Disappointment: Failing to make Navy even break a sweat in its 38-3 loss on Dec. 1.  Yeah, bowing to the Middies is becoming a habit around West Point, but managing a measly field goal against a bad defense, and losing by double-digits for the sixth straight year is fast becoming unacceptable.        

Looking Ahead: First-year head coach Stan Brock is open to any and all changes that he can adopt with the constraints of working at a service academy.  The Black Knights might want to consider more use of the triple-option, which has helped Army and Navy bridge the wedge between themselves and deeper opponents. 

- 2007 Army Preview
2006 Army Season

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record: 3-8

Sept. 1 at Akron L 22-14
Sept. 8
R. Island W 14-7 OT
Sept. 15 at Wake Forest L 21-10
Sept. 22 at Boston Coll L 37-17
Sept. 29
Temple W 37-21
Oct. 6 Tulane W 20-17 OT
Oct. 13 at Central Mich
L 47-23
Oct. 20 at Ga Tech L 34-10
Nov. 3 at Air Force L 30-10
Nov. 9
Rutgers L 41-6
Nov. 17 Tulsa L 49-39
Dec. 1 at Navy L 38-3

Dec. 1
Navy 38 ... Army 3
Navy dominated throughout with Reggie Campbell running for a 12-yard score and answering Army's only score, a 28-yard Owen Tolson second quarter field goal, with a 98-yard return for a touchdown. Zerbin Singleton started off the scoring with a 38-yard run late in the first quarter, and Shun White and Jarod Bryant each ran for one-yard scores. Army only converted one of 12 third down chances and had the ball for a mere 4:06 in the fourth quarter.
Player of the game: Navy RB Reggie Campbell ran five times for 47 yards and a touchdown, caught a pass for nine yards, returned three punts for 73 yards, and returned a kickoff for a 98-yard touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Navy - Passing:
Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, 2-5, 7 yds
Rushing: Adam Ballard, 13-56. Receiving: Reggie Campbell, 1-9
Army - Passing: Carson Williams, 12-21, 117 yds
Tony Dace, 28-104. Receiving: Corey Anderson, 3-32

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Nothing worked for Army. Navy is getting thrown on by everyone, but the Black Knights failed to get the passing game going, Jeremy Trimble caught just one pass for five yards, and the offense was miserable on third downs. For the most part, the defense did a nice job against the Navy running game. It got pounded on in the fourth quarter, but yet another loss in the rivalry could hardly be blamed on the D. Tony Dace ran for yards, but wasn't effective. Once again, Army saw just how far it needs to go.

Nov. 17
Tulsa 49 ... Army 39
Tulsa's offense was humming all cylinders with 622 yards, but the outcome was in doubt until Paul Smith ran for a one-yard score with 1:33 to play. Smith added touchdown passes from 50 yards out to Brennan Marion, with ten seconds to play in the first half, and from 15 yards out to Trae Johnson in the fourth quarter to keep up with the Army passing attack. Carson Williams threw for a career-high 328 yards with three touchdown passes including two to Jeremy Trimble. A nine-yard Tony Dace run pulled the Black Knights within three, but Army lost a fumble on a late drive leading to the Smith score. Caleb Campbell made 16 tackles for Army, while Alain Karatepeyan led the way with 15 stops for the Golden Hurricane.
Player of the game: Tulsa QB Paul Smith completed 22 of 32 passes for 390 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score.
Stat Leaders: Tulsa - Passing: Paul Smith, 22-32, 390 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Tarrion Adams, 17-118, 2 TD. Receiving: Trae Johnson, 9-119, 1 TD
Army - Passing: Carson Williams, 26-38, 328 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Tony Dace, 14-69, 1 TD. Receiving: Jeremy Trimble, 11-167, 2 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Army might have given up 622 yards to Tulsa in the loss, and it might have been the team's fifth straight defeat, but there was one major positive: the passing game. After throwing for just 44 yards in the loss to Rutgers, Carlton Williams aired it out for 328 yards and three touchdowns showing the potential that makes him one of the best-looking passing prospects in Army history. Jeremy Trimble made history becoming the school's all-time leading receiver with 11 catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns. He should light up the horrible Navy secondary like a Christmas tree.

Nov. 9
Rutgers 41 ... Army 6
Ray Rice set a school-record with 243 rushing yards, with touchdown runs from 18 and three yards out, and QB Jabu Lovelace ran for scores from three and two yards out, in an easy win for the Scarlet Knights. Lovelace score his first touchdown on Rutgers' opening drive, but Army was able to come back quickly when Mike Teel, who stepped in for Lovelace despite having an injured thumb, threw the ball to Josh Mitchell who returned the pick 65 yards for a touchdown. That would be all the fun the Black Knights would have, as Adam DeMarco missed the extra point, Rutgers' Colin McEvoy returned a blocked punt for a score, and the rout was on. Army turned it over five times with four fumbles.
Player of the game: Rutgers RB Ray Rice ran 34 times for 243 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Rutgers - Passing: Jabu Lovelace, 2-8, 28 yds
Rushing: Ray Rice, 34-243, 2 TD. Receiving: Kenny Britt, 2-30
Army - Passing: Carlton Williams, 5-16, 44 yds, 1 INT
Ian Smith, 3-53. Receiving: Jeremy Trimble, 3-32

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Army was going to need to be perfect to have a shot against Rutgers, and it wasn't, turning the ball over five times, going 0 for 11 on third downs, and failing to build on the momentum of the early pick six from Colin McEvoy. Caleb Campbell had a great day, but it wasn't a positive that he had to make stop after stop; the defensive front didn't hold up. Even against a team like Rutgers, Carlton Mitchell has to throw better. Granted, his receivers were rarely open, but there's no excuse for completing just five of 16 passes.

Nov. 3
Georgia Tech 34 ... Army 10
Georgia Tech had few problems with Army, cranking out 510 yards of total offense, getting past a 10-10 first half tie to score the final 24 points of the game, but top running back Tashard Choice, who scored on a one-yard run in the first half, was lost to a knee injury. The rest of the offense picked up the slack, with Rashaun Grant running for a 24-yard score and Jonathan Dwyer and Jamaal Evans each running for short scores. Army got its touchdown on a 27-yard Jeremy Trimble catch.
Player of the game: Georgia Tech RB Rashaun Grant ran 11 times for 119 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Georgia Tech - Passing: Taylor Bennett, 13-24, 207 yds
Rushing: Rashaun Grant, 11-119, 1 TD. Receiving: Greg Smith, 4-61
Army - Passing: Carson Williams, 9-23, 124 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Patrick Mealy, 18-86. Receiving: Jeremy Trimble, 4-83, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Carson Williams continues to struggle. The Georgia Tech defense is hardly one to have a big day against, but Williams, coming off a three interception day against Central Michigan, threw three more picks this week and only completed nine of 23 passes. Patrick Mealy and the running game worked well, but if Army is going to get better, Williams has to improve his efficiency.

Oct. 20
Georgia Tech 34 ... Army 10
Georgia Tech had few problems with Army, cranking out 510 yards of total offense, getting past a 10-10 first half tie to score the final 24 points of the game, but top running back Tashard Choice, who scored on a one-yard run in the first half, was lost to a knee injury. The rest of the offense picked up the slack, with Rashaun Grant running for a 24-yard score and Jonathan Dwyer and Jamaal Evans each running for short scores. Army got its touchdown on a 27-yard Jeremy Trimble catch.
Player of the game: Georgia Tech RB Rashaun Grant ran 11 times for 119 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Georgia Tech - Passing: Taylor Bennett, 13-24, 207 yds
Rushing: Rashaun Grant, 11-119, 1 TD. Receiving: Greg Smith, 4-61
Army - Passing: Carson Williams, 9-23, 124 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Patrick Mealy, 18-86. Receiving: Jeremy Trimble, 4-83, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Carson Williams continues to struggle. The Georgia Tech defense is hardly one to have a big day against, but Williams, coming off a three interception day against Central Michigan, threw three more picks this week and only completed nine of 23 passes. Patrick Mealy and the running game worked well, but if Army is going to get better, Williams has to improve his efficiency.

Oct. 13
Central Michigan 47 ... Army 23
Dan LeFevour ran for touchdowns from one, 17, four and five yards out, and threw first half scoring passes to Bryan Anderson and Justin Hoskins as CMU rolled to a 33-9 lead and cruised from there. Army had its moments thanks to a huge day from Jeremy Trimble, who caught touchdown passes from eight and 21 yards out, and finished with 169 receiving yards, but it wasn't nearly enough. CMU forced seven turnovers, with five interceptions, including three and a 15-yard pick six from Josh Gordy.
Player of the game: Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour completed 30 of 39 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and ran 14 times for 100 yards and four touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Central Michigan - Passing: Dan LeFevour, 30-39, 251 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Dan LeFevour, 14-100, 4 TD. Receiving: Antonio Brown, 8-69
Army - Passing: Carson Williams, 18-23, 201 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Tony Dace, 14-46. Receiving: Jeremy Trimble, 11-169, 2 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Army can't turn it over to have any shot against teams like Central Michigan, Giving it away seven times means a blowout for anyone, but especially for a Black Knight defense that can't hold up when dealing with short field after short field. On the plus side, Jeremy Trimble once again showed what a weapon he can be with an 11-catch, 168-yard, two touchdown day. His emergence has allowed Carson Williams to progress. Williams had an interesting day, misfiring on just five of 23 throws, but three of them went for picks.

Oct. 6
Army 20 ... Tulane 17 OT
The Army comeback became complete with Owen Tolson hit a 25-yard field goal in overtime, and then Tulane's Ross Thevenot missed a 34-yard try wile left. The Green Wave dominated, outgaining Army 401 yards to 240, thanks to a huge day from Matt Forte, who outgained the Black Knights by himself with 247 total yards and touchdown runs from two and 33 yards out. But Army came back in the fourth quarter with a 36-yard Tolson field goal and a 36-yard Mike Wright touchdown catch as time ran out to force overtime.
Player of the game: In the loss, Tulane RB Matt Forte rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, adding five catches for 45 yards.
Stat Leaders: Tulane - Passing: Anthony Scelfo, 24-41, 154 yds
Rushing: Matt Forte, 32-202, 2 TDs. Receiving: Matt Forte, 5-45
Army - Passing: Carson Williams, 15-21, 113 yds, 1 TD
Patrick Mealy, 15-41. Receiving: Jeremy Trimble, 5-55, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Is Kevin Dunn the new main man? With David Pevoto and Carson Williams hurt, Dunn stepped in and delivered against Tulane in the fourth quarter, highlighted by an 80-yard touchdown drive in 29 seconds to force overtime. The running game was non-existent, and the O line couldn't come up with a lick of pass protection, but the Black Knights got the win and now are 3-3 going into the Central Michigan game.

Sept. 29
Army 37 ... Temple 21
Army only gained 329 yards of total offense, but started off the game with an 88-yard kickoff return for a score from Corey Anderson, got a fumble recovery in the end zone, and got an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown from Jeremy Trimble. Temple managed to tie it at 21 going into halftime, thanks to a 27-yard Bruce Francis touchdown catch and two Jason Harper scores. But five turnovers and a slew of penalties ended up proving to be too costly. Trimble put the nail in the coffin with a 69-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth.
Player of the game: Army WR Jeremy Trimble had five catches for 125 yards and a touchdown, two carries for five yards, and three punt returns for 128 and another score .
Stat Leaders: Temple - Passing: Adam DiMichele, 23-42, 314 yds, 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Rushing: Jason Harper, 24-71, 1 TD. Receiving: Bruce Francis, 6-133, 1 TD
Army  - Passing: Carson Williams, 11-26, 175 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Patrick Mealy, 17-49. Receiving: Jeremy Trimble, 5-125, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It wasn't pretty, but Army will take wins any way it can get them. The defense couldn't handle the Temple passing game, but five takeaways and scores coming from a variety of places helped to overcome the mistakes. There was no running game, Carson Williams didn't throw particularly well, and there wasn't any consistency on either side of the ball, but a win is a win is a win. Head coach Stan Brock makes a big deal of trying to go 1-0 every week, and Army did that.

Sept. 22
Boston College 37 ... Army 17
After a lackluster first half, Boston College turned it on to get two second half touchdown passes from Matt Ryan, and following an 11-yard interception return for a score from Army's Brian Chmura, got a 66-yard Andre Callender touchdown run to put it away. The Eagles got up 16-0, helped by a one-yard Ryan run and a 22-yard scoring pass to Rich Gunnell, but Army got back in the game before halftime with a seven-yard Wesley McMahand touchdown run and a 26-yard Own Tolson field goal. The Eagles ended up outgaining Army 202 yard to 44 on the ground, and 573 yards to 259 overall.
Player of the game: Boston College QB Matt Ryan went 35-of-51 for 356 yards, three touchdown passes and two interceptions.
Stat Leaders: Army - Passing: Carson Williams, 15-32, 191 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Patrick Mealy, 9-27. Receiving: Damion Hunter, 4-37
Boston College - Passing: Matt Ryan, 35-51, 356 yds, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
Andre Callender, 9-87, 1 TD. Receiving: Kevin Challenger, 9-104

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Army defense couldn't handle Boston College once the light went on for Matt Ryan and the Eagles, but it was still a good effort by the Black Knights. Carson Williams is still struggling with his accuracy, and there's no running game to take the pressure off. The defense had to make big plays to stay in the game, and it did, but not the offense has to help the cause with a few long drives and more early scores. Against Temple, Tulane and Central Michigan over the next few weeks, there's no excuse for Army to not win at least two of them if the D plays like it did in the first half against BC.

Sept. 15
Wake Forest 21 ... Army 10
Wake Forest's offense struggled, but the defense and special teams came through as Kenneth Moore returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown and Josh Adams ran for a ten-yard score. Army cut the lead to seven with a three-yard Mike Viti touchdown run, but the Demon Deacons would put it away at the end of the half with an 84-yard Aaron Curry interception return for a score. Each team turned it over three times.

Player of the game:
Wake Forest FS Chip Vaughn made 11 tackles and broke up a pass.
Stat Leaders: Army - Passing: Carson Williams, 14-34, 165 yds, 2 INTs
Rushing: Wesley McMahand, 11-45. Receiving: Corey Anderson, 4-66
Wake Forest - Passing: Brett Hodges, 9-12, 49 yds
Josh Adams, 9-64, 1 TD. Receiving: Kenneth Moore, 5-26
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Army's defense came up with a tremendous performance against Wake Forest, and despite being 1-2, has shown good toughness so far and should be more than just a pushover for most. Unfortunately, the consistency on offense simply isn't there. It's going to take a lot of time before QB Carson Williams becomes a major playmaker, but he has shown glimpses of talent. The offense has to keep working to revolve around him.

Sept. 8
Army 14 ... Rhode Island 7 OT
Army got a 25-yard touchdown catch from Justin Larson on the first play of overtime, and then held as Rhode Island couldn't score after getting down to the four. Tim Allen started off the scoring for URI with a five-yard run for a 7-0 halftime lead, and Army got its touchdown on a two-yard Mike Viti run in the third. Each team had chances to end the game in regulation, but missed field goals.
Player of the game: Army QB Carson Williams threw for 148 yards and the game-winning touchdown on 12-of-20 passing.
Stat Leaders: Rhode Island - Passing: Derek Cassidy, 11-13, 145 yds
Rushing: Joe Casey, 27-107. Receiving: Shawn Leonard, 8-113
Army - Passing: Carson Williams, 12-20, 148 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Wesley McMahand, 14-44. Receiving: Jeremy Trimble, 7-48
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Uh oh. The one positive about the overtime win over Rhode Island, besides the win, was the play of QB Carson Williams in place of an injured David Pevoto. Outside of that, there's a lot to be concerned about with a tough two-game road trip to Wake Forest and Boston College ahead. There's no running game, averaging 1.6 yards per carry with just 46 net yards, the offensive line was porous, and the defense was outplayed. Again, it was a win, the first in the Stan Brock era, but it also showed how far the team has to go.

Sept. 1
Akron 22 ... Army 14
Akron scored the first nine points of the game as a big opening kickoff return set up a 23-yard Igor Iveljic field goal and Reggie Corner picked off a pass for a 74-yard score. Army answered with a three-yard Wesley McMahand touchdown run, but the Zips came right back with two more Iveljic field goals and a 19-yard Jabari Arthur touchdown catch. Army finally got back on the board in the final minute with a blocked punt for a score.
Player of the game: Akron WR Jabari Arthur caught 11 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Army- Passing: David Pevoto, 23-43, 184 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Wesley McMahand, 21-84, 1 TD. Receiving: Jeremy Trimble, 7-70
Akron - Passing: Chris Jacquemain, 14-24, 125 yds, 1 TD
Dennis Kennedy, 13-72. Receiving: Jabari Arthur, 11-125, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Army got a decent day from Wesley McMahand and the ground game against Akron, and the defense held up well against the Zip running attack, but the passing wasn't there. David Pevoto got the nod over Carson Williams, and he struggled with just 184 yards on 43 attempts. To be fair, the line didn't do much to protect him. That has to be worked on against Rhode Island next week before going on the road to face Wake Forest and Boston College.

Sept. 1 – at Akron
Offense: The offense was a major disappointment last season with almost no production from a veteran offensive line and too much of a reliance on the passing game. Now the running game, with a good 1-2 punch of Dennis Kennedy and Andre Walker, should provide more pop, but the the line, with four new starters, has to be far better. The quarterback situation will be unsettled going into the fall with Carlton Jackson, Chris Jaquemain, and Sean Hakes all in the race. The receiving corps is fast and experienced, and now everyone has to play beyond their talent level to help out whoever the new passer will be.
Defense: The 3-3-5 defense of Jim Fleming was excellent last year, and it should be even better with eight starters returning and the right pieces in place. To run this type of defense, you need big linemen. Check. The Zips have 300-pounders in a rotation at tackle and big size at the other two spots. You need playmaking linebackers. Check. Three starters return with excellent depth to rotate in. You also need a secondary to hold it's own. Not a problem. Four starters return in the back five led by veteran corners Reggie Corner and Davanzo Tate.

Sept. 8 – Rhode Island

Sept. 15 – at Wake Forest
Offense: Wake Forest will never come out and outbomb anyone, but it'll run effectively behind a veteran offensive line, get the timely passes when needed, and won't screw up. The attack only averaged 21.6 points per game and was 96th in the nation in offense, but there were only 15 giveaways. QB Riley Skinner is back after helping the offense lead the ACC in passing efficiency, but everything will revolve around the ground game with several good runners and four starters returning up front. The receiving corps will be an issue needing to move 2006's leading rusher, Kenneth Moore, back to his natural receiver position.
Defense: The D could be even better than last year when it was solid at bending but rarely breaking finishing 12th in the nation in scoring defense. There's not a Jon Abbate to rely on, and a few key defensive backs need to be replaced, but there's plenty of experience everywhere and lots of speed and athleticism in the secondary. There needs to be more pass rush from the defensive front and there could stand to be fewer big plays allowed against the pass, but the overall production should be solid.

Sept. 22 – at Boston College
Offense: It's Matt Ryan's offense and everyone is just playing in it. The new coaching staff will install a new zone blocking scheme, putting a premium on quick, flashy runners, but the line might not be suited for the system. The receiving corps is decent, but nothing special, and the tight ends are promising. It all comes down to Ryan, who'll have more control in the attack, able to change things up a bit on the fly, and he should be tremendous now that he's healthy. He was the best quarterback in the ACC last year, and that was with a broken foot.
Defense: Is it time to start giving the BC defense a little love? It allowed 17 points per game in 2004, 15.92 in 2005, and 15.69 last year. With defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani back, it should be even better with nine starters returning including the entire front seven if linebacker Brian Toal is back from a shoulder problem. The monster tackles, B.J. Raji and Ron Brace, will gum up everything inside, while the deep linebacking corps will quietly be among the ACC's best. DeJuan Tribble is one of the league's best shutdown corners, and Jamie Silva is a top free safety. The problem? There isn't a reliable second corner, and strong safety is a question mark.

Sept. 29 - Temple
Offense: There was a little bit of improvement; the offense averaged 10.92 points per game after averaging 9.73 in 2005. There's plenty of experience and a major infusion of talent at running back and receiver, but can any of them play? The attack will rely on several true freshmen all over the place while praying for a major, major improvement on the offensive line. The quarterback situation is solid with Adam DiMichele and Vaughn Charlton each good enough to start after seeing plenty of time last season. Whatever happens, the offense will average more than a nation's worst 215.67 yards per game.
Defense: The good: The D improved giving up nine fewer yards and four fewer points per game than in 2005. The bad: The Owls were 117th in the nation in total defense and 118th in scoring D. The 2008 version should be tremendous once all the freshmen and sophomores are crusty veterans, but for now, there's good competition at almost every spot with no sure-thing starter. The defensive line should be far better with an instant infusion of talent, while the back seven has potential, especially at linebacker, to make a big jump in production. It would be nice if a true shut-down corner could quickly emerge with the hope that JUCO transfer Tommie Williams will be that guy. Don't expect miracles, but the overall numbers should improve.

Oct. 6 - Tulane
Offense: New head coach Bob Toledo would like to get vertical get the passing game moving, but it's not going to happen at the expense of the ground attack. With a good back in Matt Forte to work with, the Green Wave will try to run the ball to create some semblance of balance, but the offensive line might not be in place to do it. Scott Elliott is the odds-on favorite to win the starting quarterback job in a four-man race, and he has some decent young receivers to work with.
Defense: Tulane hasn't played consistent defense in a few years, and it needs to count on experience, especially up front, to change things around. Eight starters return led by senior tackles Frank Morton and Avery Williams. The secondary needs to be far better after allowing over 250 passing yards a game, but that could be a bit of an issue with two new starting corners being broken in. The new coaching staff will use a variety of formations and schemes to try to get more production, and while the overall defense should be better, there will still be times when it'll get bombed on.

Oct. 13 – at Central Michigan
Defense: Statistically, the defense struggled throughout last year. Actually, it wasn't that bad as many of the numbers came when the game was already decided. This year's D doesn't have a Dan Bazuin up front, but it has Steven Friend leading a group of good tackles, while there should be a good rotation of ends. The linebacking corps gets better with Ike Brown back from the knee injury that cost him almost all of last year, while the secondary gets three starters back, along with promising corner Chaz West. This won't be a rock of a defense, but it'll be good enough to win another title with.
Offense: Thanks to the emergence of quarterback Dan LeFevour, the offense went from decent to ultra-efficient, leading the MAC in yards and scoring. The passing game became fantastic, and the ground game, while not always getting enough from the backs, hit home run after home run. Now there will be more running from the backs, especially Ontario Sneed and Notre Dame transfer Justin Hoskins, and less running from LeFevour. The receiving corps is good enough for LeFevour to spread the ball around to several different targets. The line won't be as good as last year, after losing two key starters, but it'll be fine.

Oct. 20 – at Georgia Tech
Offense: Is it possible an offense can lose the offensive coordinator, a sure-fire NFL superstar and a four-year starting quarterback and be better? Absolutely. Calvin Johnson's departure will sting, but the passing game should be even better with Taylor Bennett (or any one of a slew of terrific prospects) taking over for Reggie Ball. Patrick Nix left to take over the Miami offense, but John Bond is a veteran who did a good job with the Northern Illinois program for the last three years. James Johnson will be a decent number one target, and now someone else has to quickly emerge to take the heat off and give Bennett more options. Tashard Choice is an All-ACC caliber back leading a deep and talented group of runners working behind a fantastic line loaded with experience and
Defense: The defense had two lousy games against Clemson and West Virginia and was solid against everyone else. With just about everyone returning, expect another great year holding almost everyone to under 300 yards and around 20 points. The defensive line will be one of the team's strengths with one of the best groups of ends in America. MLB Philip Wheeler deserves All-America attention while the safety tandem of Jamal Lewis and Djay Jones will be one of the ACC's best. The corners are a bit suspect and the proven linebacker depth is a bit thin, but those aren't glaring problems.

Nov. 3 – at Air Force
Offense: For what seems like the 19th year in a row, Air Force is going to make an attempt to be more diversified and add some passing to the mix. This time, under new offensive coordinator Tim Horton, it might actually happen. Slowly. Running the ball will still be the team's bread-and-butter, but there will be some shotgun, some spread, and a mish-mosh of other offenses to try to get thing moving. Shaun Carney is a good, veteran quarterback to handle all the changes, but he doesn't have much to work with. The receiving corps needs work before it can become a threat, the backfield will be fine in the triple-option, but could struggle in a traditional set, and the offensive line needs to undergo major changes.
Air Force hasn't played defense in about three years and it'll take a major overhaul and a fantastic coaching job by new coordinator Tim DeRuyter to change things up. There's no size, not enough speed, and little in the way of experienced reserves. There has to be some semblance of a pass rush, and the hope will be for the speedy outside linebackers in the 3-4 to generate it. Far more has to be done against the pass. Now for the positives. Drew Fowler is one of the Mountain West's best linebackers and safety Bobby Giannini is a tackling machine.

Nov. 9 - Rutgers
Offense: Although Rutgers is more than content to pound the ball between the tackles 30 times a game with All-America running back Ray Rice, it wouldn't mind a little more offensive balance this year.  Whether that happens depends on the development of junior quarterback Mike Teel who struggled badly last year, but did play his best ball at the end of the year and has a speedy group of receivers needed to author a rebound.  While question marks exist on the interior of the offensive line, the tackle tandem of seniors Pedro Sosa and Jeremy Zuttah is one of the best in the country.
Defense: For Greg Schiano and his Rutgers defense, it's all about creating pressure and turnovers with a variety of different looks to confuse opposing offenses.  Everything came together last year for a unit that had 31 takeaways and allowed just 252 yards and 14 points a game, but five starters need to be replaced.  Senior defensive tackle Eric Foster is a ticking time bomb that exploded on quarterbacks in 2006, en route to All-America recognition.  He's the physical and spiritual leader of a front seven that's noticeably less experienced than last year.  Provided sophomore Devin McCourty can handle the corner spot opposite twin brother Jason, the secondary will rock with the return of all-league safeties, Courtney Greene and Ron Girault.

Nov. 17 - Tulsa
Offense: Can Gus Malzahn's hurry-up, no-huddle offense really work at this level … take two.  All the buzz about Malzahn's fancy playbook fizzled in Fayetteville last year, but unlike at Arkansas, Tulsa coach Tood Graham is on board and prepared to see all of the offense's bell and whistles.  The system aims to control the tempo, physically and mentally wear out opponents, and sort of run a two-minute offense for four quarters.  Senior quarterback Paul Smith is liable to go berserk running this offense, but a makeshift offensive line and a whole new set of receivers will be two major stumbling blocks.  When the Hurricane runs the ball, it'll turn to senior Courtney Tennial and junior Tarrion Adams, arguably the best running duo in Conference USA.   
Defense: Head coach Todd Graham brings the 3-3-5 and a very aggressive style back to Tulsa, where he led the defense from 2003-2005.  The fact that he coached and recruited many of this year's players should make for a smoother-than-expected transition.  Graham will showcase a swarming unit that brings turnovers back to Tulsa.  In his final season as the defensive coordinator, the Hurricane had 36 takeaways.  Without him last year? 14.  The strength is at linebacker, which features three senior starters and Nelson Coleman, one of the nation's best middle linebackers you've never seen play.  With so much over pursuing going on in 2007, a retooled secondary could give up as many big plays this year as it has in the last two combined.

Dec. 1 – at Navy
Offense: Navy led the nation in rushing in 2005, led the nation in rushing in 2006, and will lead the nation in rushing in 2007. What's the difference? The ground game will be terrific as always, but now it'll be truly special with the best combination of backfield talent and experience head coach Paul Johnson has ever had. There won't be any passing game, but it won't matter with a ground attack that can crank out a big run from anywhere on the field. The big concern will be the line with no experience among the backups whatsoever and a shaky starting five if left tackle Josh Meek's injured knee isn't healthy.
Uh oh. Wholesale changes need to be made with only three starters and seven lettermen returning. The best defense will be a good offense needing the ground game to crank out long drives to keep this inexperienced, woefully undersized, untested group off the field. Pass rushers need to emerge with the hope for Chris Kuhar-Pitters and Casey Hebert to turn into playmakers around rising star tackle Nate Frazier. Clint Sovie and Irv Spencer will turn into reliable inside linebackers, but outside linebacker will be a question. The secondary will be a work in progress around solid corner Rashawn King.


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