Final Statistics: Army 16, SMU 14
DALLAS, Texas – Army (7-6) forced three turnovers, including a 55-yard fumble return for a touchdown by senior DE Josh McNary, to build a 16-0 halftime lead, and hung on for a 16-14 win over SMU (7-7) in the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in front of a stadium-record crowd of 36,742 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Army led 13-0 less than 10 minutes into the game and tacked on a 44-yard field goal by junior Alex Carlton with 2:39 left in the second quarter to claim its largest lead.
SMU scored a pair of unanswered touchdowns to close within two points and had a 47-yard field goal try to take the lead with less than five minutes to go, but the kick sailed wide left. Army was able to run out the clock, including converting a pair of key third-down plays. A 22-yard pass from sophomore QB to junior WR Davyd Brooks on 3rd-and-4 from the Army 47 sealed the victory.
The win clinched Army’s first winning season since the 1996 squad went 10-2, and snapped a two-game losing streak in bowl games. The Black Knights are now 3-2 in their five bowl games after securing their first postseason win since a 31-29 win over Illinois in the 1985 Peach Bowl.
Senior LB Stephen Anderson was named Army’s Most Outstanding Player after registering a season-high 14 tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and an interception. Anderson finished his Army career with 298 tackles and 34.0 tackles for loss, the fifth-highest total in Academy history.
In addition to Anderson and McNary, sophomore CB Josh Jackson accounted for the third takeaway with a second-quarter interception.
Offensively, sophomore FB Jared Hassin led the Army ground game with 82 yards on 18 carries. Hassin’s effort moved his season total to 1,013 rushing yards, making him only the second Army sophomore (Mike Mayweather) to crack the millennium mark and the 11th player overall. It is the 14th 1,000-yard season in Army history and ranks 13th on the Black Knights’ single-season list.
Senior SB Patrick Mealy ran for 57 yards on 11 carries, while sophomore Malcolm Brown had 31 yards on five carries, including Army’s only offensive touchdown, a 13-yard run. Brown scored the Black Knights’ final three offensive touchdowns of the season after catching two scores versus Navy.
Steelman was 2-for-7 for 30 yards through the air, coming just five yards shy of being the first Army player to record 1,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in the same season. Both of Steelman’s completions went to Brooks.
SMU outgained the Black Knights 413-229 and held a 30:41-29:19 time of possession advantage.
Mustangs’ QB Kyle Padron was 23-for-34 for 302 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Wide receiver Darius Johnson was SMU’s Most Outstanding Player with nine catches for 152 yards and a touchdown. Aldrick Robinson caught five passes for 76 yards and a score. Zach Line led the SMU rushing game with 103 yards on 17 carries.
Army ran for 199 yards, marking only the second win in the Rich Ellerson Era when not reaching the 200-yard mark on the ground (2-7).
SMU won the toss and after a touchback put the ball at the 20-yard line, Padron hit Robinson for a 45-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. After another six-yard gain, the Army defense provided the game’s first big play. Zach Watts sacked Padron, forcing a fumble that McNary scooped up and returned 55 yards for the game’s first score. Alex Carlton’s PAT gave Army an early 7-0 lead with 13:33 left in the first quarter.
McNary’s touchdown was Army’s first fumble return for a score since Anderson returned one 81 yards at Tulane in 2008, and marked the longest fumble return in Armed Forces Bowl history.
Army appeared to force a three-and-out on SMU’s next possession, but punter Matt Szymanski ran the ball around left end for a first down. The Mustangs moved the ball into scoring territory, but Szymanski’s 35-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.
The Black Knights were able to take advantage of the SMU miscue with an eight-play, 80-yard drive that took 3:14 off the clock. Brown capped the drive with a 13-yard scoring run, his third touchdown in the last two games. Carlton’s PAT attempt was blocked to keep the score at 13-0 with 5:26 left in the first quarter. Mealy provided the biggest play of the drive with a 22-yard run on the first play of the possession.
