Final Statistics: Army 22, VMI 17
WEST POINT, N.Y. - Trent Steelman threw for a career-high 174 yards, Patrick Mealy rushed for a career-best 136 yards and Alex Carlton kicked three field goals as Army beat VMI, 22-17, Saturday afternoon in front of more than 31,000 wet fans at Michie Stadium.
Playing on senior day, Army stopped a three-game losing streak with a balanced effort and improved to 4-6.
Mealy, who rushed 16 times, scored the game-winning points with nine minutes left in the fourth on a 17-yard run. Steelman, making his 10th start, connected on 11-of-14 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown in his best passing effort to date.
Alejandro Villanueva caught seven passes for 119 yards and a first-quarter touchdown to help the Black Knights to a victory on Military Appreciation Day.
Carlton connected on field goals of 28, 41 and 37 yards and Army's defense made its late lead stand up.
Donovan Travis led the Army defense with 12 tackles while Andrew Rodriguez made eight and Kyler Martin and Josh McNary registered seven stops apiece.
Howard Abegesah led the VMI attack with 111 rushing yards on 24 carries while Cameron Jones carried three times for 100 yards.
The teams exchanged fumbles early in the contest before Army got on the board in the first quarter. Rodriguez recovered a fumble and the Black Knights went on a 42-yard, seven-play drive. Jameson Carter rushed for 20 yards on the first two plays, Steelman picked up 12 yards and then found Villanueva in the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown.
The Black Knights extended their advantage to 10 points early in the second quarter when Carlton kicked a 28-yard field goal. Steelman and Villanueva connected for 14 yards to keep the drive alive and held Army to a 10-0 lead at intermission.
VMI , now 2-8, got on the board on its first possession of the second half with a six-play, 92-yard drive. Jones hit Tim Maypray for a 13-yard touchdown pass, after setting up the score with a 68-yard run.
The Keydets tied the game after forcing an Army fumble on the kickoff. Jeff Sexton kicked a 28-yard field goal to knot the score at 10 with nine minutes left in the third quarter.
Army went back on top with a 41-yard field goal from Carlton with 5:52 remaining in the third quarter.
Carlton then kicked a 37 yard field goal, after Mike Gann recovered a fumble on the previous possession.
The Keydets took their second lead of the game when Abegesah broke off a 44-yard scoring run up the middle and a 17-16 lead with 14:46 left in the game.
Army got the ball back following a punt and went on top to stay. Mealy rushed for 13 yards, Steelman found Villanueva for a 22-yard gain and then Mealy went up the home sidelines for a 17-yard scoring run. Originally, Villanueva was ruled out of bounds on his reception but the play was overturned on replay, setting up Mealy's touchdown run.
Steve Erzinger made a key fourth-down stop, ending a VMI drive with five minutes left in the game. VMI got one last possession after an Army fumble but forced an incomplete pass to again turn the ball over on downs.
Army will play at North Texas, Saturday in Denton, Texas. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET.