Quick thoughts: Rice

Max Regan’s 48-yard pick six in the first quarter of a 49-12 win over Rice was Army’s first non-offensive touchdown in 15 games.

Who had the last defensive or special teams score? Regan. He returned a fumble forced on a kickoff return 13 yards of Army’s 66-14 win at UTEP in the third game of the 2016 season. Regan apparently likes playing games in his home state of Texas.

Maybe, it’s a coincidence that Army’s defense had six takeaways with Jaylon McClinton back in the starting lineup. McClinton was responsible for two  (interception, Fordham; forced fumble, Buffalo) of Army’s three takeaways in the first two games. Army had gone 13 quarters without a takeaway before Regan’s interception.

McClinton had played the previous two games (Tulane, UTEP) in a limited role, recovering from a foot injury. The sophomore started at cornerback, where he played the final eight games of his freshman year, for the first time this season. McClinton forced Rice’s fourth turnover, a fumble recovered by linebacker Kenneth Brinson.

Alex Aukerman’s sack in the first quarter gave the senior 12.5 for his career and moved the linebacker into fourth in academy history. Aukerman has recorded a sack in five of six games this season and eight of his last nine games.

Up next for Aukerman on the all-time sack list are Cameron Craig (13.5) and 2016 captain Andrew King (14.5). Aukerman’s 26.5 career tackles for loss are 11th all-time at Army.

Army had not scored a point in the first quarter of its last three games entering Saturday. The Black Knights scored 21 points in a span of 67 seconds late in the first quarter against Rice, starting with Regan’s interception return.

Kell Walker is the first Army player to score three touchdowns in a game since Darnell Woolfolk (3) against UTEP last year. Walker’s 127 rushing yards were a career high. Walker received some top-notch blocking by Army’s backfield. John Trainor’s cut block opened up the edge right on Walker’s first touchdown, a 23-yard run. Walker followed the block of fullback Calen Holt up the middle on his second touchdown, an 8-yard run.

Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw had his second two-touchdown game of the season and has scored nine touchdowns in his last nine games. The senior tied Doug Black for 10th all-time with his eighth 100-yard rushing game. Trent Steelman (12) and Tory Crawford (11) are the only Army quarterbacks with more 100-yard games.

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    Sal Interdonato

    Award-winning writer Sal Interdonato has been on the Army football beat since 2007. He'll take you inside the huddle and into the lives of the Black Knights. Read Full
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