COLLEGE STATION, Texas Despite 128 yards rushing from sophomore QB Chip Bowden in his first career start, Texas A&M scored a 21-17 victory over Army in front of 84,090 fans at Kyle Field on Saturday afternoon. The win improved the Aggies’ record to 2-2, while the Black Knights are now 0-4.
Army trailed 21-7 just two minutes into the third quarter, but scored 10 unanswered points to trim the deficit to 21-17. The Black Knights had possession with less than seven minutes to go, but senior FB Collin Mooney was stopped just inches short of the marker on fourth down to give Texas A&M possession with less than four minutes remaining, allowing the Aggies to run out the clock.
Bowden became the first Army quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game since Joe Gerena on Sept. 25, 1999 versus Ball State (122). His 128 yards on the ground were the most by a Black Knight quarterback since Johnny Goff ran for 135 against Louisville on Nov. 21, 1998. He completed 1 of 4 passes for four yards.
Mooney ran 13 times for 55 yards, while senior RB Tony Dace ran three times for 22 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore RB Patrick Mealy accounted for the Black Knights’ other score with a 4-yard run, the first of his career.
Army’s 280 yards rushing was a season high, and the most since the Black Knights posted 300 yards versus Arkansas State on Nov. 19, 2005. Army out rushed the Aggies, 280-133, but Texas A&M held a 290-284 total offense advantage.
Defensively, sophomore CB Jordan Trimble and sophomore LB Stephen Anderson both made a career-high 10 tackles. Anderson also established a new career high with 3.0 tackles for loss. Senior LB Frank Scappaticci accounted for the Black Knights’ lone takeaway with an interception in the second quarter.
Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson came on in relief of an injured Stephen McGee to complete 6 of 10 passes for 53 yards and a score. Jamie McCoy caught five passes for 60 yards and a touchdown, while Cyrus Gray had 61 yards on six rushing attempts. Trent Hunter had 17 tackles for the Aggies.
The first quarter was a defensive struggle with both teams combining for only three first downs, all by the Black Knights. The Army defense held the Aggies to just 42 yards in the opening stanza, including minus-four yards on six rushing attempts.
Bowden ran nine times for 27 yards in the opening quarter to lead the Army offense.
The Army defense set the early tone on the Aggies’ first offensive play when Josh McNary, making his first career start at defensive end, sacked McGee. It was Army’s first sack since the New Hampshire game, and McNary’s first of the season.
The second quarter opened with the Black Knights driving inside the Aggies’ 40-yard line, but a penalty and a fumbled option pitch pushed the ball back near the 50-yard line and forced an Army punt that was downed at the Texas A&M 10-yard line.
The Aggies took advantage with an 8-play, 90-yard touchdown drive that took exactly three minutes off the clock. McGee converted the Aggies’ first third-down with an 8-yard scramble to keep the drive alive. After another first down, McGee hit McCoy for a 25-yard gain into Army territory, and then on the next play found Jeff Fuller for a 42-yard scoring strike off play action. The extra point gave the Aggies a 7-0 lead with 7:12 left in the first half.
Army came right back to tie the game with an eight-play, 84-yard touchdown march. Dace did the honors from eight yards out for his second touchdown of the season, and the Black Knights’ first touchdown in a span of 134:26. The drive was aided by two Texas A&M personal foul penalties. Adam DeMarco’s PAT knotted the score at 7-7 with 3:09 left on the second-quarter clock.
The Black Knights defense forced the game’s first turnover on the ensuing possession when Scappaticci returned an interception to the Texas A&M 45-yard line, but momentum swung quickly back to the Aggies. On 3rd-and-2 from the 37-yard line, Matt Featherston forced a Bowden fumble and Paul Sweeney scooped it up, rumbling 58 yards for a touchdown. The PAT gave the Aggies a 14-7 lead with seven seconds left in the half. It was the third fumble returned for a touchdown this season by an Army opponent.
Army outrushed the Aggies, 120-27, in the first half, but Texas A&M held a 131-124 advantage in total offense.
Bowden paced the Black Knights with 63 yards on 18 carries through two quarters. He completed one of two passes for four yards. Aggie quarterback Stephen McGee was 7 of 9 passing for 104 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the first half before leaving with a shoulder injury.
The Aggies wasted little time getting on the board in the second half, scoring a touchdown on their first possession. A 60-yard run by Gray on the first play from scrimmage set up an 11-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to McCoy two plays later. The extra point pushed the Aggies' lead to 21-7 with 13:44 left in the quarter.
The Black Knights answered the Aggies’ quick-strike with a methodical, 17-play, 71-yard drive that chewed up 8:16 off the clock. Matthew Campbell’s 24-yard field goal trimmed the margin to 21-10 with 5:28 left in the third quarter. It was the Black Knights’ longest drive of the season in terms of number of plays and time of possession. Bowden carried the ball 10 times for 40 yards on the drive.
The Aggies were poised to go in again, driving inside the Black Knights’ 30-yard line, but Anderson made two straight stops behind the line, and Richard King brought down an A&M runner for a loss to set up a 4th-and-20 on the Army 36-yard line. The Aggies elected to try a pooch punt, but the ball traveled just 10 yards to give the Black Knights the ball on their own 26.
Army scored its second touchdown of the half on the ensuing possession, marching 74 yards on 13 plays. Mealy’s 4-yard run, punctuated by a dive over the goal line, capped the drive and DeMarco’s PAT cut the lead to 21-17 with 8:46 remaining.
The Black Knights forced a three-and-out on Texas A&M’s next possession. Carlo Sandiego fielded the punt at the Army 19-yard line and returned it 10 yards, giving Army a first down at the 29-yard line with 6:55 left in the game. The Black Knights drove out to the 48-yard line. On 4th-and-2, Mooney plunged into the middle of the line, and after an official’s measurement, was ruled down just inches short of the first-down marker, giving Texas A&M the ball with 3:58 left in the game.
The Aggies drove to the Army 16-yard line, and on 4th-and-1, 270-pound fullback Jovorskie Lane plowed ahead for 10 yards and first down at the Black Knights’ 6-yard line, allowing the clock to expire.
The crowd of 84,000-plus was the largest audience to watch an Army football game since 91,343 fans witnessed a 25-21 Army win over Tennessee in Knoxville on Oct. 11, 1986.
The Black Knights continue their two-game road swing next Saturda when they take on Tulane at Tad Gormley Stadium in New Orleans, La. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. ET.