SANTA CLARA, CA – The Army West Point football team scored 52 unanswered points and shut down the San Jose State offense en route to a 52-3 victory at Levi’s Stadium.
The Black Knights scored 24 points off of four Spartan turnovers and four different players found the end zone in the victory. Kelvin Hopkins Jr. paced the Army running game with 99 yards and three rushing scores.
Despite the Spartans getting on the board first with a field goal, the Army defense stepped it up and held San Jose State scoreless the rest of the way. The Black Knights’ defense caused a season-high four turnovers while limiting the Spartans to 171 total yards, including only 36 on the ground.SJSU used their second drive of the game to go 46 yards in 13 plays for the 3-0 lead. Bryce Crawford converted on a season-long 49-yard field goal to hand the designated home team the early edge.
The Black Knights quickly answered with an eight-play drive that went 75 yards and was capped by a Hopkins Jr. 41-yard touchdown pass to Asberry. That score by Asberry came seven seconds into the second period and was the senior’s fourth career receiving touchdown.
Army added another score with 12 ticks remaining in the half when Hopkins Jr. punched one in from one-yard out to make it a 14-3 game. Earlier in the drive, the Cadets converted on a 4th-and-1 from the SJSU 31 to keep the offense on the field.
After receiving the ball to kick off the second half, the Black Knights marched 75 yards on 11 plays to extend their lead to 21-3. For the second-straight drive, Army converted on a 4th-and-1 situation. All of the yards gained during the scoring drive came via the ground game.
The Black Knights’ defense came up big on the first play of SJSU’s next drive when Kenneth Brinson got an arm on Aaron Montel for the strip sack. Chandler Ramirez fell on the loose ball giving possession back to the Cadets at the Spartans’ 19. Army mustered three yards but settled for a 33-yard field goal by John Abercrombie. That kick was the senior’s first career field goal and handed the visitors a 24-3 advantage.
Army made it back-to-back strip sacks after Cameron Jones got a hit on backup quarterback Micha Carrillo. The graduate student fumbled, allowing Wunmi Oyetuga enough time to fall on the loose ball at the SJSU 10-yard line. Three plays later, the Black Knights were in the back of the end zone after Woolfolk found paydirt for the first time in the game.
The Cadets then made it three straight forced turnovers when Nachtigal got ahold of Carrillo for the sack. Again, the El Cajon, Calif., native fumbled and Raymond Wright recovered the ball at the Spartans’ 35-yard line. Army finished things off a couple plays later when Hopkins Jr. scampered into the end zone from four-yards out to increase its lead to 38-3.
The Black Knights’ defense was not finished and got another clutch defensive play to make it four consecutive turnovers once Max Regan tackled Aaron Montel at the Army 48-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Nachtigal grabbed the loose ball out of the air and ran it back 52 yards for Army’s first defensive touchdown since Elijah Riley did so against San Diego State in the 2017 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. That score made it a 45-3 game with 14:32 remaining.
Cam Thomas closed out the scoring with his first career touchdown from 24 yards out before time expired and the Black Knights secured the 52-3 victory.
The Cadets will be back in the comfy confines of Michie Stadium this Saturday when they welcome Miami (OH). That game will kick off at noon.