WEST POINT – A 10-point UB halftime lead failed to withstand the fury of a relentless Army ground game.
The Cadets pitched a second-half shutout, put together two long scoring drives on the strength of their run game and claimed a 21-17 victory over the Bulls on Saturday afternoon.
UB had things its way in the first half behind its big-play talents – quarterback Tyree Jackson and wide receivers Anthony Johnson and . But, as was the case in an opening 17-7 loss at Minnesota, there was no follow-up to the fast start and UB was shut out in the second half.
The go-ahead: Army’s winning touchdown came on Darnell Woolfolk’s second 1-yard plunge of the fourth quarter. It came with 4:53 remaining and completed a 13-play, 66-yard drive.
Final straw: UB was primed for one more shot after forcing a fourth-and-5 situation with 2:28 remaining. The Cadets, on their own 42, figured to try to pin the Bulls deep with a punt. Instead, Nick Schrage rolled right as if preparing to unleash a rugby punt ... and just kept going. Schrage picked up 15 yards and the Cadets ran out the clock.
Back in it: Army closed its 10-point deficit to 17-14 on Woolfolk’s short burst that completed a 16-play, 79-yard march on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Turning point: UB was in position to pad its lead beyond 17-7 when it drove deep into Army territory in the third quarter. One of the Bulls’ two turnovers on the day ended that threat. Army’s Jaylon McClinton produced a sack/fumble on Jackson, Andrew McLean recovered and the Cadets set off on the long drive that would close their gap to 17-14. UB also surrendered possession on a bad second-quarter exchange between Jackson and Emmanuel Reed. That miscue didn’t hurt the Bulls on the scoreboard. Army did not turn it over.
Red Zone Finish: Both teams drove on their first series of the game but only the Cadets finished it off to the max. The Bulls stalled inside the Army 5 after a 57-yard pass from Jackson to Johnson took the ball down to the Army 11. Adam Mitcheson ended up converting a 21-yard field goal. Army responded with a 73-yard drive. Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw broke off a 52-yard run on the march and capped it with a 1-yard touchdown plunge for a 7-3 lead.
Tyree free: Jackson ripped off a 75-yard touchdown run in the first play of the second quarter. UB’s multi-threat quarterback went right up the middle on a third-down draw, shook off a tackle in the secondary by an Army safety and went the remainder of the way untouched.
Another big strike: The Bulls went up 17-7 with 11:42 left in the second quarter on an 48-yard hookup between Jackson and Antonio Nunn. Nunn ran a deep post off play-action and Jackson laid the ball in perfectly, hitting his receiver in stride at the goal line.
Ground up: Army’s trademark running game left UB searching for answers. The Cadets rolled up 322 yards on the ground on 66 attempts. Bradshaw led the assault by going for 147 yards on 25 carries. Woolfolk contributed 91 yards on 21 carries and Kell Walker rushed eight time for 61 yards. Time of possession favored Army by about 8½ minutes.
Not enough: Jackson finished 9 of 16 passing for 193 yards and also ran 10 times for a team-high 82 yards (deducting sacks). Johnathan Hawkins rushed nine times for 41 yards.
Tale of the tape: Army totaled 19 first downs even though Bradshaw completed just 2 of 8 passes for 17 yards. The Bulls were held to just 11 first downs.
Reversal: The method of victory provided a measure of vindication for Army returnees from the 2016 squad. Last year, the Cadets surrendered 14 fourth-quarter points to the Bulls and lost 23-20, in overtime at UB Stadium.
The records: UB fell to 0-2 while Army upped its record to 2-0.
Next up: The Bulls drop down in class for their home opener against Colgate at 6 p.m. Saturday.