MADISON, WI. – In the first-ever matchup between the Army Black Knights and Wisconsin Badgers, a crowd reaching north of 75,000 saw a wire-to-wire bout on Saturday night. However when the final whistle blew, the Black Knights saw a 20-14 defeat at Camp Randall Stadium.
Army came into the game expecting a physical battle at the line of scrimmage, where both schools entered Week 7 as the top two schools ranked in rushing efficiency on both sides of the ball.
On the opening defensive drive, the Black Knights proved their rank as OLB Andre Carter strip-sacked Badgers QB Graham Mertz for his 8.5 total sack through six games of action. With DL Nolan Cockrill recovering the fumble, It also marked the third time that the Black Knights created a takeaway on the opponent’s opening drive.
On Wisconsin’s next drive, the Cadets defensive pressure proved too much for the Badgers and forced a three-and-out. Army QB Tyhier Tyler and the offense picked up a couple of first downs, but eventually were forced to punt the ball away. The run-heavy approaches from both benches saw a first quarter was played at lightning speed, with the 15 minute game clock expiring in only 28 minutes of real time.
Wisconsin held possession of the ball through the break and would go on to score with 12:58 left in the second quarter. With the ball back in the hands of Army, the Black Knights looked to respond. After rushes of two and one yards from Tyler and RB Tyrell Robinson, respectively, Tyler broke free for an 18-yard trot. The Badger defense stepped up to force another Zach Harding punt, regaining possession with 9:36 left in the second quarter.
Wisconsin would follow up with a 10-play, 81-yard drive to take a 13-0 lead towards the tail end of the first half. Carter used his 6-foot-7 frame to get a hand on the extra point, his first-career block, to hold the score at 13-0 heading into the half.
After receiving the ball to start the second half, Army looked to immediately respond. Tyler started off the drive with a six-yard run, and following a five-yard Wisconsin penalty, QB Jabari Laws entered the game for the second time in 2021 to take under center for the Black Knights. Laws dropped back and fired a pass to WR Isaiah Alston, who caught the pass and was brought down after a 34-yard gain. The Wisconsin defense remained stout, forcing a fourth-down that would see K Cole Talley miss a 43-yard field goal wide right.
With the remainder of the third quarter in back-and-forth rushing bout, the Black Knights would end it on a 12-play, 36-yard drive was cut short on another Harding punt.
Army battled back on the opening drive of the fourth quarter with another eight-play, 54-yard drive that ended with Tyler rushing for five yards to find the end zone for the Cadets.
During the drive, Tyler had a 36-yard run which was the longest of the game for Army and one of the longest runs allowed by the Badgers this season. Talley put the ball through the uprights to make the score 13-7 and bring the Black Knights within a one-possession game in the waning moments of regulation. Wisconsin took aim to seal the game and drain the clock with its rushing attack, yet Army would force a punt with under five minute remaining in the game.
With 2:55 remaining, Laws fumbled the ball when dropping back for a pass and Wisconsin recovered at the Army one yard line; the Badgers scored on the next play. The next Army offensive drive found explosive plays by RB Tyrell Robinson on a 25-yard rush and sealed off by a RB A.J. Howard six-yard touchdown run to cap a seven-play, 77-yard drive. Talley collected the extra point for Army, along with the Black Knights first attempt at an on-side kick, where the Badgers recovery closed out a 20-14 matchup at Camp Randall Stadium.
Army is set to return to Michie Stadium on Saturday, October 23, for a date with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons