WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — Senior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. rushed for 208 yards and a touchdown, Connor Slomka scored thrice on short runs, and Army’s triple option overwhelmed VMI 47-6 on Saturday at Michie Stadium.
Kell Walker added a touchdown on a 59-yard scamper off a pretty pitch to the outside from Hopkins midway through the third quarter as Army (5-6) won its second straight after snapping a four-game losing streak last week against UMass. It was Army’s second win this season over a team from the Championship Subdivision.
VMI (4-7) was coming off a 60-21 loss to No. 9 Furman, failing to score in the second half. The Keydets were blanked again after intermission as Army outscored VMI 19-0 in the third to take control. The Black Knights finished with 594 yards rushing, 37 yards shy of matching the school record set against Colgate of the FCS in 1989.
The Keydets stayed close until Walker’s score, which capped a 10-play drive that started at the Army 1.
Slomka’s second touchdown came after a fourth-down gamble by VMI failed on the ensuing possession.
Jabari Laws made his third straight start at quarterback for Army and staked the Black Knights to a 7-3 lead midway through the first quarter, ripping off a 27-yard run around the left side to set up his 4-yard scoring run. But the sophomore, who has emerged as the likely successor to Hopkins, was injured in the closing seconds of the first quarter, his right knee buckling as he tried to make a cut on a keeper deep in VMI territory.
Laws was carried off the field by two coaches, his day done after gaining 97 yards on nine carries. Hopkins replaced him, but Army failed to gain any points from a 13-play, 84-yard drive when Cole Talley shanked a 26-yard field goal left.
After Grant Clemons kicked a 37-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to move the Keydets within 7-6, Hopkins gave the Black Knights a needed jolt just before halftime, taking a keeper right for 42 yards to set up Slomka’s 3-yard scoring run for a 14-6 lead with 3:08 left in the second.
VMI has a potent 1-2 punch in junior quarterback Reece Udinski — he entered the game with 2,844 yards passing for 17 TDs with just three interceptions — and tailback Alex Ramsey, who was averaging 121 yards rushing and led the FCS with 22 TDs and 134 points. Ramsey, who had posted four straight 100-yard games to bring his season yardage total to 1,210, second nationally, finished with 50 yards rushing on 14 carries, while Udinski was 22 of 34 for 218 yards passing.
VMI began the game with a successful onside kick by Clemons. Defensive back DJ Dennis recovered near midfield for the Keydets, and Clemons gave them an early lead with a 47-yard field goal.
VMI: The Keydets have just one game left, so reaching .500 is not possible, but four wins is something to build on. In the two previous seasons, VMI had one win in 21 games, and with Ramsey and Udinski returning next season the Keydets will have a strong offensive core for coach Scott Wachenheim.
Army: The Black Knights have rebounded nicely against two lesser teams and need to beat both Hawaii and Navy to play to qualify for the postseason. If Laws can’t go, Hopkins appears up for the task. He scored untouched on a nifty 63-yard run late in the third.
VMI closes it season next Saturday at home against Chattanooga.
Army has a bye week before traveling to play Hawaii on Nov. 30.