Western Kentucky @ ARMY Game Notes
Sept. 11, 2021
Michie Stadium, United States Military Academy at West Point
The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers began the game’s opening drive with a strong early offensive showcase versus the Black Knights, as they consistently drove down the field until they reached the Army 36-yard-line. On the seventh play of the drive, Hilltoppers quarterback Bailey Zappe was intercepted by junior defensive back Marquel Broughton.
Unfortunately for the Cadets, a promising early drive of their own ended prematurely on their seventh play of the game, as well. Sophomore running back Anthony Adkins had the ball stripped from him by Hilltoppers redshirt sophomore defensive back Kahlef Hailassie and the ball was soon recovered by redshirt senior defensive tackle Jeremy Darvin.
Western Kentucky’s ensuing drive stalled out after an early failed 4th down conversion, giving Army the chance to bounce back from their early turnover. The ground game bounced right back strong on the feet of junior running back Jakobi Buchanan and senior quarterback Christian Anderson.
The first quarter ended scoreless, 0-0.
Right away, the Cadets opened the second quarter with their first score of the afternoon — a 24-yard option rushing touchdown by sophomore running back Tyrell Robinson. The running touchdown capped off a 10-play, 62-yard drive that lasted for four minutes and 50 seconds. ARMY leads 7-0.
After another failed drive by the Hilltoppers, Army tipped a punt from WKU and began their third drive of the game in great field position on the Knights 47-yard line. Just four plays later, it would be Army’s air game that delivered, as the Cadets stunned the WKU defense for a 40-yard touchdown from Anderson to junior running back Braheam Murphy. Army’s second score of the day closed out a four-play, 53-yard drive that lasted for one minute and 55 seconds.
ARMY leads 14-0.
However, Western Kentucky immediately responded with a 73-yard bomb downfield from Zappe to junior wide receiver Jerreth Sterns. It was a quick three-play drive that lasted only 50 seconds to cut the lead in half.
ARMY leads 14-7.
The Cadets offense wasn’t deterred and went right back to work, bleeding the clock in the second quarter and dominating the Hilltoppers defense on the ground once again. A 16-play, 75-yard drive ended with the team’s second rushing touchdown on the afternoon — a one-yard run by Buchanan to put Army up by two scores once again. This capped off a drive that killed off eight minutes and 33 seconds… more than half of the game clock in the second quarter.
ARMY leads 21-7.
With 2:07 left in the first half, the Tops went into a two-minute drill offense. Zappe and the Hilltoppers passing offense was firing on all cylinders for WKU, scoring on a 10-yard quarterback keeper by Zappe. This score was set up by two back-to-back throws from Zappe to junior wide receiver Craig Burt Jr. for a total of 48 yards. In just 93 seconds, WKU drove 75 yards on six plays.
ARMY leads 21-14.
At the end of the first half, Army had a total of 230 yards — 158 rushing, 72 passing.
Western Kentucky had a total of 253 yards — 236 passing and only 17 on the ground.
To begin the third quarter, the Black Knights went right back to their offensive domination. With a strong grip on both time of possession and rushing, Army punched their ticket into the endzone for the fourth time in the game. This time, it was a three-yard dash into the endzone from Adkins to cap off a 10-play, 75-yard drive that burned six minutes and three seconds off the clock.
ARMY leads 28-14.
To close out the third quarter, Army dominated in terms of the time of possession, owning 29:57 of the game to that point as compared to the 15:03 of the total clock from WKU.
WKU still had no answers for Army’s versatile offense, as the Cadets opened the fourth quarter with yet another rushing touchdown from Buchanan, who punched the ball past the goal line following a 13-yard scamper after his previous three-yard score was nullified by a holding penalty. The drive was another long one for the Black Knights, who burned nine minutes and 14 seconds of game clock in a dominating drive that bridged together between the third and fourth quarters. On 14 plays and 71 yards, the Black Knights took a strong lead against the Hilltoppers.
ARMY leads 35-14.
Down, but not out, the Hilltoppers followed the Army score with a strong drive of their own. An eight-play, 75-yard drive that lasted only two minutes and 26 seconds was capped off by a 21-yard pass from Zappe to junior wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley. The Tops attempted an onside kick to quickly regain possession, but failed to recover, setting up the Cadets with great field position.
ARMY leads 35-21.
The Black Knights ensuing drive ended with a quick three-and-out, giving WKU another chance to chip away at the score and tie up the game with 6:21 to go in the contest. Zappe’s arm was on fire, throwing clutch completions to Tinsley on back-to-back passes for a combined 57 yards to get the Tops to the Army 10-yard line.
Following an intentional grounding penalty on Zappe, the WKU QB threw his third touchdown on the afternoon — a 14-yard completion to Sterns to bring the Hilltoppers within one score for the first time since the second quarter. The six-play, 63-yard drive lasted only one minute, 23 seconds.
ARMY leads 35-28.
With WKU threatening, Army’s offense delivered in their following drive on a clutch run for 20 yads to the Hilltoppers 21-yard line by Anderson. With just under two minutes to go in the game, Army scored a clutch 31-yard field goal off the foot of junior kicker Cole Talley to make it a two-score game for WKU.
ARMY leads 38-28.
With 1:52 left in the game, Zappe started 5-for-5 for the Tops through the air for 54 yards before WKU running back Adam Cofield scored on a two-yard run to bring the game’s deficit down to three points with only 21 seconds left in the game. In just 90 seconds, the Hilltoppers went 75 yards on nine plays to close the gap against the Cadets with less than half a minute to go.
ARMY leads 38-35.
WKU attempted their third onside kick of the day and failed to recover, allowing Army to run out the clock for the win to begin their season 2-0. WKU falls to 1-1.
ARMY wins 38-35.