NEW ORLEANS, La. Senior FB Collin Mooney rushed 19 times for a career-high 187 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Black Knights to a 44-13 victory on Saturday in front of 23,794 fans at Tad Gormley Stadium. Army improved to 1-4 while the Green Wave fell to 2-3.
The win snapped Army’s 11-game losing streak that dated back to last season’s Tulane victory at Michie Stadium. The win also stopped a 12-game losing streak in games played away from West Point.
Leading 23-13 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Black Knights scored 21 unanswered in the fourth quarter. Army’s 44 total points were seven more than its season total entering the game.
Army held a 291-156 advantage on the ground, becoming the first team this season to rush for more than 100 yards versus Tulane. The Green Wave entered the game ranked ninth in the nation, allowing just 68.5 yards per game on the ground. It was the Black Knights’ best rushing game of the season and highest since going for 300 on the ground versus Arkansas State on Nov. 19, 2005.
Mooney’s rushing day was the best by an Army player since Carlton Jones ran for 187 yards against Arkansas State in 2005. It was the first 4-touchdown game by a Black Knight since Jones had and Academy record five scores against South Florida on Oct. 16, 2004.
In addition to Mooney, sophomore QB Chip Bowden rushed 13 times for 51 yards, while senior RB Wesley McMahand chipped in 38 yards on four carries. Bowden was 3 of 4 for 39 yards through the air.
The Army defense and special teams also contributed to the victory. Freshman linebacker Steve Erzinger blocked a punt to set up the Black Knights’ first score, and sophomore LB Stephen Anderson scooped up a fumble and ran 81 yards for the Black Knights’ second touchdown. Junior DE Victor Ugenyi recorded Army’s second blocked kick of the game, tipping a fourth-quarter field goal attempt, and senior LB Frank Scappaticci scored Army’s final touchdown on a 35-yard interception return. It was the first time since Sept. 16, 2000 versus Houston that the Black Knights scored two defensive touchdowns in the same game.
Scappaticci led the defense with a career-high 12 tackles and two interceptions. Senior DB Lowell Garthwaite added nine stops, while Anderson recorded eight takedowns in his second straight start. Sophomore LB Rod Murray recorded his first career interception.
The Black Knights held a 4-0 advantage in turnovers, marking the first time this season they did not commit a giveaway. Army is now 4-2 since the start of 2006 when winning the turnover battle.
Tulane’s Andre Anderson ran for 107 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. It was Anderson’s third straight 100-yard rushing game. Quarterback Kevin Moore was 22 for 35 through the air for 273 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The Green Wave held a 486-334 total offense advantage.
Corey Sonnier and Chinonso Echebelem each had eight stops for Tulane. The Green Wave entered the game ranked first in the nation with 4.0 sacks per game, but were not able to get to the quarterback on any of Army’s five pass attempts.
The Black Knights parlayed a special teams play into the game’s first touchdown. After the Army defense forced a punt, Erzinger blocked the kick and senior WR Joe LeForte fell on the ball to give the Black Knights a first down on the Green Wave 22-yard line. Mooney then went to work, accounting for all 22 yards on the touchdown drive. He carried four times for 13 yards and had a key 9-yard third-down reception to keep the possession alive. Mooney capped the drive with a 4-yard plunge. DeMarco’s PAT kick was good, giving Army a 7-0 lead with 11:16 left in the opening quarter.
The Green Wave was primed to tie the game, moving the ball to the Army 6-yard line on the ensuing possession. Moore dropped back to pass on 3rd-and-5, but had the ball slip out of his hand. Anderson scooped it up at the 19-yard line and dashed 81 yards down the left sideline for the Black Knights’ first defensive touchdown of the season. DeMarco’s second PAT pushed Army’s lead to 14-0 with 5:24 left in the quarter.
After exchanging punts, the Army defense came up big again, stopping the Green Wave on a 3rd-and-1 to force another Tulane kick. The Black Knights took over on their own 42-yard line, and needed only three plays to punch in their third touchdown of the game. After a 9-yard run by Bowden, Mooney broke free and rumbled for a career-long 47-yard run to put the ball at the Tulane 2-yard line. The senior did the honors on the next play, diving over the goal line for his second score of the day. DeMarco’s PAT was blocked, keeping the Army lead at 20-0 with 12:30 left in the half.
