YPSILANTI, MI – The Army West Point football team used two passing touchdowns in the second half to halt a charge from Eastern Michigan and earn a 37-22 victory on Saturday at Rynearson Stadium.
Kelvin Hopkins Jr. got the start behind center and ran for 105 yards. The Charlotte, N.C., nativewas impressive in the passing game as well with 126 yards through the air and two touchdowns. Jordan Asberry had a day for the Black Knights, recording a rushing and receiving touchdown in the win. John Abercrombie was crucial in the first half with three made field goals to close out three drives with points early in the game.
Tyler Wiegers threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns for the home team in the loss. Army’s defense shined against the EMU rushing attack,limiting the the Eagles’ backs to a combined 34 yards on the ground and 235 yards of total offense.
After forcing a quick 3-and-out, the Black Knights worked the ball to the EMU 6-yard line on their first offensive drive of the game. However, the Eagles defense kept the Cadets out of end zone and Army was held to a 24-yard field goal from the foot of Abercrombie.
Army increased its advantage to 6-0 following another Abercrombie field goal make, this time from 23-yards out. That score capped a 12-play, 74-yard drive that ate up 6:43 off of the clock and spanned into the second quarter.
The Black Knights continued their field goal trend with their third kick in as many drives. Abercrombie drilled one through the uprights from the 27-yard line to hand the visitor’s a 9-0 lead with 2:25 remaining in the half.
The Cadets then forced a 3-and-out and, after an Eagles’ punt, took over the ball at their own 38-yard line with 1:35 left to play. A few plays later the Black Knights found paydirt when Asberry scampered in from three-yards out. A highlight of the five-play, 62-yard drive was a Hopkins Jr. rush on third down that went for 13 yards.
On their first drive of the second half, the Eagles needed just six plays to find the end zone. Wiegers and Gunnar Oakes connected on a 14-yard pickup to set their squad up in prime scoring position. Despite a loss of two yards on the ensuing play, Wiegers found Mathew Sexton for the touchdown one play later. Following a successful two-point conversion try, EMU was within eight, 16-8, with 11:20 remaining in the third quarter.
The home side continued to chip away at the lead and cut Army’s advantage down to 16-14 with a 58-yard touchdown scamper. The Eagles went for two in hopes to even the score, but failed and the Black Knights remained up by two. EMU needed just three plays to gain 64 yards on the scoring drive.
Army finally got itself back on track after failing to convert any points on its first two drives of the second half. Hopkins and Asberry teamed up twice on the touchdown scoring drive with the first coming on a 3rd-and-7. Hopkins found the senior for 31 yards to place the ball at the EMU 41. A few plays later, Hopkins again connected with Asberry for a 26-yard reception and score to increase the Army lead to nine, 23-14.
During the next EMU drive, James Nachtigal made a great defensive play when he punched the ball out of Wiegers’ arms, forcing a fumble. Chandler Ramirez was luckily nearby to fall on the loose ball and give possession back to the Black Knights at the EMU 47 yard line. The following drive took 10 plays, but the Cadets worked their way down to the EMU 2-yard line. Opting to go for it on 4th-and-goal, Hopkins found Kell Walker wide open in the end zone to make it a 30-14 game with 11:26 left to play.
The Eagles answered with Blake Banham powering in a score from one yard out and EMU got the two-point conversion to cut the Army lead to, eight, 30-22, with seven minutes on the clock.
Darnell Woolfolk put the game away in the final quarter of action with his eighth rushing touchdown of the season and 31st of his career, securing a 37-22 victory for the Black Knights.
The Black Knights welcome Air Force this Saturday for a big service-academy showdown at Michie Stadium. That game will kick off at noon.