…And the Army goes rolling along.
Yea that’s really all I can say to describe this one. I thought Army would win, but I said 35-21. I was not expecting what took place on the field this afternoon.
For Army fans everywhere this game was a celebration of the great season that the Black Knights had up to that point. Ten wins was a big deal and I think Army fans would’ve celebrated this team win or lose; then the game happened.
Houston opened the game with a great kick return to set the Cougars up in great field position, but the drive quickly sputtered and Army took over.
The Black Knights did what they’ve done all season, 14 plays, 80 yards, 7:47 off of the clock and a Kelvin Hopkins score (you will see those last three words four more times).
After another Houston punt, Kelvin Hopkins pulled off what could be the run of the year.
So you know when you’re playing NCAA 14 and keep using the juke stick over and over and over again? Yea, that was that run.
The next Houston drive only lasted one play; James Nachtigal hit Houston QB Clayton Tune, the ball game out, Cam Jones picked it up and ran it into the endzone to make it 21-0 one play into the second quarter.
Houston would finally get their first points on a three-yard touchdown pass to Romello Brooker.
The ensuing Army drive would only need three plays before they were in the endzone. On the second play of the drive, Hopkins found WR Kjetil Cline downfield for a 54 yard pick up, the next play was punched in by Kelvin Hopkins from a yard out. That passing play would make Hopkins Army’s first 1,000-yard passer since 2007.
Another Houston punt led to a great return by Akyah Miranda who got it all the way to the Houston eight-yard line. Another Army touchdown didn’t take too long, and it was scored by… yup you guessed it, Kelvin Hopkins, it was his fourth touchdown of the half.
Army wouldn’t be done; after yet another Houston punt, Army marched down the field and capped off the drive with an Artice Hobbs touchdown from 11 yards out.
Going into the half, the Black Knights were up 42-7. Everyone was stunned that Army made it look as easy as they did.
For those wondering.. Army last scored 42 points in the first half against Fordham at Michie Stadium on Oct. 29, 2011.
It was during a snow storm… pic.twitter.com/mEzIoGFomu
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) December 22, 2018
At the half, Nachtigal had three sacks and a forced fumble, those numbers would only get better as the day went on.
Army opened the second half with a record-breaking touchdown. Not only did Kelvin Hopkins score his fifth touchdown of the day(first time since Carlton Jones against USF in 2004), he tied the Academy record for most rushing touchdowns in a season with 17.
On the next Army drive, Kelvin Hopkins would make even more history. On his last play, he had a 34-yard run to make him the first player in Army football history to have 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 passing yards in the same season.
Unfortunately, he hurt his shoulder on that play and wouldn’t return. I talked to him after the game and he said he’d be fine.
The drive would only last two more plays as Cam Thomas would fumble the ball away. This was the only drive Army didn’t score a touchdown on.
Houston couldn’t get anything going and would turn it over on downs at their own 30-yard line. Six plays later, the Black Knights were back in the endzone to make it a 56-7 game. This time it was Connor Slomka from three yards out.
Nachtigal would force yet another Houston fumble making his final stat line:
16 tackles (career high), 3.5 sacks (Armed Forces Bowl record, career high), and 3 forced fumbles (Armed Forces Bowl record, career high).
The Black Knights took over and scored again, this time through the air as Cam Thomas found Jordan Asberry in the endzone to make the score 63-7.
Houston would get a touchdown on the next drive to make the score 63-14.
Cam Thomas would cap off the night with a 20-yard touchdown run, to set an FBS bowl record with 70 points.
The Army Black Knights tied or set a lot of records in the game so I’ll just list them all:
- 11 wins: Academy record
- 9 rushing touchdowns: FBS bowl record
- 161 rushing yards in a quarter: Armed Forces Bowl record/Academy bowl record
- 254 rushing yards in a half: Armed Forces Bowl record/Academy bowl record
- 10 sacks: Armed Forces Bowl record/Academy record
- Kelvin Hopkins 5 TDs: Armed Forces Bowl record
- James Nachtigal 3.5 sacks: Armed Forces Bowl record
- Kelvin Hopkins 30 points: Armed Forces Bowl record
- +56 win margin: ties FBS bowl record
- 70 points: ties FBS bowl record
There will be more big picture pieces about what this Army team has accomplished in the near future.