When Army head coach Jeff Monken joined the media post game for his press conference, he made a comment about being able to bring better news for a change.
“We are a 2-4 football team that is desperate to win,” said Monken after Army’s 42-17 victory over Colgate Saturday afternoon. “Every game at this point is like the playoffs for us. We have to play our best every week.”
The Black Knights weren’t exactly perfect, but the next-man-up mentality was strong from guys like quarterback Jemel Jones who was given the starting nod Friday, right before the team went out for practice.
“I just wanted to approach it the same way I approach every other game,” said Jones. “I felt like I was well prepared. I believed in the game plan we had from Coach Davis - it was a great game plan. I knew I had to just go out there and do my job and just execute the offense the way we know how to do it.”
Offensive Coordinator Brent Davis may be the Mozart of the run game, but not even he could have scripted something as beautiful as Jones’ 75-yard touchdown run to jumpstart the Knights’ scoring five minutes into the game.
“Jamel with that long run on his first play, that was a great spark,” said Monken of the senior quarterback. “I was disappointed to see them go right back and score on us again but we responded and had a lead at half time.”
Jones finished with 12 carries for 119 yards and two touchdowns on the day, only attempting two passes in the victory. Army nearly doubled their rushing yard average, putting up 467 yards on the Raiders while recording exactly zero passing yards.
Another player to step up was freshman running back Hayden Reed, who is also utilized as a fullback on certain packages. Reed finished with 11 carries for 87 yards and a touchdown.
The triple-option offense Army runs prominently showcases the fullback, shedding light on a position that has risen from its shallow grave in recent years.
Army’s second-half stand was bolstered by the avid fan base – cadets in crisp white uniforms coupled with the copious alumni visiting for their various class reunions clearly spurred the Knights onward to victory.
“The history here, the hallowed grounds it sits on – it’s a national historic landmark carved out of the side of the mountain with dynamite and mules and wooden trucks and guys in overalls,” agreed Monken. “I think it’s special to be here on this ground on the Hudson River. Our founding fathers chose this place as a strategic point to defend our country for a reason. Frankly, every American should visit West Point at some time in their life.”
Colgate finished with 342 yards of offense, led by quarterback Michael Brescia who went 16-25 for 129 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Brescia also led the team in rushing with 13 carries for 78 yards and another touchdown, accounting for 80 percent of the Raiders points and 60 percent of the their offensive yards.
Colgate heads home to host Patriot League opponent Georgetown while Army faces off against UL Monroe next weekend before meeting Air Force in Texas for the Commanders Classic.
“Hopefully the feeling of victory is going to be contagious,” remarked Monken. “And the guys, they know how much it hurts to lose, so hopefully, now having that feeling after we win, that they are going to be fighting with everything they’ve got to try and have that feeling next Saturday.”