What We Learned From the Independents During Week Three

This was truly an interesting week for independent football. Let’s talk about it, shall we?

Army Played Hawai’i and It Was As Good As I Hoped

Kelvin Hopkins showed that he can be the running quarterback who is also a reliable passer” that Army has been waiting for since… a good long while ago.

His adept timing and touch gave the Black Knights just enough to hold off a potent Hawai’i offense that saw Cole McDonald throw for another 30 yards and multiple touchdowns.

Army will get little time for enjoyment as they now must hit the road against powerful Oklahoma and their arch-nemesis Buffalo, followed by some much more winnable games.

Hawai’i meanwhile will head home to take out their frustrations on Duquesne and San Jose State. There’s a very high likelihood that the Rainbow Warriors will end this month on the brink of bowl eligibility.

UMass is Further Away Than We Thought

After their opening week drubbing, they’ve now lost three straight. Getting outscored 55-21 by Boston College wasn’t the most surprising thing in the world, but they’ve now also been outscored 97-37 against Georgia Southern and Florida International.

The flaw is obvious; BC, GaSo and FIU have run for a total of 935 yards against the Minutemen defense, and they will continue to face potent offenses in the coming weeks with Charlotte, Ohio and USF on the board.

They’ve had flashes of positives, but if they can’t get their rush defense in gear this season will get very long very quickly, and they can kiss Mark Whipple goodbye.

The Josh Adkins Era Is About to Begin, I Guess

New Mexico State faced off at home against one of their two rivals, New Mexico. Four minutes into the game, the Aggies led 14-0. At the end of one quarter, Matt Romero was 5-for-7 for 55 yards plus a two-yard rushing touchdown and it was 17-7 NMSU.

In the second quarter:

  • Romero went 4-for-6 for 20 yards and 2 INT and got benched
  • Nick Jeanty came in and went: 6-yard completion, incomplete, incomplete, incomplete, incomplete, interception. He got benched.

Josh Adkins came in to play the second half and played well, but the fourth quarter saw him get the Aggies into the red zone and then throw an interception, followed by another interception that was returned for a game-sealing defensive touchdown.

Adkins had his warts, but I think it’s clear at this point that New Mexico State has three quarterbacks on their roster.

  • Matt Romero is the most physically gifted quarterback on the roster but doesn’t know the offense well enough. He is now 72-for-131 (55%) for 609 yards, 2 TD and 6 INT.
  • Nick Jeanty is a senior who probably knows the offense inside and out, but has a limited skill set especially when it comes to throwing a reliable deep ball. He’s gotten little beyond garbage time snaps since his freshman season for a reason.
  • Josh Adkins is a freshman and is green, but is the only one who is nowhere near his ceiling yet.

The Aggies are now 0-4 heading into a must-win game on the road against hapless UTEP, and they need to play the quarterback who gives them the best chance to win. I don’t think that quarterback is Romero or Jeanty right now, and it’s fair to give Adkins a chance against a team like UTEP where his margin for error should be a bit bigger.

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