Army romps to bowl win…Hopkins, Nachtigal lead football to bowl win

By Kat Castner Army Athletic Communications

January 10th, 2019 | Army and Community Sports, Sports
 The Army West Point Football team gathers with the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl trophy after its 70-14 romp over the University of Houston Dec. 22 in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Class of 2019 Cadet Hallie Pound
Excitement rushed through the Army contingent during the game as Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams took his turn banging the drum with the Cadet Spirit Band. Photo by Class of 2019 Cadet Hallie Pound
 Junior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. was named the bowl MVP after putting up impressive numbers. Hopkins Jr. scampered for 170 yards and five touchdowns, while compiling 70 through the air on a perfect 3-of-3 day, during Army West Point’s 70-14 win over Houston Dec. 22 in the 2018 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo provided by Army Athletic Communications
 Senior linebacker James Nachtigal led the Black Knights’ defensive corps registering 3.5 sacks and a career high 16 tackles. Army West Point recorded 10 sacks as a defensive unit, which broke a program record.           Photo by Class of 2019 Cadet Hallie Pound

The Army West Point Football team put on a show Dec. 22 when it ran past Houston 70-14 in the 2018 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Black Knights earned their second-straight Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl win, their fourth consecutive bowl win, and sixth overall as a program. They became the first school to win three Armed Forces Bowls.
Junior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. was named the bowl MVP after putting up impressive numbers. Hopkins Jr. scampered for 170 yards, while compiling 70 through the air on a perfect 3-of-3 day.
With those numbers, Hopkins Jr. became the first cadet-athlete to run and pass for over 1,000 yards in a season.
Senior linebacker James Nachtigal led the Cadets’ defensive corps registering 3.5 sacks and a career high 16 tackles. Army recorded 10 sacks as a defensive unit, which broke a program record.

Highlights and game notes
• The 56-point margin of victory tied for the largest in the history of college football bowl games.
• The 42 points scored in the first half were the most scored by the Black Knights in an opening half since they did so against Fordham on Oct. 29, 2011.
• The 77-yard touchdown run by Hopkins Jr. in the first quarter was the longest touchdown run for Army in its bowl history.
• The junior ran for over 100 yards for the third time in his career, while he also recorded his fourth multiple touchdown game of his career.
• On the day, Hopkins Jr. rushed for five scores, which tied Carlton Jones’ program record achieved against USF in 2004.
• Hopkins Jr. became the 17th player in Army history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season and third player under head coach Jeff Monken.
• The Cadets have registered at least 40 rushing touchdowns in each of the last three seasons.
• The 70 points scored on the day were the most put up by Army in it’s bowl history. It also set a bowl record for points in a game.
• The points were also the most in a game since scoring 81 versus Furman in 1955.
• Army held an opponent to 14 or less points for the fifth consecutive game.

How it happened
• After forcing the Cougars to punt during their opening drive, the Black Knights used 14 plays to go 80 yards in a little under eight minutes to take the early 7-0 lead. Hopkins Jr. finished off the march with a 1-yard rush for his 12th score of the year.
• Army added to its advantage right before the end of the first quarter when Hopkins Jr. broke free for a 77-yard scamper. After a 3-yard run by senior running back Darnell Woolfolk placed the ball at the Army 23, Hopkins Jr. dodged multiple defenders before finding a gap and running into the end zone.
• On the second play of the second period Army converted on a strip sack on Houston’s quarterback Clayton Tune. Nachtigal was credited with the sack, while Cam Jones returned the fumble for his first career score to make it a 21-0 ballgame.
• The Cougars finally got on the scoreboard with 12 minutes remaining on the first-half clock. Tune completed a 3-yard pass to Romeo Brooker for their first touchdown of the game.
• Army quickly answered with another TD score to extend its lead to 28-7 when Hopkins Jr. scampered in from 1-yard out. That three-play, 62-yard drive was highlighted by a 54-yard Hopkins Jr.-to-junior wide receiver Kjetil Cline connection that placed the ball at the Houston one-yard line.
• The Black Knights continued its offensive attack with two additional touchdowns before halftime to make the score 42-7. Hopkins Jr. scored the first one with 7:24 remaining in the second period, before sophomore slotback Artice Hobbs punched one in from 11-yards out with under a minute to play.
• The Cadets received the second half kick and drove 47 yards in five plays to create a 49-7 advantage. Hopkins Jr. found pay dirt for the fifth time in the game when he crossed into the end zone from 1-yard out.
• Junior running back Connor Slomka put Army up by another seven points with a 3-yard rush at the 1:21 mark of the third quarter and then senior running back Jordan Asberry caught a 15 yard pass from sophomore quarterback Cam Thomas to give Army a 63-7 lead.
• Houston cut into the lead midway through the final frame with Clayton Tune finding pay dirt from six yards out to make it 63-14.
• Thomas ran for a 20-yard touchdown for the final score of the game to make it 70-14 as the final score.