April 19, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. – Cornerback Josh Jenkins forced and recovered a fumble with less than two minutes remaining to thwart the Black team’s comeback attempt and preserve the Gold squad’s 20-14 victory in the annual Black & Gold Game at Michie Stadium Saturday afternoon. The Gold roster consisted of the first-team defense and second-team offense, while the Black squad was the first-team offense and second-team defense.
Freshman quarterback Matthew Kaufmann started for the Gold team, completing 13 of his 17 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown. He connected with Mike Parros three times for 68 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Edgar Poe also caught three passes. Fullback Matt Giachinta led the Gold’s running attack with 68 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
Kickers accounted for Gold’s other six points. Cale Brewer hit a 37-yarder in the second quarter, while Ralph Freibert drilled a 30-yard field goal in the third quarter.
On the Black side, senior fullback Larry Dixon rushed 12 times for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback A.J. Schurr completed nine throws in 18 attempts for 137 yards. Tony Giovannelli carried three times for 37 yards and caught six passes for 114 yards.
Defensively, Tunde Akinniyi led the Gold side with five tackles, while Andrew King and Jenkins both had four stops. Derek Sanchez and Mike Ugenyi were both credited with stops behind the line of scrimmage. The Black stop unit was led by Justin Fahn’s eight stops, including one for loss. Jim Forgrave made seven tackles, two behind the line, including a sack. The Black team made a total of 11 tackles for loss.
The two teams posted nearly identical total offense numbers. The Black team outgained the Gold side, 289-286, including a 152-80 edge on the ground.
The Gold team scored on the first possession, marching 72 yards in 11 plays. Kaufmann’s 36-yard scoring strike to Parros capped the drive that took six minutes, 31 seconds off the clock.
The teams exchanged punts, and a 36-yard boot by Alex Tardieu that was downed at the 2-yard line gave the Black team its worst field position. A three-and-out forced a punt by Grochowski that was returned 25 yards to the Gold’s 10-yard line by Jenkins, but on the first play, a fumble on the center-quarterback exchanged gave the ball right back to the Black team. The side was eventually forced to punt, giving Gold the ball at its own 48-yard line.
A 21-yard pass to Elijah St. Hilaire on the first play of the drive set up Brewer’s 37-yard field goal to give the Gold a 10-0 lead with 7:44 left in the half.
After another Black punt, the Gold again took to the air to set up a score. Kaufmann found tight end Jacob Owens for a gain of 41 yards, and on the next play, Giachinta covered 17 yards nearly untouched for the touchdown. The extra point extended the Gold lead to 17-0 with 3:16 left in the half.
The Black team answered before the half, covering 84 yards in eight plays. Schurr and Giovannelli connected on back-to-back throws that accounted for 39 yards, and after Giovannelli gained 18 on a run to the Gold 8-yard line, Dixon finished the job with 1:03 left in the half.
The Black team was forced to punt on its first possession of the second half, and the Gold converted the opportunity into three points. Kaufmann and Parros connected for 25 yards to help set up Freibert’s 30-yard field goal with 7:30 to go in the quarter.
Black pulled within one score in the opening moments of the fourth quarter. On 4th-and-6 from the Gold 36-yard line, Schurr and Giovannelli hooked up for a gain of 31 yards. Dixon found paydirt on the next play, trimming the team’s deficit to 20-14.
The Black squad threatened to take the lead, driving the ball inside the Gold 30-yard line with less than two minutes to go, but Jenkins’s sack and fumble recovery halted the comeback attempt.
Army begins its 2014 season Sept. 6 at home versus Buffalo. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m.
Head Coach Jeff Monken
(Ref.: his thoughts on the game)
“It was a good competitive game. I thought there were some good plays and some good hits. There were a lot of mistakes, but I was pleased we were able to put that together and operate like a game. I thought our guys handled it well, and the coaches did a great job getting organized.”
(Ref.: achieving his goals for spring practice)
“I don’t know if I had any goals for the end of spring practice. I certainly wanted to improve and get better, and I think we’ve done that. We’re not anywhere close to being where we need to be to play a game next fall. Fortunately, we’ve got 29 practices to get prepared for the opening game, and we’ll use every one of them.”
(Ref.: the quarterback position heading into the preseason)
“I think it’s going to be a battle. It’s going to be a battle at every position, but certainly there. Angel (Santiago) and A.J. (Schurr) all spring have gone back and forth. I think that will be a real contest in the fall. We’ll figure out who the starter is going to be heading into that first game. The good thing is that I think both of them do a good job handling the coaching and have really worked to learn the things we’re trying to do in terms of reads, scheme and overall philosophy. We still have a lot to put in so we’ll figure out more when we start practicing in August.”
(Ref.: A.J. Schurr’s performance)
“I thought A.J. had a really good day. I was impressed with the way he ran the ball and how tough he is. He really played that way all spring so hopefully he’ll continue to do that.”
(Ref.: using the shotgun)
“Over the last few years, we’ve done that at Georgia Southern. It’s not our whole package, but it’s part of it. Percentage-wise, I don’t know how much we’ll get into it, but we’ll use it when we need to.”
(Ref.: grading Matt Kaufmann’s play)
“I thought he did a good job. He’s a tough kid. He takes a lot of pride in knowing his assignments and making the right reads. He wasn’t mistake free. I was impressed with him coming in and having to be the starting quarterback when he probably didn’t expect that. I thought he handled it well. I think we can get something out of him.”
Fullback Matt Giachinta
(Ref.: the meaning of winning for the Gold team)
“It’s great. After three or four weeks of hard work, it’s always good to end on a strong note. We came together and definitely played as a team. I liked the energy.”
(Ref.: Matt Kaufmann’s play)
“He’s been really good this spring. I thought he really stepped up. He’s been getting a lot more action this spring, and I really think he’s stepped up into that role. I can’t thank him enough for all the hard work he’s put in this spring.”
Quarterback Matt Kaufmann
(Ref.: quarterbacking the winning team)
“It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for my great offensive line blocking and the receivers catching the ball. The defense did a great job getting stops and getting us in good position.”
(Ref.: his touchdown throw to Mike Parros)
“I tried to put it out there just to give him a chance, and he made a great play on the ball. He made a good grab. That’s hat players do.”
(Ref.: his goals for the spring)
“I just wanted to improve myself as a quarterback and see what I could do to help the team.”
Fullback Larry Dixon
(Ref.: how seriously the Black team takes the loss)
“We take it to heart. I love these guys to death. It’s a catch 22. I wanted to get the win, but I’m happy to see my brothers do well. Matt Giachinta did well. Matt Kaufmann stepped up and played a solid game. You see those guys make big plays and you’re happy for them, but at the same time, you want to win. The Gold team has the bragging rights through the summer, but I think we’re coming together as a team. The Army team still won.”
(Ref.: improvement from the last two scrimmages)
“The competition level came up. It’s just fun to be around these guys. I’m realizing as a senior how special it is to be a part of this team, represent this school and play with these guys. These guys are my brothers. We’ve done things that people won’t even understand. It’s hard to describe what it’s like to come out here at 4:30 in the morning. We worked together through that, and to have it culminate in this kind of competition was awesome.”
Safety Geoffery Bacon
(Ref.: playing on the winning team)
“It means we did some of the things we wanted to, but not all of them. Our goal was to shut them out, and we didn’t do that. That means we have a lot more work to do. We all did a good job, but we have so much more work to do to get to the point of greatness. We feel that we can. It’s going to take some more time and work, but thankfully, we have time.”