Disappointing. Baffling. Confusing.
Just a few words to describe the Black Knights’ third straight loss, 28-21 at Georgia State.
Surprised that Army saved all three timeouts during its final drive. Guess analytics said to play straight through a 3rd-and-4 pitch play that was snuffed out or force Georgia State to use a timeout before the 4th-and-4 call from the Panthers’ 28 with one minute to go.
Some suggested that Army was holding onto the timeouts if the drive failed so it could stop the clock. The way that Georgia State’s offense was moving the chains that theory doesn’t carry any weight.
Back to the fourth-down play, everyone left in the stadium knew that Kelvin Hopkins was likely going to throw to Cam Harrison. The two had connected on four of Army’s six completions. Georgia State’s Quavian White came off his receiver to intercept Hopkins’ pass at the 2-yard line.
The Black Knights needed four yards to keep the drive going yet all four receivers sent out ran deep routes toward the end zone. No receiver sat underneath for a short throw that could have extended the drive. It wasn’t 4th-and-goal.
If there’s one stat to look at as a top reason why the Black Knights have dropped three straight games, it’s third-down defense. Opponents have converted 58.9 percent of their third downs in the last three games. Georgia State was 6-for-10. On the season, Army ranks 123rd on third-down defense, which has been one of its strengths the last few years.
Two trick plays had mixed results for the Black Knights. Sophomore wide receiver Jalen Moy scored on end around from 16 yards in the third quarter. Didn’t get the fake punt attempt on 4th-and-8 from Georgia State 43 on the Black Knights first drive. Zach Potter has done a good job of pinning opponents inside their 20 in his career. So instead of punting, Army had Potter pass to tight end Jake Lauer, who was looking for the ball. The pass fell incomplete, handing Georgia State prime field position. Four plays later, Georgia State scored its first touchdown.