Army can pass, too; Black Knights 35-21 over UTEP
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) Andy Davidson rushed for 100 yards and one touchdown, Ahmad Bradshaw threw his first scoring pass of the season, and Army beat UTEP 35-21 on Saturday on a windy day at Michie Stadium.
Reeling from two straight losses on the road, Army (3-2) broke open a tight game with two touchdowns in the third quarter and another early in the fourth as Bradshaw finally displayed some nice touch throwing the ball. He finished 3 of 5 for 80 yards and rushed for 93 yards on 11 carries.
UTEP (0-5) entered the game allowing an average of nearly 48 points per game but played Army to a 14-14 standoff in the first half, thanks to the solid play of tailback Quardraig Wadley, who finished with a career-high 156 yards on 28 carries.
Army took control in the third quarter, driving quickly to the go-ahead score as the Miners defense had no answer for Army’s triple option. Bradshaw faked inside and broke a 42-yard run down the left side, Davidson followed with an 18-yard run up the middle and Connor Slomka finished a five-play drive with a 3-yard run.
Bradshaw, who twice this season failed to complete a pass, finally broke out of his slump with a 42-yard scoring pass to Jordan Asberry midway through the third. Bradshaw’s 24-yard completion to Jeff Ekejam set up Slomka’s 13-yard TD on the third play of the fourth quarter.
Kahani Smith intercepted Army backup quarterback Luke Langdon and returned it 52 yards for a TD late in the quarter for UTEP’s only points in the second half.
Last year Army was reeling from the death of defensive back Brandon Jackson when it went on the road and slammed UTEP 66-14 in the emotional aftermath of the one-car accident that took the rising star’s life. This game was totally different at the outset.
The Miners gave Army a taste of its own medicine early, dominating time of possession and scoring the only touchdown of the first quarter. UTEP drove 81 yards on 15 plays on a scoring drive that took 8:23. Watley was the workhorse, rushing nine times for 67 yards as UTEP overcame two penalties. The only downside was that starting quarterback Ryan Metz was hurt late in the drive on a keeper and was replaced by Zack Greenlee.
Army, which had the ball for only five plays and gained just 37 yards in the opening period, scored twice in the second to take the lead as its formidable triple option awoke. The Black Knights repeatedly pounded the inside of the UTEP line, racking up 142 yards on the ground. Kell Walker ripped off a 27-yard run to set up Davidson’s 32-yard touchdown run early in the second.
After forcing a punt, the Black Knights drove 93 yards on 12 plays for a 14-7 lead. Bradshaw gained 15 yards on a keeper left and then made a nifty last-second pitch to Calen Holt, who scored his first career touchdown on a 19-yard scamper down the left side, diving across the goal line.
The Miners responded with a 73-yard scoring drive to tie the score, capped by Greenlee’s 2-yard pass to tight end David Lucero with 35 seconds left in the half.
UTEP: The Miners have a gamer in Wadley and if coach Sean Kugler can get more production from the quarterback position he can salvage something from the season. Greenlee finished 7 of 13 for 88 yards.
ARMY: The Black Knights have to be a little more conservative in deciding when to pass. Bradshaw threw an incompletion on Army’s first play from scrimmage and the Black Knights went into a funk for entire first period, allowing UTEP to dominate. Before Bradshaw hit Asberry for the third-quarter score, Army had completed only 4 of 24 passes for 36 yards with two interceptions on the season.
In last week’s 41-14 loss at New Mexico State, the Miners converted only 2 of 15 third downs and had just 227 yards of total offense in offensive coordinator Brian Natkin’s first game since taking over for the fired Brent Pease. Against Army, UTEP converted 5 of 12 third downs but had just 262 yards offensively. UTEP’s offense ranked last nationally in total offense (210.3 yards per game) entering the game.
UTEP: The Miners return home to face Western Kentucky on Saturday night.
ARMY: The Black Knights hit the road again, traveling to Rice for a Saturday night game.
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