WEST POINT – Trailing by seven with 1:31 remaining in the game, the Army West Point football team drove 79 yards down the field to force overtime before earning a come-from-behind 31-28 victory over Temple here Saturday afternoon at Michie Stadium.
Army remained unbeaten at home on the season and moved to 6-2 with the win, while the Owls fell to 3-5. With the outcome of the game, Army officially accepted a bid into the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, which is slated for Dec. 23.
Darnell Woolfolk led the Black Knights on the ground with a career day, totaling a personal-best 132 yards on 18 carries to go with three rushing scores. Ahmad Bradshaw followed with 57 yards of his own. The Black Knights had success in the air late in the contest as Kelvin Hopkins Jr. totaled 67 passing yards and the game-tying score.
Defensively, James Nachtigal and Alex Aukerman both tallied double-digit tackles, while Cole Christiansen and Max Regan added eight and seven, respectively.
Army started its second drive of the game from its own 42. The Black Knights rushed the ball 11 consecutive times before Woolfolk received the handoff and powered through the Temple defense and into the end zone from 11-yards out.
Following an unsuccessful drive by the visitors, Temple lined up to punt the ball from its own side of the field, but Christiansen came charging through the line, blocked the kick and picked it up to put the Black Knights on the opponent’s 28. A 24-yard completion by Bradshaw to Jeff Ejekam set up Woolfolk for the 4-yard rushing score, his second of the game, to put Army ahead 14-0 early in the second quarter.
The Owls cut Army’s lead in half on the ensuing possession once Isaiah Wright stood behind center and took off with the ball for a 50-yard touchdown score. When Temple got the ball back, the Owls made it to the Army 37-yard line before Frank Nutile connected with Adonis Jennings for a 37 yard catch-and-score to even the game up at 14-all.
Temple used a pair of passes that combined for 64 yards in the third quarter to set the Owls up deep in the red zone. After failing to get into the end zone, the kicking unit came onto the field but was unable to convert as their 32-yard field goal attempt rang off the right upright.
At the start of the fourth quarter and with the ball on the Temple 21, Nutile completed a 43-yard pass to David Hood before a Ryquell Armstead ran for a 43-yard touchdown to give the Owls their first lead of the game.
At the midway point of the final period, Bradshaw connected with Kell Walker on a 32-yard pass before Woolkfolk broke off a 44-yard rushing touchdown to even the score up at 21 apiece.
With 4:54 left to play, Temple got the ball back and used five plays to drive 80 yards to retake the lead.
On the final drive of regulation, Hopkins Jr. was inserted under center with Army sitting on its own 21. Hopkins Jr. completed five passes and drove the Black Knights down the field before finding Adams in the end zone for the game-tying score with one second remaining.
In overtime, Army started with the ball, but was held to a 29-yard field goal by Blake Wilson.
When it came time for Temple to attempt to score, the Owls ran six plays before finding themselves on the Army 10. The Owls’ kicker lined up and drilled it through the upright, but Army called a timeout before the snap. On the ensuing attempt, the kick sailed wide left and the Black Knights captured the thrilling 31-28 victory.
The Black Knights will have their bye this week and will not return to action until Nov. 4 when the team heads to Colorado to face off against service-academy rival Air Force for a 1:30 p.m. MT (3:30 p.m. ET) start.