GoBlackKnights - Army wins a nail biter over Western Kentucky, 38-35
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Army wins a nail biter over Western Kentucky, 38-35

QB Christian Anderson had a solid all-around game against Western Kentucky which included 126 rushing yards
QB Christian Anderson had a solid all-around game against Western Kentucky which included 126 rushing yards (Danny Wild - USA TODAY Sports)
Score By Quarters
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final

WKU

0

14

0

21

35

Army

0

21

7

10

38

Breakdown Of Scoring
Qtr Time Scoring Play WKU-Army

2nd

14:51

ARMY - ROBINSON, Tyrell 24 yd run (TALLEY, Cole kick), 10-62 4:50

0-7

11:30

ARMY - MURPHY, Braheam 40 yd pass from ANDERSON, Christian (TALLEY, Cole kick), 4-53

0-14

10:40

WKU - Sterns, Jerreth 72 yd pass from Zappe, Bailey (Narveson, Brayden kick), 3-75 0:50

7-14

02:07

ARMY - BUCHANAN, Jakobi 1 yd run (TALLEY, Cole kick), 16-75 8:33

7-21

00:30

WKU - Zappe, Bailey 10 yd run (Narveson, Brayden kick), 6-75 1:37

14-21

3rd

08:57

ARMY - ADKINS, Anthony 3 yd run (TALLEY, Cole kick), 10-75 6:03

14-28

4th

10:31

ARMY - BUCHANAN, Jakobi 13 yd run (TALLEY, Cole kick), 14-71 9:15

14-35

08:05

WKU - Tinsley, Mitchell 21 yd pass from Zappe, Bailey (Narveson, Brayden kick), 8-75 2:26

21-35

04:58

WKU - Sterns, Jerreth 14 yd pass from Zappe, Bailey (Narveson, Brayden kick), 6-63 1:23

28-35

01:52

ARMY - TALLEY, Cole 31 yd field goal, 7-30 3:05

28-38

00:22

WKU - Cofield, Adam 2 yd run (Narveson, Brayden kick), 9-75 1:30

35-38

Key Stats:

Army had 39:38 time of possession

Both teams had 1 turnover

Army recovered 3 WKU onside kick attempts in the 4th quarter

Army had 348 yards rushing, 77 yards passing (5-6) for a total of 416 yards

WKU had 435 yards passing (28-40-1) and 42 yards rushing for 477 total yards

3rd down efficiency:9-13; 4th down efficiency:2-3

1st Quarter

Both teams exchange turnovers and no one scores

WKU received the opening kickoff and started their first drive on the 25 after a touchback. Quarterback Bailey Zappe, Jereth Sterns, and company quickly let everyone watching know exactly how much team speed the Hilltoppers have and how difficult it would be to shut down this potent offense. WKU mixed passes and runs to quickly drive to the Army 36 and looked like they would cap their first drive with a touchdown unless something changed for Army’s defense.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers wide receiver Jerreth Sterns (8) celebrates one of his 9 receptions (171 yards & 2 touchdowns) on the day
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers wide receiver Jerreth Sterns (8) celebrates one of his 9 receptions (171 yards & 2 touchdowns) on the day (Danny Wild - USA TODAY Sports)

That “something” came in the form of a Marquel Broughton interception as as the safety jumped a route and returned the INT 17 yards to give the Black Knights the ball in plus territory at WKU’s 47 yard-line.

Solid 1st INT from captain and safety Marquel Broughton
Solid 1st INT from captain and safety Marquel Broughton (Danny Wild - USA TODAY Sports)

Army’s offense picked up right where it left off last week with QB Christian Anderson and the B-backs mixing runs to take the ball to the WKU 10-yard line after only 6 plays. On the next play, “disaster” struck the Army offense as FB Anthony Adkins fumbled and WKU recovered on their own 10 yard-line.

The Hilltoppers once again moved the ball quickly into Army territory behind the arm of Zappe, but then Nate Woody’s defense and secondary made some key stops including a 4th down pass break-up by CB Jabari Moore to turn the Hilltoppers over on downs at the Army 38 yard-line.

2nd Quarter

Army began a classic clock-grinding drive behind QB and FB runs to get the ball to the WKU 24-yard line to start the 2nd quarter. On the first play of the 2nd quarter, Army was finally able to do something Army fans have been dreaming about for two years. They ran an option and pitched the ball to speedster Tyrell Robinson on the perimeter. Braheam Murphy threw a key block that sprung Robinson to the sideline and Robinson proceeded to sprint to the 5-yard line before going airborne and launching himself into the end zone for the Black Knights’ first score of the day to take a 7-0 lead.

Slotback Tyrell Robinson was on his ‘A’ today
Slotback Tyrell Robinson was on his ‘A’ today (Danny Wild - USA TODAY Sports)

Army’s defense stepped up on the ensuing possession and forced a 3-and-out. After Fabrice Voyne partially blocked the WKU punt, Army once again started with great field possession on their 47-yard line.

After a couple running plays, Anderson dropped back for a play-action pass and hit a wide open Braheam Murphy for a 40-yard touchdown to make it 14-0, Army. The WKU safeties bit so hard on the run fake that Anderson had his choice of a wide-open Murphy or TE Josh Lingenfelter.

Just as Army was starting to exert themselves, WKU’s explosive offense took over. After Army made two nice plays to put WKU in a 3rd and 7, someone on Army’s defense blew a coverage which left Slot Receiver Jereth Sterns 1-on-1 on LB Arik Smith streaking down the middle. Zappe hit Sterns in stride for a 73-yard touchdown to make it 41-7. The drive took all of 50 seconds.

Army then put together their most “Army” drive of the day, going 75 yards in 16 plays and keeping Zappe and the high-powered WKU offense on the sideline for 8:33. The drive was capped off by a Jakobi Buchanan 1-yard touchdown run to make it 21-7. I had mentioned in the GBK Live in-game chat that Army scored too quickly, leaving WKU 2:07 before the half. I was being somewhat facetious, but for Zappe and the Hilltoppers, that’s an eternity.

Low and behold, after another Andre Carter sack put the Hilltoppers in a 3rd and 17, it looked like another blown coverage as Zappe hit a wide-open receiver for a 28-yard gain to the Army 30. Zappe then proceeded to complete another 20-yard pass to get in the red zone, before rushing 10 yards to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. In Coach Jeff Monken’s post-game presser, Army had a twist on the defensive line on that play, but the twist player got “caught in the wash” and failed to keep contain leading to the easy touchdown run by Zappe to make it 21-14 heading into halftime after a crazy 2nd quarter.

3rd Quarter

Army executes a nearly flawless quarter of football to take a 28-14 lead

Army received the second half kickoff for another touchback. Traditionally, when Army has received the second half kickoff, more often then not, they haven’t done much with that possession. Today, that was not the case. The Army offensive line and running backs continued to throw great blocks and Army put together a 10 play, 75-yard drive that ate 6:03 of clock and most importantly, kept Zappe and WKU on “ice.” The drive was capped with an Anthony Adkins 3-yard touchdown run to give Army a 28-14 lead.

The ensuing possession was one of the most important of the game. After 3 WKU first downs and what looked like would be another touchdown drive for the Hilltoppers, the Black Knights’ defense stiffened and Cedrick Cunningham made a key break-up on a 4th-and-4 pass attempt to Sterns, and Army took over on their own 29-yard line with 4:46 left in the 3rd quarter.

Army was able to chew clock and run the ball right down WKU’s throats to end the quarter at the WKU 35-yard line. It appeared as though the Black Knights’ running game was wearing down the WKU defense and the war of attrition that is Army’s offense was starting to take effect.

Army shut out WKU in the 3rd quarter and controlled the ball for nearly 11 minutes.

4th Quarter

Well, that was exciting…Army scores first, but things get very interesting before Army finishes with a 38-35 victory

Army continued to bleed the clock and made it interesting before scoring, as Christian Anderson took a sack-strip, but Jordyn “Boobie” Law fell on the fumble to maintain possession. On 3rd and 12, Anderson ran one of his now famous naked bootlegs for 15 yards to keep the drive alive. After a Buchanan TD was called back for holding, on the very next play Buchanan took the handoff from Anderson and rumbled 13 yards through a gaping hole for a touchdown. After Cole Talley’s PAT, Army led 35-14 with 10:31 left in the game.

QB Christian Anderson is another returning senior with plenty of game experience
QB Christian Anderson is another returning senior with plenty of game experience (Danny Wild - USA TODAY Sports)

With Army’s ground control offense and Nate Woody’s shut-down defense, traditionally, a 3-touchdown lead with 10 minutes left in the game has been a lock the last two years. This WKU offense was no ordinary offense. They showed just how quickly they can score and how potent they can be. Army’s defense made it easier for them with several blown coverages and blown assignments, but the athleticism of that offense certainly caused some problems for the Black Knights on defense.

On their next drive, WKU took all of 2:26 and 8 plays to go 75 yards. They capped the drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Mitchell Tinsley. Army blew another coverage on this touchdown pass as Tinsley had time to do his taxes and bake a batch of cookies in the end zone, he was so open.

Marquel Broughton made an aggressive play to recover the first of 3 onside kick attempts by the Hilltoppers at the WKU 44-yard line. Most of us were thinking all Army had to do was put together another clock-eating 44-yard touchdown drive and they could ice the game. Suddenly, the Hilltopper defense decided to show up. They stacked the line of scrimmage on 4th and 2, and shot the A-gap to stop Christian Anderson for a 1-yard loss and a turnover on downs.

The Hilltoppers put together a 6-play, 63-yard scoring drive that culminated with Zappe to Stearns 14-yard touchdown pass. On the drive, the Army defense gave up two more big plays of over 20 yards each. The drive only took 1:23. (Army – 35, WKU – 28)

WKU attempted another onside kick, and Broughton was “(Marquel) on the spot” again as he recovered the kick at the WKU 44. Surely, this time the Army offense would either score or run out the clock to end the game. After Christian Anderson ran a beautiful 20-yard bootleg to convert a 3rd and 7 to the WKU 21, Buchanan ran into him and knocked him down from behind. Army failed to pick up a first down on their next series, and Cole Talley came in to make what would eventually be the game-winning 31-yard field goal. It was nice to see an Army kicker make a clutch kick.

WKU received the kickoff and started their next drive on their own 25-yard line after a touchback with 1:52 left (which we all knew was plenty of time for them to score again). WKU moved through the Army defense like a hot knife through butter and scored on a 9-play drive in 1:30. One of the key plays of the drive for the Army defense was the play right before the 2-yard Cofield touchdown run. Zappe hit Mitchell Tinsley on the sideline for a 3-yard game, but with WKU having no timeouts left to stop the clock, Army Apache LB Malkelm Morrison made a great effort play to keep Tinsley in bounds and take almost 30 seconds off the clock. Army now led 38-35 with :20 left in the game and needed to successfully field one more onside kick.

Simon Dellinger recovered the kick at Army’s 42 after it bounced around for a while, and Christian Anderson took a knee in victory formation for the 38-35 Army win.


Highlights:

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win nonetheless and the Black Knights are 2-0 on the season
It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win nonetheless and the Black Knights are 2-0 on the season (Danny Wild - USA TODAY Sports)

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Army was led onto the field by FDNY firemen who were first responders on 9/11. Every coach and player for Army carried an American Flag onto the field and the emotion was running high on this special day in American history.

Christian Anderson once again showed that he can make the key pass when his number is called by Brent Davis. He went 5/6 and is now 6/8 on the season for 2 touchdowns. As GBK Senior Writer Gordon Larson is fond of saying, Army’s pass offense has been a study in efficiency this year. Army’s passing efficiency will continue to let opposing DC’s and Safeties know that if they want to get aggressive and run the alley, they can get burned. Anderson also completed several short passes in relatively tight windows so that was encouraging. If not for a drop, he would have been perfect today through the air.

Speaking of Christian Anderson, Coach Monken praised his decision-making in the option and getting Army in the right play and right look all day long. The offense was unstoppable for most of the day for the second week straight as Army didn’t punt; and if not for a fumble and 4th quarter turnover on downs, would have scored on every possession. He ran for a career-high 119 yards.

The depth on the offensive line is better than most fans expected to start the season. Connor Bishop went out with an injury that we hope isn’t serious, and Noah Knapp filled in effectively at Center. Boobie Law and Dean Powell also missed plays with injuries, but Zach Ward and Kam Holloway stepped up in their absence for a few key plays.


I thought Offensive Coordinator Brent Davis called another excellent game, keeping the WKU defense off-balance all day with just the right mix of midline option; outside veer; lead option; boots; dive plays; QB zone plays; and pass plays.

Army’s slot back blocking is maybe the best I’ve ever seen it. On almost every key outside running play Braheam Murphy, Brandon Walters, Tyrell Robinson, and AJ Howard were throwing big blocks and springing their teammates for big runs.

I mentioned it in the summary, but Cole Talley’s clutch field goal was a welcome sight for Army fans used to their kickers missing key field goals in big games. This could be critical against some of Army’s tougher opponents down the road this year.

One GBK subscriber on the 12th Knight chat mentioned that special teams won the game. Between Talley’s clutch field goal; perfect day on PAT’s; and the 3 onside kick recoveries, that may be accurate.

Marquel Broughton made a key interception and had two crucial onside kick recoveries. The Junior Captain continues to make big plays in key situations for the Black Knights.




Editorial/Lowlight: This is pure opinion by your friendly neighborhood GBK writer, but in my opinion, the Western Kentucky program represents everything that is wrong with college football. They have 28 transfers on their roster; a 6th or 7th year senior (?); and that display of absolute classlessness at West Point on 9/11 after the game by one of their assistant coaches “jaw jacking” with the Army players was a complete embarrassment. As you know, Army doesn’t benefit at all from the transfer portal or the COVID rules the NCAA put in place. This makes this win over a super-athletic team of “free agents” even more impressive in my opinion. The tougher it gets for Army’s players, the more they respond to the challenge.


Next up for the Black Knights: Army hosts UConn at Michie Stadium next Saturday, September 18th, at 12 noon Eastern time. According to Head Coach Jeff Monken in his post-game press conference, the Black Knights will have plenty to work on between now and next Saturday. They also need to get some of their players well. There were a lot of injuries today. That being said, Army has started 2-0 for the second straight year.

**To chat with other Army fans about this article and more, please visit The 12th Knight message board**

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