Army never trails, tops Fordham 64-6
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) The biggest cheer at Michie Stadium Friday night wasn’t for a play, even though there were several highlights in Army’s lopsided win over Fordham.
An announcement that curfew was pushed back two hours to 1 a.m. will do that to a stadium jammed with cadets already enjoying a 64-6 win.
”I’m going back to sleep anyway,” laughed senior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw.
Bradshaw rushed for two touchdowns and gained 128 of his 177 yards in the first half of the opener for both teams.
The nation’s No. 2 rushing offense last year, Army’s triple option didn’t disappoint, churning for 513 yards without completing a pass. Eight different players scored a touchdown for Army, including Darnell Woolfolk, who had 95 rushing yards.
”We didn’t have to punt, which I’m in favor of,” fourth-year Army coach Jeff Monken said.
Preseason All-American Chase Edmonds – Fordham’s career rushing leader who went for three touchdowns on 126 yards in a 37-35 upset here two years ago – was held to a touchdown on 42 yards. Quarterback Kevin Anderson was 26 for 38 (233 yards) for the Rams.
”Obviously very disappointed in the result tonight,” second-year Fordham coach Andrew Breiner said. ”We will have to do a real thorough look at all three phases and figure out what we need to do to move forward from this.”
Bradshaw, who came out with the game in hand in the third quarter, got his first start in that 2015 loss. This time, the Black Knights had no trouble with Fordham, one of four FCS programs with two wins over FBS opponents since 2013.
Fordham battled early jitters, its opening drive marred by five straight flags before a punt. Army took over on the Fordham 44 and gave it to Woolfolk twice. On the second carry, he broke right on a sweep and raced untouched 39 yards to score.
Despite losing some key players to graduation, Army’s defense held the Rams to 8 yards on their first two drives and 66 overall. Jaylon McClinton led the way with seven tackles and an interception.
”I don’t know that we’re overly talented, I just know that we’re tough and we play hard,” Monken said.
The Black Knights jumped out to a 21-0 lead with 188 rushing yards in the first quarter. But it was a special teams play that put the game out of reach.
With Fordham looking to salvage a 16-play, 85-yard drive with a field goal, Army’s Andrew McLean just got his left arm in the way. Jalen Sharp picked it up and scurried 75 yards to score on Army’s first blocked field goal since 2010.
”Just had to scoop and score and make sure no one could catch me,” Sharp said.
The Black Knights led 34-6 at halftime, improving to 5-1 all-time in a series that dates to 1891.
Fordham hadn’t given up 60 points since a 68-0 loss to Penn State in 1946.
Fordham: Two years ago, Fordham stunned Army 37-35 in the season opener at Michie Stadium. The Rams were never close Friday, but they play only FCS opponents the rest of the way as they seek their first Patriot League title since 2014. The Rams were picked second in the Patriot League preseason poll.
Army: The Black Knights are coming off their best season in 20 years, an 8-5 campaign capped by their first win over Navy since 2001 and a 38-31 overtime victory against North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Looking to build on 2016 with key parts of its offense back, Army couldn’t afford another season-opening loss to Fordham like two years ago.
Hurting for Harvey: Army has several players from the Houston area. Monken says everyone is accounted for, but some families are displaced and dealing with damage. Humble native Cordarrell Davis carried the Texas state flag before the game.
Fordham: The Rams stay on the road to face FCS foe Central Connecticut State of the NEC on Saturday at noon.
Army: The Black Knights stay home for Buffalo, out of the MAC, at noon Saturday before a trip to Ohio State in two weeks.