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Takeaways: Army nabs close win against Western Kentucky, 38-35

The Black Knights put up an early fight, but second-half mistakes nearly cost them the game.

NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Army
Army Black Knights running back Braheam Murphy runs in for a touchdown after catching a pass from Christian Anderson during the first half against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Michie Stadium.
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

The Army Black Knights, now 2-0, put up a strong effort against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Saturday, enough to come away with a 38-35 victory — but it wasn’t the smoothest of wins.

Shy of a handful of interceptions and some notable sacks, Army’s saving grace was nearly eclipsing Western Kentucky’s run game with 339 rushing yards and dominating the clock for nearly 40 minutes.

Here’s my rundown and what went right (and what went a bit wrong) during Saturday’s contest:

TAKEAWAYS

No pass rush? No problem.

It’s no secret WKU had Army beat in the passing game. As Joe Kramer discussed in the preview, the strength of their quarterback Bailey Zappe was obvious, but that didn’t dissuade Army’s Marquel Broughton from bringing the heat in the first drive. We’ve already seen a peek at the sacks this defense is capable of, but with this interception being Broughton’s third of his career, it begs the question of just how gutsy can these DB’s get? Unfortunately, what followed was a series of short rushes ending abruptly thanks to a forced fumble on the part of defensive back Jaden Hunter.

Missed Opportunities

Christian Anderson’s early fumble wasn’t the only mistake for Army. The Black Knights’ defense was able to hold the Hilltoppers scoreless for the first quarter but the silence was short-lived. Following Anderson’s 40-yard touchdown pass, WKU responded with a 72-yard touchdown pass of their own. And just as the second quarter was dwindling down, the Army defense failed to cover Zappe, which meant an easy 10-yard score for the Houston Baptist transfer. This kicked the Hilltoppers in high gear, setting them up to move the chains going in into the second half, 21-14. The Black Knights would spend the remainder of the contest just one play ahead from losing their lead.

The Anderson Show

With Tyhier Tyler out with an injury, Army’s quarterback roulette landed on Christian Anderson, who showed out with a career-high of 119 rushing yards on 22 carries and completed 5-of-6 passes. His notable 40-yard touchdown pass was the second of the season — which is quite the start for the senior.

What’s Next: UConn

Where: Michie Stadium, West Point

Watch: CBS Sports Network

When: Saturday, September 18 at 12:00 pm EST