SYRACUSE – The Army West Point football team (2-2) was defeated 29-16 at Syracuse (4-0) on Saturday afternoon from the JMA Wireless Dome.
On the opening drive of the game, Army marched 17 plays, 75 yards, which was capitalized by RB Jakobi Buchanan’s one-yard touchdown run. On the drive, Army faced a fourth-and-one, in which they went for and converted their 11th consecutive fourth down try, as Buchanan plunged forward for four yards.
The Army defense quickly responded, forcing a three-and-out, where DB Cameron Jones broke up a pass on third down, a play in which he had a possible pick-six in his sights.
Early in the second quarter, Army LB Kalib Fortner, who was making his first career start, logged his first career sack bringing down Syracuse QB Garrett Shrader to force a field goal attempt. Syracuse K Brady Denaburg connected from 46 yards, to cut the Army lead, 7-3.
After the team’s traded punts, Army got the ball back with 9:49 to play in the half. The Black Knights continued to convert on fourth down and short, with Buchanan converting two more on the drive bringing Army to a perfect 13-13 on fourth down conversions this season. Rushes of 15, four and eight from QB Bryson Daily eventually got Army into field goal range, with K Quinn Maretzki knocking in a 38-yard field goal to extend Army’s lead to 10-3. The drive totaled 19 plays in total while chewing up 9:20 of gametime.
The Orange received the ball back with 29 seconds left to play, quickly connecting on a 23-yard strike to get the ball to midfield. Two plays later, Cameron Jones intercepted a pass from Shrader to bring the first half to a close. Army held an advantage of 23:24 to 6:36 in time of possession through the opening half hour.
In the second half, Syracuse would tie up the game at 10 apiece when LeQuint Allen Jr. rushed for a 13-yard touchdown. On the drive, Shrader hit WR Damien Alford on two big pass plays for gains of 31 and 19.
After a punt by Army, Syracuse went 91 yards in 10 plays to take the lead on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Shrader to WR Umari Hatcher to give the Orange their first lead of the afternoon, 16-10 as the PAT was missed.
Syracuse got the ball back just before the end of the third quarter, eventually extending its lead to a two-possession game, 19-10 on a Denaburg 30-yard field goal. Army was then faced with a fourth-and-eight from its own 27-yard line with just over ten minutes to play in the game. Daily saw his pass tipped at the line, ending Army’s perfect fourth down conversion streak at 13 to begin the season.
The Orange capitalized on the good field position with a touchdown rush on the second play of the drive, making it a 26-10 game. After an Army interception on its ensuing drive, an Orange field goal made it a three-score contest at 29-10 with 6:05 to play.
The Black Knights got the ball back with just under three minutes to play, with Daily hitting Noah Short over the middle for an 80-yard touchdown strike, marking consecutive weeks that the duo has connected for a score through the air. With the score 29-16, Army attempted an onside kick to keep the game alive, but the ball was knocked out of bounds to give Syracuse possession as the Orange improved to 4-0 on the campaign.