College Football

Army crushes Bucknell, secures Bowl Berth

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The Army Black Knights football team only needed one more win in order to become Bowl eligible for the fifth time in six years before they hosted Bucknell University at Michie Stadium.

Army running back Tyrell Robinson returns a punt while Bucknell Bison cornerback Eric Holsinger (6) and safety Quentin Lemon brace for impact. Photo by James Garman/Sportspage Magazine

Following four quarters of football and an hour-long delay at halftime because of lightning in the area, Jeff Monken’s Army squad found themselves Bowl bound after a dominating 63-10 performance in front of an announced crowd of 26,887. With the win, Army maintains a 7-0 undefeated series history against the Bison, which dates back to 1900.

Bucknell, the shellacking resembled more of a scrimmage. Five plays into the game, Bison quarterback Ethan Grady was picked off by Andre Carter at the Bucknell 48-yard line and returned it for 17 yards to give the Black Knights the ball at the Bison 31-yard line. Three plays later Christian Anderson rushed for a five-yard touchdown and the game’s first score.

The next Bucknell possession ended on a three-and-out. Punter Ruben Anderson kicked the ball to the Army 33-yard line, but Tyrell Robinson ran it for 55-yards to set up the Black Knight’s second possession at the Bucknell 12-yard line. Three plays later Jakobi Buchanan scored on a six-yard rushing touchdown.

Both teams defenses settled in for the remainder of the first quarter, each team running three plays and punting.

With 3:05 remaining in the quarter, Cameron Jones recovered a Rushawn Baker fumble, giving Army the ball at their 39-yard line. Quarterback Tyhier Tyler ran for a 17-yard touchdown just before the quarter ended. Kicker Cole Talley converted his third extra point of the quarter to give Army a 21-0 lead.

Bucknell’s woes continued in the second quarter. Their first possession lasted three plays for four yards and took one minute off the clock. Again, Tyrell Robinson had a long punt return to set up a Black Knight possession deep into Bison territory, this time the 32-yard line after a 26-yard return. Four plays later, Anthony Adkins rushed for a four-yard touchdown. The Talley extra point made it 28-0 with 12:42 left in the first half.

Army scored two additional times in the first half, a four-yard run by Tyson Riley with 9:05 remaining on the clock, and quarterback Jabari Laws connected with Ay’Juan Marshall for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 1:38 left in the half. The score was 42-0 in favor of the Black Knights at halftime.

After an hour long weather delay, the Black Knights received the kickoff to start the third quarter. They proceeded to chew 8:05 off of the clock and scored yet another touchdown, this time a four-yard rush by Markens Pierre. The Quinn Maretzki extra point made it 49-0 with 6:49 left in the quarter.

Bucknell Bison receiver Christian Spugnardi hauls in a reception while two Army defenders move in for the tackle. Photo by James Garman/Sportspage Magazine

The Bison managed their first sustained drive of the game on their next possession. Six plays and 65 yards later, they ended up in the end zone on a 19-yard Jared Cooper run. Ryan Schatzel’s extra point made it 49-7 in favor of Army.

Bucknell got a little bit of good luck their way on the kickoff. Alex Smith Jr. forced Army kick returner Laquan Veney to fumble. Bucknell safety John Schlendorf, recovered it at the Army 10-yard line. The Black Knight defense held tough forcing Schatzel to kick a 25-yard field goal a minute later.

Schatzel’s ensuing kickoff was downed at the Army three-yard line with 2:51 left in the third quarter. The score was 49-10 in favor of Army.
Monken’s Black Knights took to the ground for their next drive. By the end of the quarter, they ran five rushing plays and advanced the ball to the Army 31-yard line. At the start of the final quarter, they ran the ball on nine of their next ten plays. The drive ended with a Shacori Williams one-yard touchdown run. Maretzki’s extra point made it 56-10 with 9:32 remaining. The Army scoring drive lasted for 15 plays and 97 yards, and took 8:19 off the clock.

Bucknell Bison offensive lineman Zack Tarburton tries to contain Army defensive lineman Ryan Duran in the trenches during Saturday’s game. Photo by James Garman/Sportspage Magazine

Bucknell again had difficulty converting a first down, and went three-and-out. Ruben Anderson’s punt gave the Black Knights the ball on their own 35-yard line. They again continued to rely on their running game. The next seven plays were all runs, which ended with a Jemel Jones six-yard touchdown run. Trey Gronotte converted the extra point to give the Black Knights a 63-10 lead with 3:59 left in the game.

The Bison had one more chance to get a sustained drive going but they failed miserably. They managed to advance the ball 16 yards, but fate would have it that a Cole Mabry sack on quarterback Ethan Grady, followed by a five-yard delay of game penalty would take 15 of those yards away, leaving Bucknell with one positive yard on six plays in the game’s final drive.

Eighteen Army players had positive rushing yards, making this the only game this century that with this many different players on the same team having at least one rush for positive yardage, according to the Sportradar tracking service. Army finished with an overwhelming 428 rushing yards on 61 carries compared to Bucknell’s  20 carries for 39 yards.

Bucknell passed for 136 yards on 16 for 32 passing with one interception. Army went 3-for-4 passing and 58 yards. Army advanced the ball for 30 first downs compared to 11 for Bucknell.

The Bucknell Bison fall to a 1-9 record and host the Holy Cross Crusaders (8-2) for their final regular season contest at 1 p.m. ET Saturday. The Army Black Knights advance to 6-3 on the season and will close out their home schedule at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (1-9) at Michie Stadium.

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