In the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, we were witness to Army’s Record-Breaking Win Over Houston. Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth, the Army Black Knights slaughtered the Houston Cougars. Houston has not been known for their rushing defense this season. Army was averaging 296.3 yards per game. Army dominated from the start, Houston did not stand a chance. For the first time in school history, Army finished a football season with 11 wins. Meanwhile, post-game on the other side of the field rumblings of Major Applewhite‘s hot seat has begun to swirl. Here are some of the highlights from The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
Sights and Sounds and Extensions
The pre-game was filled with paratroopers delivering the game ball. The musical stylings of a kilted crew of bagpiping firefighters. A football field-sized flag with a national anthem and flyover to give you all the feels and goosebumps. Additionally, Lockheed Martin extended their sponsorship of the Armed Forces Bowl another six years.
If you were at this game you not only witnessed history, you caught a glimpse of greatness while watching Black Knights quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. There was one particular play to end the first quarter where he made ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE MISS.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 22, 2018
Hopkins Jr. became the first cadet-athlete to run and pass for over 1,000 yards in a season. The junior quarterback threw for 70 yards, completing 3 for 3 and achieved a perfect QBR. He proceeded to rack 170 yards of The Black Knights had 507 rushing yards. They ended the night with 592 yards of total offense. Not to mention Hopkins Jr. was named the bowl MVP.
The Cougar’s freshman quarterback Clayton Tune spent the day running for his life from the swarming Army defense. Just when Houston thought they might make some headway, Army shut them down. And then shut them down again.
Even as the Cougars’ offense struggled to find their rhythm during the Armed Forces Bowl, they managed 317 yards of total offense. 230 on the ground and 87 in the air. Cadet-athlete James Nachtigal led the defense with his career-high 16 tackles and 3.5 sacks. While the Black Knights broke a team record with 10 sacks on the night.
Head coach Jeff Monken in his fifth season as head coach has led the Black Knights to an 11-win season, this is the first time this has happened in program history. Furthermore, Army’s 56-point win over Houston tied for the largest margin of victory in an FBS bowl game.
As a matter of fact, the Black Knights won their second consecutive Armed Forces Bowl, their fourth consecutive bowl win as well as becoming the first school to win three Armed Forces Bowls. This was their sixth bowl win in the history of the program. When and where will they be erecting Monken’s statue at West Point?
Houston has a depleted defense thanks to graduation and the NFL draft. Applewhite’s record as the head coach of the Cougars’ is now 15-11. However, for Army the future is bright; with a dominant bowl win and an 11-win season should earn Army the respect it deserves in the final polls as well as the 2019 pre-season polls.