WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — Artice Hobbs IV scored twice, Connor Slomka rushed for a career-high 110 yards and another score, and Army beat Morgan State 52-21 on Saturday.
Army (3-1) boosted its winning streak to 15 straight at home but had to overcome a surprising first-quarter deficit against Morgan State (0-3). The Bears who compete in the Championship Subdivision, haven’t won a nonconference road game since a 28-3 win over Bowie State five years ago. They’re 0-3 against Army, all at Michie Stadium.
Army rushed for six touchdowns and a season-high 403 yards and overcame some sloppy play that included two lost fumbles and six penalties. Army relies on ball control, and holding onto the ball is a must with the triple option. The Black Knights entered the game with seven turnovers — they had only eight in 13 games last year — and now have nine just four games into the season. They held the ball for over 34 minutes in this one.
Morgan State, which started the season with two bad road losses — 46-3 to Bowling Green and 63-12 to James Madison —under new coach Tyrone Wheatley, stunned Army with two straight scores in the first quarter after the Black Knights had gained a 7-0 lead on a 9-yard run by Hobbs.
DeAndre Harris hit Manasseh Bailey with a 69-yard touchdown pass down the middle on a third-and-14 play to tie the game with 5:32 left in the first.
Four plays later, Army quarterback Jabari Laws was blindsided and fumbled and Malachi Washington recovered for the Bears. Jabriel Johnson scored on a 25-yard run on the next play for a 14-7 lead.
Laws, who rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries in his Army debut last week in place of injured starter Kelvin Hopkins Jr. in a 31-13 road win over Texas-San Antonio, was replaced by Christian Anderson and did not return.
Army tied it on an 11-yard run by Sandon McCoy on the first play of the second quarter as Army began to take control.
David Cooper’s 35-yard field goal gave Army the lead for good and Anderson hit Hobbs in stride for an 80-yard touchdown pass midway through the quarter. The first TD pass of Anderson’s career completed a 17-point surge, gave Army a 10-point lead, and Morgan State couldn’t recover.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a 1986 graduate of West Point, participated in a ceremony on campus Saturday morning and had the honors of performing the coin toss before the game.
Morgan State: Despite a slew of penalties — six false starts alone in the first half alone — the Bears held their own in the opening half, a positive sign going forward. They were picked to finish eighth in the Mideastern Athletic Conference.
Army: The Black Knights can’t continue giving the ball away at such an alarming rate if they want to maintain the level of excellence they’ve established in the past two seasons, winning 21 games. With a bye week ahead, Hopkins should be ready to return after missing two games.
Wheatley decided it was time to gamble after Army had scored 17 straight points to take a 24-14 lead. Facing a fourth-and-5 near midfield, Harris’s pass fell incomplete. It didn’t cost the Bears — their defense forced a three-and-out. Wheatley gambled again late in the third and Harris hit Wesley Wolfolk with a 7-yard pass on a fourth-and-3. Two plays later, Harris hit Bailey for a 23-yard score.
Morgan State had four turnovers — one lost fumble and three interceptions by Harris, who was 15 of 29 for 230 yards to eight different receivers, led by Bailey’s 121 and two scores.
HELMET TO HELMET
Morgan State running back Demerius Goodwin was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit in the third quarter. He raised his right arm and appeared to be talking before he was placed on a stretcher and taken away in an ambulance.
Morgan State hosts N.C. Central next Saturday night.
Army has a bye week before hosting Tulane on Oct. 5.
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