- Associated Press - Saturday, October 29, 2016

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - The plan is simple for Army: trust the run-heavy offense, keep leaning on the opponent and pounce once the defense’s legs get a little wobbly.

It worked well enough Saturday to bring the Black Knights within a win of bowl eligibility for the first time in six years.

Ahmad Bradshaw scored on an 11-yard keeper with 11:45 left to help Army beat Wake Forest 21-13 as part of a dominant fourth-quarter effort. Darnell Woolfolk added a TD run of his own with 2:54 left for what amounted to a clinching score.

The Black Knights (5-3) entered with the nation’s No. 2 rushing offense (357.6 yards), but had managed just 42 yards in the first half and 131 through three quarters. Yet when the fourth began, Army’s runners were soon bulling their way through a fading defensive front and dragging tacklers for first downs.

“That’s exactly what Coach (Jeff) Monken and (offensive coordinator Brent Davis) harp on,” Woolfolk said. “They say that we execute our game plan, things will open up. Maybe not right away, but if we keep doing our brand of football things will open up. And that’s exactly what happened.”

Army ran for 107 yards in that final quarter with its wear-you-down, clock-melting style.

“I didn’t expect we were going to fold. I thought we would fight,” Monken said. “And that’s what I’m most proud of: they just came out in the second half and fought really, really hard.”

Army is having its best season since winning seven games and earning the program’s last bowl invitation in 2010.

Wake Forest was trying to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2011. But John Wolford got the Demon Deacons off to a bad start with two interceptions on overthrown balls on the first three possessions, and Wake Forest’s offense sputtered as Army made its fourth-quarter move.

“They were better prepared, they out-executed us, they out-toughed us, they played smarter than us,” Demon Deacons coach Dave Clawson said. “They beat us, they flat-out beat us. If we’d have won that game, we wouldn’t have deserved it.”

THE TAKEAWAY

ARMY: The Black Knights have proven they’re the type of team content to lean on opponents with the run - again and again - to wear them down and slowly assert control. This game was a reminder of how well that formula can work, even on a day when the big rushing totals aren’t there.

“We’ve just got to believe at all times,” Bradshaw said. “Definitely we can’t flinch.”

WAKE FOREST: Despite its moments of growth in Clawson’s third season, Wake Forest is still prone to offensive struggles and lacks some big-play punch, occasionally turning drives into work-for-everything fights.

“Offensively we had made improvement through the middle of the season,” Clawson said, “We’re starting to regress a little bit. We’re not making plays.”

THE BOWL GOAL

Clawson deflected questions earlier this week about his team trying to become bowl eligible, saying it would only get there if it accomplished its goal of going “1-0 each week” enough times.

While Monken borrowed that line after Saturday’s win, Bradshaw said it’s “definitely on our minds” while Woolfolk pointed out that the team’s preseason goals included winning - not just reaching - a bowl.

“Obviously it feels good that we’re right there knocking on the door to become bowl eligible,” Woolfolk said, “and that’s exactly what we want to do.”

QB PLAY

Wolford’s third interception with 9:25 left proved to be a killer, with Army answering with a 12-play drive that took 6½ minutes off the clock and ended with Woolfolk’s TD run. He completed 23 of 43 passes (53 percent) for 220 yards and one TD.

Fellow quarterback Kendall Hinton missed his fifth straight game with a knee injury.

UP NEXT

ARMY: The Black Knights can become bowl eligible by beating Air Force next week. Air Force has won three straight meetings by at least 14 points.

WAKE FOREST: The Demon Deacons host Virginia in the first meeting between the teams since Wake Forest’s 16-10 road win in 2012.

___

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

___

More AP college football: https://collegefootball.ap.org


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide