KENT, Ohio – Army (6-4) scored its sixth win of the season, a 45-28 victory over Kent State (4-6) on Saturday afternoon at Dix Stadium, to become bowl eligible for the first time since the 1996 season. The Black Knights rushed for 233 yards against the nation’s No. 1-ranked rushing defense entering the game.
Army’s six wins are the most for the program since the Black Knights won 10 games in 1996.
Sophomore QB Trent Steelman threw for a season-high 149 yards, completing nine of his 10 throws to lead the Army offense to its highest offensive output against a Football Bowl Subdivision team since a 48-29 win over Cincinnati in 2004. Steelman also rushed 13 times for 37 yards and two touchdowns.
Sophomore FB Jared Hassin led the Black Knights with 75 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, snapping his string of 100-yard games at four. Sophomore RB Brian Cobbs added 64 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Freshman RB Raymond Maples was the season-high fourth Army player to score a rushing touchdown, the first of his career.
Sophomore WR George Jordan led the receiving corps with a career-best four catches for 46 yards. Junior WR Davyd Brooks had two catches for 47 yards, including a 41-yarder, accounting for Army’s longest passing play of the season.
The Black Knights defense forced four turnovers, while the offense did not give the ball away. Senior DB Richard King intercepted two passes, while senior DB Donovan Travis picked off another. Senior DT Mike Gann recovered a fumble to account for the final takeaway.
For Travis, it was his 10th career interception, moving him into a tie for second place on the Army all-time list (Doug Pavek, Mike McElrath).
Senior LB Stephen Anderson led the Army defense with seven tackles and a forced fumble.
Kent State outgained the Black Knights, 410-382, but could not overcome the turnovers. Eugene Jarvis had 71 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while Giorgio Morgan completed five of his nine pass attempts for 122 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Tyshon Goode led the receivers with seven catches for 155 yards and a 72-yard touchdown.
Dorian Wood led the KSU defense with 14 tackles.
After the Black Knights’ defense forced a three-and-out on Kent State’s opening possession, the Army offense went to work, marching 57 yards in 11 plays. Hassin did the honors, scoring his ninth rushing touchdown of the season on a 12-yard dive. The Army fullback ran four times for 28 yards on the drive.
The Golden Flashes appeared to tie the game on the ensuing kickoff, but the 99-yard return was called nullified with a holding penalty.
Army ‘s defense forced another Kent State punt, and Cobbs quickly put the Black Knights in scoring position with a 45-yard sprint down the left sideline that gave them a first down at the Golden Flashes’ 18-yard line. Army converted its second fourth down of the first quarter to keep the drive alive inside the 10-yard line and two plays later Steelman plunged in from two yards out to cap a seven-play, 63-yard drive that took 3:25 off the clock. Alex Carlton’s PAT gave Army a 14-0 lead with 2:03 left in the opening period.
Kent State got their offense rolling on its next possession. Keyed by a 30-yard pass completion, the Golden Flashes went 80 yards in eight plays for their first touchdown, a 19-yard run by Jarvis who was playing in his first game since the season opener due to a groin injury. The extra point cut the Army lead to 14-7 with 12:46 left in the second quarter.
Army went three-and-out on the next drive and after Jonathan Bulls’ first punt, the Golden Flashes took sgoal attempt was stopped short and Army took over at its own 26-yard line.
The Black Knights took advantage of the stop, going to the air for the majority of its 74-yard touchdown drive. A 41-yard pass from Steelman to junior WR Davyd Brooks moved the Black Knights into Kent State territory and Steelman found sophomore WR George Jordan for 19-yard pickup down to the 1-yard line. Cobbs finished the drive with a one-yard run off left tackle. Carlton’s third PAT pushed Army’s lead to 21-7 with 4:25 left in the half.
The Black Knights’ defense forced its first turnover of the afternoon when senior FS Donovan Travis picked off a Kent State pass on the first play of the ensuing drive and returned it 50 yards to the Golden Flashes 22-yard line. On the first play, Cobbs appeared to be stopped cold, but reversed his field and ran 14 yards to the Kent State 8-yard line. Steelman completed the scoring drive with a three-yard run, his second touchdown of the day. The Carlton PAT pushed Army’s lead to 28-7 with 2:00 left in the second quarter.
Army’s defense got one more stop, and the Black Knights took a knee to end the half.
Cobbs led the Army rushing attack in the first 30 minutes with 64 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Hassin rushed 11 times for 47 yards and a score. Steelman finished the first half with just 17 rushing yards, but completed four of his five passes for 83 yards.
Army went three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half, and the Golden Flashes used a 35-yard punt return to take over at the Army 29-yard line. Kent State needed only three plays to reach the end zone on a two-yard run by Jacquis Terry. The extra point cut the Army lead to 28-14 with 11:43 left in the third quarter.
The Black Knights answered right back with a nine-play, 82-yard march that was capped by a five-yard run by rookie Raymond Maples. The pass again keyed the drive with Steelman hitting junior WR Austin Barr for a 39-yard pickup deep into Kent State territory. Carlton’s fifth extra point pushed the Black Knights’ lead back to 21 points at 35-14 with 7:32 left in the quarter. It was Maples’ first career rushing touchdown and his second overall score of the season (receiving touchdown at Duke).
The see-saw offensive show continued on Kent’s State’s next drive. The Golden Flashes used a 28-yard rush by Morgan and a 25-yard scamper by Jarvis to move to the Army 14-yard line. On 2nd-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Morgan was flushed from the pocket, but found Justin Thompson wide open in the back of the end zone for the score. The extra point made the score 35-21 with 4:23 left in the third quarter.
Army punted the ball back to the Golden Flashes, and Kent State took over at its own 30-yard line after a 26-yard kick from Bulls. The Black Knights came up with their second takeaway on the next play when senior DB Richard King stepped in front of an overthrown ball and returned it 16 yards to the Kent State 38-yard line. A late hit out of bounds on the play moved the ball to the Golden Flashes’ 23-yard line.
Army needed five plays to convert the turnover into points with Cobbs going in from three yards out for his second touchdown of the game. Carlton’s career-high sixth extra point pushed the Army lead to 42-21 with 13:07 left in the fourth quarter.
The Golden Flashes continued to light up the scoreboard in the second half when Morgan hit Goode for a 72-yard catch and run on the third play of the ensuing drive. The PAT trimmed the Army margin to 42-28 with 12:16 left on the fourth-quarter clock.
Army answered with a scoring drive that milked five minutes, 38 seconds off the clock. Carlton connected on a season-long 49-yard field goal to with 6:29 left to push Army’s lead to three possessions at 45-28. It was Carlton’s eighth consecutive field goal.
Kent State moved into Army territory, but King came up big again with his second interception of the game. He returned the ball 21 yards to the Army 41-yard line to give the Black Knights a first down with 4:46 to go. The Black Knights were forced to punt, but were able to run 1:37 off the clock before Bulls’ 50-yard punt for a touchback with 3:09 to go.
The Golden Flashes again moved into Army territory, but the Black Knights forced their fourth turnover of the game. Senior LB Stephen Anderson forced a fumble by Battles and senior DT Mike Gann recovered to give Army the ball with less than two minutes to go.
The Black Knights were able to run out the clock and secure the victory.
Army will try to continue its momentum when they take on Notre Dame on Saturday, Nov. 20 in the first collegiate football game played at the new Yankee Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. with NBC pregame show starting at 7 p.m.