Quick Thoughts: Armed Forces Bowl

Ten days after Army’s record-scoring Armed Forces Bowl pasting of Houston, the Black Knights are one of 14 teams to win 11 or more games this season.

Army should finish inside the top 20 in the final Associated Press and Coaches polls after its academy-record 11th win. The Black Knights’ 9-game winning streak will be the nation’s second-longest when the 2019 season starts behind the winner of the Alabama-Clemson national championship game.

Make not mistake about it, the 70-14 victory over Houston was a statement game. The performance for the ages put college football and all of doubters on notice. James Nachtigal told me he and the Black Knights had no doubt that they were leaving Amon G. Carter Stadium with a win long before kickoff.

Houston fired head coach Major Applewhite Sunday more than a week after Army’s destruction.

Houston’s defense provided little resistance early and I remember saying Army could score 70 points in this game in the second quarter.

Also remember saying James Nachtigal would break Josh McNary’s sack record of four. Nachtigal came up a half-sack short of tying McNary’s mark. Houston’s offensive line had no answer for the relentless blitzing by interim defensive coordinator John Loose. Freshman quarterback Clayton Tune was running for his life most of the game.

No word on if Loose has been promoted to defensive coordinator but he certainly made a strong case.

Eight different players had a hand in Army’s school-record 10 sacks.

Kelvin Hopkins’ 77-yard touchdown run, which could have and should have been stopped at the line of scrimmage, was one of the plays of the year. Hopkins (170 yards) may have hit 200 rushing yards if he didn’t leave the game with a shoulder injury in the third quarter. Hopkins punctuated a superb season becoming the first Army quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season. I’ll have more on Hopkins’ place in the record books in a future blog.

Up 56 points, Monken and his staff coached to the last play, calling a timeout with 10 seconds left. Jake Ellington and Joe Stephenson combined to sack Clayton Tune for the 10th time, a fitting ending.

Army’s 70 points tied a record for all bowl set by West Virginia in the 2012 Orange Bowl. It was the most points scored by Army against a team that is currently Division I-A ever.

 

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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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