Army Defeats Rice For Best Start In 20 Years

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 02: Quinten Parker #85, Richard Hanson #26, Ahmad Bradshaw #17, Joe Walker #5, and Gervon Simon #10of the Army Black Knights celebrate after the game against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field on September 2, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Black Knights defeated the Owls 28-13. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The Army West Point Black Knights are riding high this week. In what is considered Head Coach Jeff Monken‘s best win in his two year tenure, the Knights went into Philadelphia, PA and beat Matt Rhule‘s Temple Owls 28-13. The Army offense was oddly efficient that night and especially in the fourth quarter, where they outscored Temple 21-3 in the second half of the game. This was thanks in part to Army’s newly transformed linebacker-to-fullback Andy Davidson, who pounded in two rushing touchdowns to give and extend the lead for Army. He also was the player of the game as he rushed the ball 22 times for 121 yards for 5.5 YPC. Ahmad Bradshaw only completed one pass for 11 yards to Edgar Poe, but made up for it on the ground where he contributed one rushing touchdown for the team. Defensively the team was outstanding. The defense picked off Temple QB Phillip Walker three times, one of which sealed the game late in the fourth quarter.

Army Defeats Rice

Coming in to today’s game, the Black Knights had history going against them. The team had not started a year 2-0 since 1996 — 20 years ago. The team hadn’t won two games in a row in 70 games, dating back to 2010. That 2010 team was also the last team to appear in a bowl game. To put this history behind them, Army would have to go through Rice. They met last year in Houston, TX and Rice won in a thriller 38-31.

Picking Up Where They Left Off

Rice started the game off on the right foot. QB Tyler Stehling threw a 64 yard touchdown pass to Connor Cella a minute into the game to give Rice the early 7-0 lead. On the next drive, Army drove down the field swiftly, thanks in part to a 32 yard rush by Joe Walker to keep the drive rolling. Army got on the scoreboard thanks to a seven yard rush by Darnell Woolfork to level up the game 7-7. On Army’s next drive, last week’s player of the game Andy Davidson topped off an 84 yard drive with a 13 yard touchdown rush to make the game 14-7. In the second quarter, Davidson rushed for two yards for his second touchdown of the game to make the game 21-7. Army was stalemate on defense and stuffed Rice on every drive up to the half, where it would end 21-7.

Closing The Deal

Rice and Army both punted on their first drives. Rice’s Austin Walter broke out a 37 YD run for a touchdown to make the game 21-14. On the very next drive, Army’s catalyst Andy Davidson pounded in his third touchdown of the day from four yards out to regain a 14 point lead, 28-14. In the fourth quarter, Army blocked a Rice punt to set up excellent field position around the ten yard line. Which would end with an Army field goal to extend Army’s lead 31-14.

Uncharted Territory

That’s how the game would end. Army wins two in a row and starts off the year 2-0 for the first time since 1996. Andy Davidson would again have to be the player of the game. Davidson ran the ball 23 times for 107 yards and three touchdowns. Army next week travel to El Paso, TX to face UTEP to look to go 3-0. It’s been a tough few years for Army. Are Monken’s charges ready to get back to Bowl contention? To do so, they’ll have to continue the fundamental play. They will also have to get past some of that barren recent history.

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