After coming off a nail biting win in double overtime last weekend, the Black Knights (6-2) pulled through for their third straight road win, making them bowl eligible for a record third straight season.
With Kelvin Hopkins Jr. back on the field, Army’s passing game showed just how versatile it can be. The junior quarterback completed 7 of 8 passes for 126 yards and 2 TDs on the day. Add in a 105 yard rushing performance, and the 100/100 balance was certainly a recipe for success for the Black Knights.
Army currently leads the nation in time of possession, holding the ball for 39:13 and this afternoon in Ypsilanti, Michigan was no different, as the Black Knights held onto the ball for more than 45 minutes of the game. That’s over three quarters for those keeping score at home.
The key for the Eagles was to keep the Black Knights out of the red zone. However, Army consistently found its way on the EMU side of the field. Max Crosby forced an Army FG by John Abercrombie in the 1st quarter on Army’s opening drive. The former sprint football player would follow that up with his second and third field goals of the day in the second quarter before a 13 yard run by Hopkins set up Jordan Asberry for a three yard TD late in the first half.
Eastern Michigan struggled to find their rhythm in the first half, going three and out on their first four possessions of the game, and totaling 18 yards with zero first downs through two quarters.
The Black Knights offense, however, scored points on each of their first half drives, taking it to the locker room with the score 16-0 after 30 minutes.
Matthew Sexton scored a 4-yard TD to get the Eagles on the map at the start of the second half. In a smart move by EMU, which turned into an aggressive trend, Issac Holder was able to complete the Philly Special play as he through the 2-point conversion to QB Tyler Wiegers to make the score 16-8.
Folling an Army punt, Wiegers would find Blake Banham on a 58 yard TD strike to bring the Eagles within two, 16-14, after they failed to convert a second two point conversion.
Army would follow that up with Hopkins first passing touchdown of the game, a 26 yard strike to Asberry, who added a receiving TD to his rushing TD to make the score 23-14. Following a James Nachtigal strip and fumble recovery by Chandler Ramirez, the Black Knights really opened the score up, finishing with a 2 yard pass from Hopkins to Kell Walker on fourth and goal to make it 30-14 with 11 minutes to play. It was the 8th recovered fumble of the season for Army.
Tyler Wiegers tried the running game on the ensuing drive, scrambling 17 yards to the Army one and setting up an easy one yard TD run by Blake Banham to make the score 30-22 following a third two-point conversion attempt, the second one that was successful on the day.
With seven minutes to play, Army put together a 12 play 84 yard drive that took 6:18 off the clock. With an added pushed from the O-Line, Kelvin Hopkins picked up a first down that pretty much sealed the game. Darnell Woolfolk would get his 31st TD run of his career with a 9-yard TD run that put Army ahead 6 more points, making the score 37-22 with just :45 seconds to play.
The Black Knights would finish out the victory, their third straight win on the road, making them bowl eligible for the third year in a row for the first time in program history!