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Army Destroys Armed Forces Bowl Records, Annihilates Houston

December 26th, 2018 · Tags:Sports


What a spectacle of pride, dedication, competition and patriotic spirit there must be at the annual  Army/Navy Game … I’ve never been, but I am reminded of that classic as I read the final stats from the Black Knights of Army’s most recent win. 

After destroying the Houston Cougars in the 2018 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, 70-14, again and again on the stats sheet, Army broke bowl records … numerous records, many established by The Navy Midshipmen in previous years at The Armed Forces Bowl (with a few BYU and Cal records mixed in.)

161 rushing yards in the first quarter … 592 total offensive yards … 10 sacks for 71 yards … 254 yards on the ground in the first half … 


And Army’s own records in this bowl, from previous years fell, most notably as Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr.’s five rushing scores surpassed the previous mark set by the predecessor Army quarterback Rashaad Penny for the most rushing touchdowns scored in the Armed Forces Bowl with five in the 2017:

Army Ground War Outlasts Aztecs In Armed Forces Bowl


Army’s 56-point win also set the record for the largest bloodletting in Armed Forces Bowl history, and it also tied for the largest margin in an FBS bowl game.


But in rehashing the complete domination by The Black Knights, personal performances don’t come to mind. Sharing the sidelines with a squad whose new modernized uniforms still maintain an all-for-one mentality with their “throwback” stenciled numbers and individual jerseys simply labeled “Army” on the back, rather than players’ personal IDs. 


Obviously it was a terribly long day for Houston fans, as Coach Major Applewhite and his injury-riddled Cougars threw a green quarterback into the fray, as The Army unleashed the dogs of war.  Heading Houston’s sixth-in-the-nation ranked offense, Clayton Tune, a freshman, mustered two touchdowns, one running and one passing, amassing 215 yards in the air on the day.

The Army defense was relentless, with James Nachtigal setting a bowl record forcing three fumbles.

But, despite the surprising mismatch, it was a great bowl game.  Even huge proponents of today’s exciting, popular air raid offensives would appreciate the discipline … the army-drill repetition … the perfection of Army’s triple-option offensive attack as the Black Knights pounded and pounded away at Houston’s defense.  And then with the complete element of surprise, Army would launch a surface-to-air weapon of its own, with quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. going 3-for-3 and 70 yards passing, in addition to grinding out 100 yards rushing (before a third-quarter shoulder injury eventually took the QB off the front lines).


Any student of the game has to appreciate the throwback personality as Army breaks an offensive huddle, and the quarterback disappears, squatting down  … no, hunkering down … close to the ground, out of sight, behind a big, powerful offensive line. Army ran its perfect option again and again and again … a football machine.

The war machine converted all seven third down plays — 7-7, the highest conversion rate in the Armed Forces Bowl.

The Black Knights also were a near-perfect 8-of-9 inside the red zone, for the best red zone conversion percentage in Armed Forces Bowl history.

With the win, Army recorded the best campaign in its history, with 11 wins, in a season where the black and gold nearly knocked off Oklahoma in September, holding The Sooners to only four touchdowns in a 28-21 battle to the death in overtime.  (The Black Knights held the Heisman-flavored, high-flying OU offense scoreless in the third and fourth quarters!  … I digress …)

“It’s (The bowl game win) just a great exclamation point to what I think is a terrific season,” Army Coach Jeff Monken said. “We weren’t perfect along the way, but what a great finish.”

For, I think this is six or seven Armed Forces Bowls under our belt … A great bowl game — quite handy since our worldwide headquarters are also in Fort Worth — and the games over the years have featured the talents of some pretty big names … Jared Goff … Case Keenum … being two recent examples … and a pretty impressive list of coaches.

Fort Worth and traveling fans as well responded to this celebration of America in kind … a record crowd, in the neighborhood of 45,000 enjoying a game filled with military flyovers, pre-game parachuting, bagpipes, flags and multiple timeouts to salute and honor American military heroes. Of course the game enjoyed a healthy viewership on ESPN, nationally and at military installments around the globe …  Quite an experience, for any red-blooded fan of football and The United States.




At this very bowl, a year ago, this blogger made a new friend in the press box at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, and became friends on Facebook as well … Ha … like clockwork Facebook reminded me of the one-year friendship anniversary as I checked my phone on the sideline of the game. The new friend is one of those guys who does Facebook right.  He always has lots of funny, original posts, and throws in some well-researched humorous posts from other sources too.  He is almost a small town boy like myself, he hails from Plainview, Texas … 

So guess who the first person was that I saw in the pressbox at the 2018 Armed Forces Bowl.  Kevin Cook, you are a funny dude on Facebook and a much welcome sight this year … a year that has brought many changes for “The Ping.” 

Know what I sayin?