Only two of the three service academies were in action on Saturday with Air Force having a bye week, but you could say it was a pretty successful afternoon as Army dealt Hawaii its first loss of the season and Navy got its offense rolling against FCS opponent Lehigh. Let’s take a look back at the weekend’s action and dish out some CIC MVPs.
Hawaii couldn’t find the continuous offensive success they found two weeks earlier against Navy. The teams traded repetitive offensive touchdowns in the first half as star ‘Bows receiver John Ursua found the endzone in each of the first two quarters sandwiched between two one yard rushing touchdowns for Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins. This would keep the game gridlocked until late in the second quarter, when the Black Knights got a huge 48-yard touchdown run from junior Connor Slomka to break the 14-14 deadlock.
This game went mostly as expected offensively for both teams, as Hawaii gained just 41 yards on 13 attempts on the ground, while racking up 321 yards through the air, as Cole McDonald found Ursua for a pair of touchdowns. Army gained 303 yards on the ground, but it was the arm of Kelvin Hopkins Jr. that made the difference. With Hurricane Florence a few states away dumping rain on Hopkins’ hometown of Charlotte, N.C., the junior went six-of-ten through the air for 162 yards to go with his two touchdown runs from the one-yard line. In all, Hopkins rushed 20 times for 110 yards, becoming the first Army quarterback since Chris Carter in 2015 to pass and rush for over 100 yards in a game. Darnell Woolfolk continued his solid start to the season, adding 70 yards on 19 carries.
The story of the game was the Army defense, which held the Rainbow Warriors to just 45 snaps, and kept Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald mostly contained through the air, holding on late with a deflection by linebacker Cole Christiansen that sealed the game. Kenneth Brinson led the team with six tackles, including two sacks and two tackles for loss while James Nachtigal added five tackles and had the Knights other sack on McDonald.
Offensive Player of the Game: Kelvin Hopkins Jr.
Hopkins did it all Saturday, running for 5.5 yards per carry, gaining 162 yards though the air on his six completions, and keeping the ball out of the hands of Hawaii’s playmakers late in the game.
Defensive Player of the Game: Kenneth Brinson
Brinson filled up the box score with two sacks and six tackles, and it was his pressure on McDonald all day that kept the talented quarterback from settling in and allowed the Army defense to get the one last stop they needed.
Special Teams Player of the Game: Nick Schrage
Schrage only punted once, but it was the special teams play of the day. Down 7-0 early, Army struggled getting the offense rolling and was forced to punt on 4th and 9 from their own 26 when Schrage booted a 62-yard punt that was downed at the Hawaii 12. The Black Knights held Hawaii on downs and then scored touchdowns on their next three possessions.
Fresh off a come-from-behind fun-as-heck win over Memphis last weekend, Navy had no such trouble with the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, leading 34-7 at the half enroute to a 51-21 victory in Annapolis.
Malcolm Perry dazzled again for the Mids as they rolled to victory. The junior ran for three scores and totaled 223 yards on the ground on 19 carries. Myles Fells added a 52-yard touchdown run, and in all Navy gained 484 yards on 62 rushes for a 7.8 yards per carry average. Nine players ran for more than 10 yards in total, and sophomore CJ Williams had three receptions for 104 yards. In all, Navy had 629 yards of total offense, the tenth most in program history, and the most since a triple overtime barnburner against North Texas in 2007.
Lehigh was unable to find any similar success on offense, although they were led by Rashawn Allen with 147 yards on 16 carries. The freshman had a 75-yard scamper early in the first quarter that tied things up 7-7, and another 26-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter. Navy forced five total turnovers, which included Jarid Ryan, Elan Nash, and Jacob Springer each picking off a Brad Mayes pass, and Jarvis Polu and Walter Little both recovering fumbles in the win. Navy has now forced 9 turnovers in its last two games, and will look to continue finding similar success as they take on AAC foe SMU next weekend.
Offensive Player of the Game: Malcolm Perry
After last week, there wasn’t much Malcolm Perry could’ve done to outshine that performance. So, instead, he simply turned in a 223 yard day on the ground with three touchdowns and added 65 yards through the air as the Midshipmen cruised to a 30 point victory. With a trip to SMU next, Perry should have plenty of chances to add to his team-best 497 yards rushing and co-best 6 rushing touchdowns (Zach Abey also has 6 and the pair are each tied for second in the country)
Defensive Player of the Game: Jarvis Polu and Jarid Ryan
With five players forcing turnovers against the Mountain Hawks, giving this to the whole team may be appropriate. But, I don’t make the rules. Still, these are my picks so I am giving the player of the game to both Jarvis Polu and Jarid Ryan. Polu had a tackle, forced fumble, and a recovery to go along with a pass defensed, while Ryan had a tackle, pass defensed, and an interception.
Special Teams Player of the Game: Bennett Moehring
Moehring went 6/6 of PATs and 3/3 on field goals, including a 45 yarder to cap off Navy’s scoring midway through the fourth quarter. 15 points in a game, not too bad.
CIC Weekly Award Winners:
There were some incredible performances from each team, but we can only select one MVP from the offensive, defensive, and special teams sides of the ball, so here you go...
CIC Offensive MVP: Kelvin Hopkins, Jr., QB, Army
CIC Defensive MVP: Kenneth Brinson, LB, Army
CIC Special Teams MVP: Bennett Moehring, K, Navy
We could use some help picking the overall CIC MVP for the week, and will leave it to you, the fans and readers to decide. Vote here in the poll below as well as on Twitter @AAE_SBN and we will crown an MVP on Tuesday!
Week 3 CIC MVP?
This poll is closed
Kelvin Hopkins, Jr.-QB, Army
Kenneth Brinson-LB, Army
Bennett Moehring-K, Navy