Army wins Armed Forces Bowl

DALLAS-- Army's defense forced four turnovers, including a 55-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Josh McNary, to defeat SMU 16-14 in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. It was Army's first bowl win since a 1985 Peach Bowl victory over Illinois.

Utilizing McNary's fumble return and later a 13-yard Malcolm Brown scoring run, Army took a 13-0 lead in the first quarter. The Black Knights' Alex Carlton made a 44-yard field goal to put the underdog Cadets surprisingly up 16-0 at the half. SMU had missed a field goal earlier in the first half.

In the second half the Mustangs got their offense on track and looked like they might pull out a victory. SMU marched 74 yards on its first drive of the third quarter before quarterback Kyle Padron, who passed for 302 yards during the game, found Aldrick Robinson for an 8-yard scoring catch. Later, early in the fourth quarter, Padron connected with Darius Johnson for a 28-yard reception that pulled the Mustangs to within two points, 16-14, of the Black Knights.

SMU had a chance to win the game on its third and final possession of the second half. The Mustangs drove 32 yards in seven plays to the Army 30 before Matt Szymanski's 47-yard field goal attempt missed.

Getting the ball back with 4:05 left, Army methodically ran the clock out. It looked like the Mustangs might get one final shot when the Black Knights faced a third-and-4 situation at their own 47. However, Trent Steelman completed a timely 22-yard pass to Davyd Brooks to give Army a first down with a minute remaining and SMU without any timeouts.

After the game Army head coach Rich Ellerson credited the team's seniors for leading the program its first bowl win in 25 years.

"This senior class and this football team has earned a place with that pantheon of great Army football teams," said Ellerson. "They've brought something back to West Point that has been absent."

Army star linebacker Stephen Anderson commented on the satisfaction that the win brought the team's seniors.

"This win means a lot to our class," said Anderson. "To know that we gave something to the younger guys to build on, it will mean even more when they take advantage of it."

The Black Knights were able to pull out the victory despite the Mustang offense outgaining Army 412-229 in total offensive yards. Efficiency was the key for Army as the Cadets had no turnovers and zero penalties during the game.

Army finishes its sparkling season with a 7-6 record. SMU falls to 7-7. The Black Knights now have a record of 3-2 in bowl games.

ARMY BOWL HISTORY

1984 Cherry Bowl Army 10, Michigan St. 6
1985 Peach Bowl Army 31, Illinois 29
1988 Sun Bowl Alabama 29, Army 28
1996 Independence Bowl Auburn 32, Army 29
2010 Armed Forces Bowl Army 16, SMU 14

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