The Army Black Knights earned their first victory of the season through a healthy dose of rushing, tallying 449 yards to bury the Liberty Flames.
WEST POINT, NY –The Army Black Knights put up 449 yards of rushing, paced by 98 from Darnell Woolfolk, en route to their first win of the season. Opening the game with 24 unanswered points, Army opened the 94th season of football at Michie Stadium with a 38-14 win over the Liberty Flames.
3rd Star: FB Calen Holt
Holt opened the scoring for the Black Knights, a 25-yard run to daylight assisted by a great final block by Artice Hobbs IV. The run was part of a strong effort, picking up 72 yards on six carries, a whopping 12 yards per attempt.
2nd Star: S Jaylon McClinton
The junior defensive back had picked up two turnovers, both of which put momentum firmly in the Black Knights’ corner. With Liberty driving on the first possession of the game, having gone 32 yards on their first four plays, McClinton wedged the ball out of the grasp of Fidel Ogbeifun. Though he took the ball back for a score, it was taken away due to a review that ruled him down. Nonetheless, McClinton’s interception snuffed out any hope of a Liberty comeback after the fourth quarter’s first touchdown, adding five tackles in the victory.
1st Star: FB Darnell Woolfolk
It says a lot when you’re able to cap off an Army game as the team’s top rusher, and Woolfolk did his part, making some history in the process. With his second touchdown of the afternoon, scored early in the fourth quarter, Woolfolk moved into sole possession of ninth place in Army touchdowns with 25. Larry Dixon is next to pass, the 2014 graduate is one touchdown away. Woolfolk is also now firmly in seventh place in rushing touchdowns, breaking his tie with Michael Wallace.
How It Was Decided
Army scored the first 24 points of the game, but a pair of touchdowns from Liberty, the first consisting of a two-play, 78-yard, 35-second drive, cut things down to 24-14, which is where they stood upon entry of the fourth quarter.
For their first drive of the final frame, the Knights embarked on a diverse 10-play, 80-yard drive in which five different Black Knights touched the ball. Things were capped off by Woolfolk’s two-yard run, his second score of the day, to give Army a 31-14 lead the advantage necessary to start salting the game away. Connor Slomka, who contributed 30 yards on that game-changing drive, would add one more score to cap off the game for good measure.
- Liberty punter Aidan Alves was ejected for targeting in the first quarter, becoming the first punter to be ejected under the polarizing rule. Mike Reynolds was the unfortunate victim, the helmet-to-helmet hit coming at the end of a 22-yard return. Reynolds, however, did remain in the game.
- The Black Knights were penalized seven times for 100 yards in the first half, but remained clean on the stat sheet in the final 30 minutes.
- The win was Army’s eighth in a row at Michie Stadium.
The Black Knights remain in West Point for a game against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors next Saturday (12:00 p.m. ET, CBSSN). Hawaii, members of the Mountain West Conference, has become an early contender for the Group of Five’s major bowl participant slot, their early offense putting up 102 points and 1,139 yards through their first two games, including a 59-41 triumph over Navy in Honolulu last week.
The Rainbow Warriors lead the all-time series 3-0, the most recent being a 49-42 showdown in 2013 at Honolulu. The last visit to West Point was in 2010, a 31-28 Hawaii win. The visitors take on Rice later this afternoon (12:00 a.m., Spectrum Sports).