The blocked extra point was Carlton’s first career PAT miss, ending his streak of 54 in a row. It was the third-longest extra point streak in Academy history. Carlton finished the season with 41 extra points in 2010 stand as the fifth-most on Army’s single-season list.
The Mustangs again threatened, driving the ball to the Army 22-yard line, but the Black Knights’ defense stepped up again. This time it was Anderson stepping in front of Padron’s pass attempt and returning it eight yards to the Army 23-yard line.
Army moved the ball into SMU territory, but the drive stalled inside the 40-yard line. Jonathan Bulls was able to hit a 32-yard punt that checked up perfectly and was downed at the SMU 2-yard line where the Mustangs took over with 11:06 left in the half.
Padron hit Johnson for a 37-yard gain on the first play of the ensuing drive, but on second down, Jackson picked off Padron and returned the ball 38 yards to the SMU 30-yard line. It was the longest interception return in Armed Forces Bowl history. The Black Knights were unable to pick up a first down, however, and Bulls again tried to pin the Mustangs deep. Richard Crawford returned the ball 10 yards to the Army 21-yard line.
A holding penalty stalled the SMU drive and after a fair catch by Jackson on a Szymanski’s punt set the Black Knights up at their own 49-yard line with 6:10 left in the second quarter. Army moved inside the 30-yard line, setting up Carlton’s 44-yard field goal that pushed Army’s lead to 16-0 with 2:39 left in the second quarter. It was Carlton’s 11th consecutive field goal.
After a short kickoff gave the Mustangs the ball near midfield, but the Army defense was again up to the task. On 4th-and-2 from the Army 34-yard line, senior DT Mike Gann stopped Padron for a two-yard loss that gave Army possession a its own 36-yard line with 1:09 left in the half. The Black Knights did not move the chains, and Bull’s punt was the final play of the half.
SMU outgained the Black Knights 215-130 in the first half and held a 15:01-14:49 edge in time of possession, but was kept off the board by the three turnovers.
Hassin led all players with 48 rushing yards through two quarters, while Padron was 10-for-16 for 166 yards and two interceptions after 30 minutes.
Army received the ball to start the second half and after moving the chains once down faced a fourth down. The Black Knights’ offense lined up as if to go for it on 4th-and-1 from their own 41-yard line, but called timeout after an unsuccessful attempt to draw the Mustangs offside. The offense broke the huddle again, but this time Malcolm Brown was able to pick up the first down on a sweep around the right end. Army was forced to punt on the next set of downs. Bulls’ punt struck an SMU player, but the Mustangs recovered at their own 8-yard line with 8:56 to go in the third quarter.
SMU put together its first touchdown drive of the game, marching 92 yards on 13 plays in 6:00. Padron found Robinson wide open on a post route for the score. Szymanski’s PAT cut the Army lead to 16-7 with 2:56 left in the third quarter. The Mustangs converted two third downs with more than 10 yards to go in Army territory to keep the scoring drive alive, and scored on a third-and-goal from the 8-yard line.
The Black Knights punted the ball back to the Mustangs on its next possession, and SMU continued the comeback with a 10-play, 74-yard touchdown drive that took 5:30 off the clock. Padron hit Johnson with a 28-yard scoring strike to cap the march. The extra point cut Army’s lead to 16-14 with 9:20 to go.
Army started its next possession deep in its own territory after Raymond Maples could not get to the kickoff that was affected by the wind. Maples fell on the ball to give Army possession at its own 11-yard line. The Black Knights went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and the Mustangs took over at their own 38-yard line with 8:15 to go.
The Mustangs again moved the ball into scoring position, driving to the Army 30-yard line, but Army’s defense stiffened, coming up with a third-down stop and forcing a field goal attempt. Szymanski’s 47-yard try hooked wide left, giving the Black Knights the ball at their own 30-yard line with 4:05 to go in the fourth quarter.
Army picked up two first downs and were able to run out the clock, sealing the victory.
The win snapped Army’s two-game overall losing streak and a 22-game skid against teams with winning records.