A global pandemic, rapid rescheduling and a chip on their shoulder were more than enough factors to make one wonder what Army’s first game of the season would be like.
But a Saturday afternoon shutout at Michie Stadium against Middle Tennessee State resolved any lingering questions. Jeff Monken’s men won in dominant fashion, easily capturing a 42-0 victory.
The Black Knights’ performance was a true testament to all of their units operating well. At the top of the first quarter an early turnover forced by Cedrick Cunningham, recovered by Jon Rhattigan set them up for their first touchdown of the quarter and gave them momentum for the rest of the game.
Army’s second score of the game capped off a 19 play, 85 yard drive that killed nearly 10 minutes of clock. And again, the touchdown came courtesy of senior Sandon McCoy, who found the end zone three times on Saturday, all by rushing. He finished the day with 15 carries for 50 yards.
Going into the second half, Army led 21-10. Saturday’s match-up was an ideal combination of effective pitches on the part of Christian Anderson and a defense that kept the Blue Raiders’ showman quarterback, Asher O’ Hara, largely bottled up. The Black Knights held the Blue Raiders to a total of just 75 rushing yards.
It’s worth noting Anderson had a less than ideal introduction to Army football last season — his first career start was against Navy where he managed just one rushing touchdown. Now 20 pounds heavier, the quarterback passed for 28 yards and rushed for 52 yards, one of which a 24-yard rush for a touchdown. Army also didn’t lose a fumble vs. MTSU.
Sophomore running back Anthony Adkins played well too, rushing nine times for 36 yards and a score. Freshman Tyrell Robinson paced the rushing attack with nine carries for 94 yards. In all, Army rushed for 340 yards and owned more than 35 minutes of clock.
The Black Knights’ defense made a few plays too, forcing two fumbles and snatching two interceptions, including a 43-yard pick six by Rhattigan that put Army up 35-0.
The Blacks Knights prevented MTSU from putting any points on board and set the tone for the rest of the season.
Next up, Army will take on Louisiana Monroe at home at 1:30 p.m. EST next Saturday.