Army-Akron 2005: a look back

Let's go back almost two years ago. Army is 0-6 and many fans are thinking is this 2003 all over again? Hell, no! The Black Knights won four games in a row, sparking the most excitement surrounding the program since 1996. The run started with an unexpected 20-0 win over Akron at the Rubber Bowl. Akron entered the game 3-4, ending the year 7-6, losing to Memphis 38-31 in the Motor Coty Bowl.

So it wasn't like Akron was a dog team. The Zips are pretty good this year, as well. With Army's season-opener against Akron looming, we decided to take a look at the 2005 Army-Akron game. Hopefully, history will repeat itself in Cleveland on Sept. 1.

A new hero: Growing up, former Army coach Bobby Ross' hero was Glenn Davis. After the Akron game, Ross had a new one: Former Army star running back Carlton Jones. Jones, playing on a bad ankle, rushed for 162 yards to pass Heisman winner Glenn Davis on Army's career rushing list.

"Glenn Davis was my hero," Ross said after the game. "I think that Carlton, when he has time to get over the excitement of this victory, will be able to look at what he has done as an unbelievable accomplishment."

Jones carried a career-high 38 times, scored two touchdowns and moved into second place at West Point with 3,065 yards rushing, behind only Mike Mayweather's 4,299 yards from 1987-90.

Bye, bye skid: Army's win broke an 11-game losing streak. The skid included defeats to TCU, Central Michigan, Connecticut, Iowa State, Baylor, Boston College, Navy, UAB, Tulane, Air Force and East Carolina. Army was tied with Rice for the longest losing streak – 11 – in the nation coming into the game. The Black Knights followed the Akron win with victories at Air Force and against Air Force and Arkansas State at Michie Stadium.

Shutout special: Army's shutout of Akron marked its first since blanking Colgate 30-0 in 1993, a span of 142 games. "We got whipped," Zips coach J.D. Brookhart said after the game. "This might have been one of the most frustrating days of my career. There was a lot that didn't go right."

Special, special teams: On a rainy, cold night at the Rubber Bowl, the Black Knights had a remarkable night kicking the ball and won field position the entire game. The Zips' best starting field position was their own 26. Army punter Owen Tolson dropped five punts inside the 20 and did not allow Akron's ace returner, Domenik Hixon, a single return yard. In the meantime, Justin Koenig hit two field goals, including a 49-yarder, and had two touchbacks on kickoffs.

Extra points: Army will face its fourth Mid-American Conference opponent in three years when it plays Akron in the season-opener on Sept. 1. The Black Knights battled Central Michigan and Akron in 2005, marking their first games with MAC opponents since 2001 (Buffalo). Army's 2005 schedule was the first to feature a pair of MAC opponents since 1997 when the Black Knights tussled with Marshall and Miami (Ohio). Army developed a history with the MAC during the 1990s, playing 11 games versus MAC teams in that 10-year period (notching a 7-4 record) and facing two MAC programs each during the 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997 campaigns.


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