Army Game Notes
CLEVELAND, Ohio Army opened its 2007 season with a 22-14 loss to Akron in the inaugural FirstMerit Patriot Bowl played at Cleveland Browns Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Army scored a touchdown with 38 seconds remaining when junior LB Peter Anderson recovered a punt in the end zone that was blocked by junior LB John Plumstead. The extra point by junior K Adam DeMarco brought Army to within one possession, but the Zips recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock to seal the win.
Junior RB Wesley McMahand led the Black Knights’ ground game with 84 yards on 21 carries.
In the passing game, senior QB David Pevoto posted career highs in attempts (43), completions (23) and passing yards (184). Senior WR Jeremy Trimble was on the receiving end of seven passes for 70 yards, tying his career best in receptions. Senior TE Justin Larson had a career night with six catches for 36 yards, while junior tight end Mike Evans made a career-best three catches for 36 yards.
The Army defense held the Zips to field goals on three of their four trips into the red zone. Senior S Jordan Murray tied his career high with 12 tackles, all solos. Senior CB Kevin Opoku also registered a career high with seven solo tackles. Senior LB Frank Scappaticci notched a career-best eight tackles and recorded his first career sack.
Senior WR Corey Anderson had three kick returns for 89 yards, including a long of 33 yards. Trimble had two punt returns for 40 yards, including a 33-yard return in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Chris Jacquemain led the Zips’ offense, completing 14 of 24 for 125 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Jabari Arthur was his favorite target with a career-best 11 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. Dennis Kennedy paced the Akron rushing attack with 72 yards on 13 carries.
The Zips outgained Army, 287-242, including a 133-58 margin on the ground. The Akron defense sacked Pevoto four times. Andre Jones led the Zips with eight tackles. Davanzo Tate and Reggie Corner each recorded interceptions.
The Zips scored on the game’s first possession after a 70-yard kickoff return by Bryan Williams gave Akron a first down at the Black Knights’ 23-yard line. The Zips drove inside the 5-yard line and appeared to score a touchdown, but an illegal shift penalty nullified the score. The Army defense held on third-and-goal, and the Zips settled for a 23-yard field goal by Iveljic to take a 3-0 lead with 12:30 left in the first quarter.
Akron took a 9-0 lead with 3:50 left in the quarter when Corner stepped in front of a Pevoto pass and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown. The Zips’ extra point attempt went wide to keep the Akron lead at nine.
The Army offense responded to the challenge with a 10-play, 64-yard drive that took more than four minutes off the clock. McMahand capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown run. Adam DeMarco’s extra point cut the lead to 9-7 with 14:20 left in the half. Pevoto came back from the pick six to complete all four of his pass attempts for 31 yards on the drive.
The Black Knights’ defense came up big when it mattered again after the Zips took the ensuing possession and moved the ball 66 yards to the Army 15-yard line. Army forced an incomplete pass on third down and limited the Zips to a 32-yard field goal by Iveljic that made the score 12-7 with 10:28 left in the second quarter.
The Army offense looked to be on the move again, but the offense stalled at the Akron 35-yard line. Owen Tolson’s punt bounced inside the five, but crossed the goal line for a touchback. The Zips took advantage of their final possession of the half with an 80-yard drive that culminated in a Jacquemain-to-Arthur touchdown pass from 19 yards out. The official initially ruled that Arthur’s foot came down out of bounds after he made the leaping grab. After the first replay review of the season, the play was reversed and the Zips were awarded the score. Iveljic’s PAT made the score 19-7 with 31 seconds left in the half.
Army tried a desperation toss at the end of the first half, but the ball fell incomplete, sending the teams into the locker room with the score at 19-7.
The two teams exchanged punts to begin the second half, but the Zips managed to gain the field position advantage after pinning the Black Knights at their own 6-yard line off a John Stec 41-yard kick. Army was forced to punt, and Andre Jones returned the ball from his own 24-yard line to the Army 14-yard line. A block in the back penalty gave the Zips a first down at the Black Knights’ 24-yard line. Army’s defense stiffened yet again and forced a 39-yard field goal attempt that went wide left to keep the Akron lead at 12 points.
The Black Knights couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity and went three-and-out on its next possession. The Zips drove inside the Black Knights’ 20-yard line. Army forced a third-down incompletion, but an illegal hands to the face penalty gave the Zips new life. Akron used the extra set of downs to put three points on the board. Iveljic hit his third field goal of the night, a 28-yarder, to make the score 22-7 with 13:46 left in the contest.
A game-long 20-yard run by McMahand put the Black Knights inside the Zips’ 30-yard line, but Army could not convert a fourth-down attempt to turn the ball over on downs. The Black Knights forced a punt and drove the ball to the Akron 32-yard line. Pevoto dropped back to pass, was hit as he threw and the ball wound up in the hands of Akron’s Tate at the 3-yard line. Tate returned it to the 4-yard line where the Zips took over with 5:31 to go.
The Black Knights’ defense forced another punt, but the offense again turned the ball over on downs inside the Akron 30-yard line.
Army scored the final touchdown of the game on the blocked punt. The Zips recovered the onside kick and were able to take a knee to end the game.
The Black Knights make their home debut next Saturday against Rhode Island. Kickoff at Michie Stadium is set for 1 p.m.