Sophomore FB Jared Hassin lived up to the hype in his collegiate debut, scoring three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with just 38 seconds left, in Army’s season-opening 31-27 win at Eastern Michigan on Saturday.
The Air Force transfer had a three-yard touchdown run with just under three minutes to play in the first quarter, knotting the game up at 7-7, added another goaline score in the final minute of the first half and capped a dramatic two-minute, 23-second drive in the fourth with a seven-yard dash for the win.
Head coach Rich Ellerson spoke last week about the added offensive options and his hopes of moving the ball around, and I think we saw that in action Saturday — Malcolm Brown led with 134 all-purpose yards, including 68 on 10 rushes. Pat Mealy ran 14 times for 81 yards and a touchdown, Hassin racked up 68 yards, Brian Cobbs — a defensive back in 2009 — added 60 and Trent Steelman, last year’s top rusher, finished with 35.
EMU posted a pretty brief photo gallery from the game — photos taken, I’m guessing, before half of the stadium’s lighting went out. You can at least see the new uniforms in action.
Some of the positives from this game: Army won the turnover battle, 3-1, which is something Ellerson has focused on this preseason… Army converted 9 of 14 third downs (EMU was 6 of 11)… Alex Carlton hit a 42-yard field goal into the wind (after missing a 41-yarder) … Steelman was sacked only once and threw for 65 yards. He also recovered a bad pitch in the final drive, avoiding a loss and turnover… Cobbs showed his speed with a 39-yard run; he was one of two hoping to provide big-play potential this year…senior captain Stephen Anderson led Army with 10 tackles, which is a great sign as he returns from knee surgery… Josh McNary didn’t add to his Academy-record sack total but finished second on the D with eight stops.
The bad news, as the Record reports, is the injuries to linebackers Nate Combs (who was filling in for Andrew Rodriguez), Steve Erzinger and then Sean Westphal, who filled in for Erzinger. Hopefully none of them are too serious… Army took seven penalties, while EMU had none. One killer one came after Hassin’s second touchdown, a personal foul call that bumped back kicker Matt Campbell and eventually left EMU with great field position. It took the Eagles just 22 seconds to score.
West Point has a much more detailed recap of the game’s action. Also news today that Athletic Director Kevin Anderson is joining Maryland — Anderson will join Ohio State’s Gene Smith, Virginia’s Craig Littlepage and Syracuse’s Daryl Gross as the only African-American AD’s at the 66 BCS-level schools.
And guess who Anderson and Maryland open up against on Monday night? Navy.