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:
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.
Army gets the party started— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 11, 2021
Marquel Broughton comes up BIG for the defense. pic.twitter.com/fOB4G7YoR1
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.
Bailey Zappe with the rushing TD for WKU pic.twitter.com/stfl1dxbrx— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) September 11, 2021
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