Football edges Rice in season-opening win

By Matt Faulkner Army Athletic Communications

September 5th, 2019 | Army and Community Sports, Sports
 Senior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins paced the Black Knights (1-0) on the ground against Rice (0-1) with 80 yards on 21 carries to go along with his first rushing score of the year as Army West Point defeated Rice, 14-7, in the season opener Friday at Michie Stadium.    Photo by Army Athletic Communications

The Army West Point Football team successfully defended Michie Stadium by putting together a lengthy fourth-quarter scoring drive to ward off Rice, 14-7, in the season opener on Friday night under the lights.
Senior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins paced the Black Knights (1-0) on the ground against Rice (0-1) with 80 yards on 21 carries to go along with his first rushing score of the year.
Hopkins also went 3-for-8 in the passing game for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Junior running back Sandon McCoy got the bulk of the duties in the rushing game and he finished with 70 yards on 20 totes.
Defensively, senior linebacker Cole Christiansen led Army with seven tackles, while sophomore linebacker Arik Smith and senior defensive back Cam Jones came away with six apiece.
Senior defensive lineman Jacob Covington and senior defensive back Jaylon McClinton combined for 10 tackles after they each finished with five. In total, the Black Knights offense amassed 284 yards on 64 plays, while the Owls accumulated 243 yards on 43 plays.

Highlights and game notes
• The Black Knights extended their home winning streak to 14 games.
• That is the fourth-longest Football Bowl Subdivision active home winning streak in the nation.
• Army pushed its overall winning streak to 10 games, which is the second longest streak in the nation behind reigning national champion Clemson.
• The Black Knights were 1-for-2 on fourth down conversions. Their successful attempt came on their first scoring drive of the game.
• The Cadets had a third-down conversion rate of 60 percent (9-for-15). Conversely, Army’s defense held Rice to a rate of 27.3 percent (3-for-11).
• Hopkins tallied his 18th career rushing touchdown and seventh passing touchdown.
• Senior running back Kell Walker corralled his second career receiving touchdown.
• McCoy had career-highs in rushing yards (70) and attempts (20).
• The all-time series with the Owls is now even at 4-4-1.
• Jeff Monken passed Gar Davidson on Army’s all-time coaching wins list with his 36th victory at the helm of the Black Knights. Monken now has sole possession of sixth place.
• Both of Army’s scoring drives were 95-plus yards.

How it Happened
• On their opening drive, the Black Knights offense was stopped on 4th-and-1 on their own 15. However, despite the fortunate field positioning for the Owls, the Army defense held its ground and forced Rice to go for a 26-yard field goal try, which soared wide.
• The Cadets struck first and it came in the opening quarter following a 16-play, 95-yard drive that spanned 9:48. The drive started with the Black Knights backed up on their own five-yard line and was finished off by a two-yard Hopkins touchdown run. Senior wide receiver Christian Hayes was responsible for 52 yards on the drive after breaking free for 35 yards on his first career rushing attempt and reeling in a 17-yard pass from Hopkins.
• Rice came right back with an answer and evened the score at seven on the ensuing drive following a 54-yard gallop to the end zone by Nahshon Ellerbe with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter.
• The Owls put themselves right back onto the Black Knights’ side of the field on their next drive after a 41-yard connection between Wiley Green and Austin Trammell. With time winding down in the first half, Rice brought out the field goal unit to attempt a 44-yard kick. However, the Owls once again came up short and could not convert.
• With 1:01 remaining in the third quarter, Rice started a drive on the Army 35. The Black Knights’defensive unit, aided by a Rice holding penalty that negated a 24-yard run, held Rice’s offense to a three-and-out.
• Army picked up possession deep on its own end of the field and marched all the way down to the end zone by converting five third down attempts, which included the game-winning 17-yard touchdown pass from Hopkins to Walker.
• Rice pieced together a late drive and made its way into Army territory, but on an important fourth down play, Jaylon McClinton came up with a crucial pass breakup to seal the win for the Cadets.