WEST POINT – The Army West Point Black Knights (4-6) defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders (6-4), 17-14 on Veterans Day at Michie Stadium, a week after an emphatic victory over rival Air Force. Army took the field with every player carrying an American flag honoring military veterans of the United States Armed Forces.
Army was propelled by a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by Freshman LB Elo Modozie, a touchdown run by RB Tyrell Robinson and a defense that forced two turnovers to get passed Holy Cross and win back-to-back games.
On the opening drive of the game, Army LB Leo Lowin picked up from his big game vs. Air Force a week ago, sacking Holy Cross’ QB Matthew Sluka on third down for a loss of seven to force a punt. On the punt attempt by Crusaders P Patrick Haughney, Army sophomore DB Jabril Williams blocked the punt which was recovered and returned 12 yards for a touchdown by freshman LB Elo Modozie, as Army jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
It was Williams’ second career blocked punt which resulted in a touchdown (2022, UConn) as Williams then also recovered a punt for a touchdown in the Army-Navy game last season as well.
Army’s defense took the field again with the lead and after several Crusaders’ first downs to march into Army territory, Lowin strip-sacked Sluka, his second sack of the opening quarter which was recovered by Army LB Jackson Powell.
Later in the quarter, DB Quindrelin Hammonds sacked Sluka on a fourth down from the Army 31-yardline to force a turnover on downs.
Leading 7-0, the Army offense faced a fourth-and-3 from their own 40-yardline to open the start of the second quarter in which QB Bryson Daily broke out on a 29-yard run for a first down.
Several plays later, RB Tyrell Robinson capitalized on a 14-yard touchdown run to push the Black Knights’ lead to 14-0. On the drive, Army marched 67 yards on eight plays.
The Crusaders again put together another drive marching to the Army 39-yardline but Sluka was intercepted by DB Quindrelin Hammonds, his second of the season.
Army threatened to score again before the half as Daily hit WR Casey Reynolds down the far-right sideline for a gain of 69 yards (career-long), which he was ruled down at the Holy Cross one-yardline. Army had four tries from the one to punch in a score, but the Crusaders defense stood tall stopping a pair of rushes from RB Kanye Udoh and Daily, with an impressive stop by Holy Cross’ Frankie Monte.
Army took a 14-0 lead into the locker room.
Following an Army punt to begin the second half, Holy Cross marched 17 plays down to the Army one-yardline facing a fourth-and-goal. On fourth down, Holy Cross attempted a pop pass to the tight end that DB Jabari Moore broke up to force the turnover on downs and prevent the Holy Cross scoring opportunity.
In the fourth, Holy Cross would get on the board and cut the Army lead to one score, 14-7 on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Sluka to WR Justin Shorter with 11:47 remaining in the game. It was the first touchdown the Army defense allowed in eight full quarters of play going back to Oct. 28 vs. UMass.
Army would answer Holy Cross’ score on a long 14-play, 66-yard drive that took 6:48 off the clock that was finished off by a 26-yard field goal by Quinn Maretzki.
Holy Cross continued the late rally on a nine-play, 75-yard drive, scoring on a Sluka pass to Jalen Coker for an eight-touchdown to cut Army’s lead to three points, 17-14. Sluka passed 16-23 on the afternoon for 156 yards, two touchdown passes and an interception. He added a game-high 37 carries for 191 yards (4.6 avg.) to lead the Crusaders offensive efforts.
With less than two minutes remaining, Army ran out the clock with Daily running hard for a key first down that put the game away. Daily led Army on the ground with 84 yards on 19 carries (4.4 avg.). He also passed 4-6 for 79 yards.
Tyrell Robinson (9-45), Kanye Uodh (9-36), and Markel Johnson (2-21) also factored in positively to the rushing attack.
Lowin had a team-high 12 tackles (six solo), two sacks for a loss of 12 yards and a forced fumble to continue the defense’s strong play. Kalib Fortner added 10 tackles, matching his career best.