WEST POINT – The Army West Point football team remained unbeaten at home in 2017 after a big second half led to a 35-21 victory over UTEP on Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium.
The Black Knights moved to 3-2 on the season, while the Miners dropped to 0-5.
Army compiled 353 yards on the ground with Andy Davidson leading the charge with 100 yards and a touchdown. Ahmad Bradshaw finished seven-yards shy of the 100-yard mark on 11 carries. Connor Slomka also got into the mix, finding the end zone twice on 10 carries.
On top of the success in the running game, the Black Knights also managed to cause some damage through the air as Bradshaw completed three passes for a season-best 80 yards and a touchdown.
The turning point for Army, up 21-14 in the third quarter, Army forced a UTEP three-and-out got the ball back with 10:20 on the clock. Three plays into the drive, Bradshaw looked to his right and connected with Asberry for a 42-yard touchdown, giving the Black Knights their largest lead of the game at 28-14.
How the win happened for Army. The Miners turned to the ground game on their second drive of the afternoon, milking 8:23 off the clock on a 15-play, 81-yard drive, that featured 12 carries and was capped off by a one-yard rushing score by Quardraiz Wadley.
The Black Knights received the ball after the UTEP score and wasted no time marching down the field. Before the first quarter came to a close, Kell Walker scampered for a 28-yard rush to place Army near midfield and set up Davidson for a 32-yard touchdown run to even the score at seven.
After halting the ensuing UTEP drive, the Black Knights went back to work from their own seven-yard line and with 10:17 remaining, ran the ball 12 straight times with five separate rushers for 93 yards. It was the second-longest drive of the season for Army and it resulted in Holt’s first career touchdown to put Army on top 14-7.
UTEP got the ball back in its hands with just over two minutes remaining in the opening half and made it down the field with a trio of plays that went for over 10 yards apiece. Before the half came to a close, Zack Greenlee found David Lucero for a two-yard catch-and-score to knot the score up at 14.
The Black Knights started the second half with the ball and needed just five plays to march 73 yards down the field for the score. Bradshaw bursted out of the backfield for a 42-yard rush, which put the Black Knights at the UTEP 31. Davidson then rushed twice for 25 yards before Slomka punched in a three-yard score to put Army back on top.
After the Black Knights’ defense forced a three-and-out, a pair of Army rushes left Army standing on the UTEP 42, where Bradshaw took a shot down the field and found an open Asberry for the catch-and-score, the first passing touchdown for the Black Knights this season.
The Miners were only able to pick up two first down before being forced to punt, but they pinned Black Knights on their own nine yard line. Army did not shy away from putting the ball in the air and Bradshaw completed a pair of passes for for a combined 38 yards to help push the Black Knights down the field. With the ball on the UTEP 17, Slomka rushed on back-to-back plays and scored from 13-yards out to put Army ahead 35-14.
Despite piecing together two consecutive unsuccessful drives in the fourth, UTEP put seven points on the board after Luke Langdon was picked off and returned 52-yards for the score to trim the deficit to 14, 35-21.
The Black Knights will trek to Houston Saturday to square off against Rice for a 6:30 p.m. EST tilt.