Army came up with another big stop on Tulane’s next drive. On 4th-and-2 from the Black Knights’ 37-yard line, the Green Wave threw a play-action pass, but senior CB Mario Hill broke it up to give Army possession. A career-long 28-yard run by Bowden and a 16-yard rush by senior McMahand moved the ball to the Tulane 35-yard line. A personal foul penalty set the Black Knights up with a first down inside the Tulane 10-yard line, but they could not advance further than the 4-yard line. Sophomore Matthew Campbell connected on a 22-yard field goal, his fourth straight make, to put Army ahead 23-0 with 5:38 left in the half.
The Green Wave got on the board on their next possession on a 1-yard run by Anderson. The score capped a 9-play, 73-yard drive. Ross Thevenot’s extra point cut the Army lead to 23-7 with 2:19 left in the half. Anderson rushed four times for 42 yards, including a 29-yard run to the 1-yard line, on the drive.
Army picked up an initial first down on the ensuing drive, but took a knee to end the half and go into the locker room up by 16.
Mooney led the Army offense with eight rushes for 68 yards and two scores in the opening half. Bowden carried eight times for 47 yards. The Black Knights were 2 of 2 through the air with both Bowden and junior Carson Williams completing one pass each.
The Green Wave held a 225-158 advantage in total offense led by Anderson’s 72 rushing yards on 14 carries. Moore was 12 of 17 through the air for 133 yards through two quarters.
Army went three-and-out on its opening possession, but the defense was able to get the ball right back on Scappaticci’s second interception in as many weeks. The Black Knights were not able to convert on the turnover, getting snuffed on a 4th-and-1 quarterback sneak attempt.
Tulane wasted little time converting the opportunity into points. After moving the chains on 4th-and-1, Moore found Williams for a 49-yard touchdown pass off play action. The Green Wave’s two-point conversion pass was incomplete keeping the score 23-13 with 7:30 left in the third quarter.
Neither team could dent the scoreboard for the remainder of the quarter, and the Black Knights remained ahead by 10 points heading into the final stanza.
The Green Wave had a scoring chance early in the final period, but Thevenot’s 47-yard field goal attempt was tipped at the line by Ugenyi and landed harmlessly at the 10-yard line, giving Army a first down at its own 30-yard line.
Army used the change of momentum to go on a 70-yard touchdown drive capped by a 30-yard run by Mooney, his third touchdown of the game. Mooney came up big earlier in the drive, taking a screen pass and fighting his way for a first down on 3rd-and-6. Bowden found Damion Hunter on a bubble screen that went 24 yards thanks to a key block by junior OT Ali Villanueva to set up Mooney’s scoring play. Campbell kicked the PAT to give the Black Knights a 30-13 lead with less than 10 minutes to go.
The Green Wave drove inside the Army 30-yard line on its next possession, but Murray made a leaping grab of a pass in the end zone for his first career interception.
Army took over at its own 20-yard line and marched 80 yards for a score. Mooney busted loose for 55 yards to set up his own 10-yard scoring run on the next play. Campbell’s PAT extended Army’s lead to 37-13.
The defense scored its second touchdown of the day when Scappaticci stepped in front of a Moore pass and returned it 35 yards for a score. Campbell kicked his third extra point to give Army a 44-13 lead with less than three minutes to go.
Tualne passed its way inside the red zone, but their final pass hit the turf in the end zone, ending the game and sealing the Black Knights’ first win of the season.
The Black Knights return to Michie Stadium next Saturday to host Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m. in the annual homecoming contest. The first 10,000 fans will receive a mini-replica of Michie Stadium.
Fans can take advantage of a special $49 ticket package for next week’s game. With the purchase of a ticket to the Air Force game on Nov. 1, fans can buy an equal number of seats to either next week’s contest or the Oct. 25 game versus Louisiana Tech for only $13. To purchase tickets, call the Army Ticket Office at 1-877-TIX-ARMY or click on the ticket section of www.goARMYsports.com