Written by Ryan Musich
Fort Worth, TX - On a cold but beautiful day in Fort Worth, Army came from behind in the fourth quarter to upend San Diego State 42-35 in the Lockheed-Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
Led by quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw’s 180-yard rushing performance the Black Knights were able to hold of the Aztecs and their star running back, Rashaad Penny. The senior wouldn’t go down easy in his final game rushing for his fifth-straight 200-yard game. Penny ended his college career with a dazzling performance in defeat rushing for 221 yards and four touchdowns.
Army (10-3) deferred to the second half, as the Aztecs from San Diego State (10-3) received the ball. Penny gave the Aztecs exceptional field position after a 27-yard kick return. A holding penalty on their first play on the possession put the Aztecs in a tough predicament.
But on 3rd-and-18, Penny found a hole and gashed the Black Knights for an 81-yard run that resulted in a touchdown. After the extra point, San Diego was on the board first 7-0.
Army’s first drive was a solid one, as Ahmad Bradshaw and company put together a promising drive that ended on a turnover on downs after a quarterback sneak was stopped by the Aztecs defensive line.
As the first quarter wound down at a quick pace, Army found themselves in the end zone, as star running back Ahmad Bradshaw saw an opening on the left side and ran it in for the touchdown. The point after was good, and the game found itself knotted up at 7 apiece.
With 19 seconds left in the opening quarter, San Diego State lost one of their captains and starting lineman. Guard Antonio Rosales was ejected after being penalized for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on one play.
The Aztecs however, opened up the second quarter fiercely as on the first play of the quarter, Penny ran one in from 32-yards out to put San Diego State back on top 14-7. Army answered slowly and methodically though, as Darnell Woolfolk ran one in from seven-yards out to tie the game at 14.
Then, after a three-and-out from San Diego State, Army marched down the field and scored another rushing touchdown. This time, it was Andy Davidson from four yards out. Wasn’t long before the Aztecs responded, as Juwan Washington returned the Army kick-off 78 yards to the house to tie the game up at 21, a score that would stay board going into halftime.
Out of halftime. Army put together a drive that lasted 11:19 and resulted in a turnover on downs after Army attempted a fake field goal that was put to rest by the San Diego State defense. The Aztecs quickly capitalized, and who else would it be than Rashaad Penny. On the fourth play of the drive, Penny set the record for most rushing yards in the Armed Forces Bowl and put the Aztecs on top 28-21.
After the Black Knights threw an interception off of a reverse pass, San Diego State gave it right back on a beautiful tipped interception. Army marched down the field quickly, and quarterback Bradshaw ran it in from 27-yards out to tie the game at 28. Bradshaw’s touchdown was his second of the game.
Next possession was the Rashaad Penny show. Penny did not let the Aztecs take the ball out of his hands. Penny finished the drive by scoring his fourth touchdown of the game. Penny was an absolute monster for the Aztecs.
The game would come down to an Army possession with under two minutes to go. Bradshaw made sure his team was not denied this win. After Bradshaw led his offense down the field, running back Darnell Woolfolk ran for his second touchdown of the night to pull the Black Knights within a point. They would take the lead on the very next play as running back Kell Walker converted the two-point conversion to put Army on top 36-35.
After a return to their own forty-yard line, San Diego State threw an interception which was returned for a touchdown to seal it, 42-35. Your Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl champions are the Black Knights from Westpoint.
After the game, Army Head Coach Jeff Monken had nothing but great things to say about his team and Aztec running back Rashaad Penny, who broke San Diego State’s school single-season rushing record with 2,248 yards on the season.
When asked about Penny, Monken did a double take when looking at Penny’s stats, “That guy’s hard to tackle and hard to catch. Not hard to see why he’s the best running back in the country”.
When asked about if going for the two-point conversion was a tough decision, Monken said,
“Not at all. I believed my guys could get it and we did not want the ball in Penny’s hands again in this game”.
Writer - Ryan Musich
Fort Worth, TX - In a day and age where teams seem to be running their offenses out of the shotgun, San Diego State and Army are two programs that prefer to run a ground and pound offense. The two will be facing off on the December 23rd at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas, for the 15th annual Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
The 10-2 San Diego State Aztecs feature one of the nation's top running backs in senior Rashaad Penny, who leads the country in rushing yards with over 2,000 yards. Army led the nation in rush yards per game, totaling 368 yards a game,
Army bases their offense around the option. The main cog for the Black Knights is quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw totaled over 1,550 yards and averaged 7.5 yards a run.
The two teams have met only twice before, and San Diego State leads the series 2-0. The last time Army and the Aztecs faced off, San Diego State blew out the Black Knights 42-7 at SDCCU Stadium.
The Aztecs are playing in their 15th major college bowl game and eighth straight. San Diego State also comes into this game, winners of their last four games.
Army, on the other hand, is coming off an impressive win in the annual Army-Navy game to close out their season.
If you like a fast, physical football game, this game will certainly be for you. It will truly be a battle in the trenches. Expect a very fast football game, as there will likely not be more than 20 total passes between these two teams.
While the Aztecs will lean heavily on Penny in the running game, be on the lookout for Aztecs quarterback Christian Chapman to keep the Army defense honest. Chapman totaled 1,847 yards through the air and 13 touchdowns.
The Black Knights know they have a tall task ahead of them when it comes to containing the Aztec offense.
“They have the nation’s leading rusher (Penny), and he doesn’t do it all himself,” Army head coach Jeff Monken said. “They have other guys that run the ball and throw the ball to that are very skilled. There are some mismatches.”
I’m projecting a game that won’t total more than 45 points. Penny and Bradshaw will dominate with the ball in their hands at least 80% of the time, and the clock will rarely stop unless there’s a commercial break during the TV broadcast or a timeout called by one of the coaches. San Diego State will take this one 24-17.
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