WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — Sandon McCoy scored three touchdowns on short runs, Jabari Laws rushed for 140 yards and another score, and Army’s triple option overwhelmed UMass 63-7 on Saturday as the Black Knights snapped a five-game losing streak.
Army (4-6) was coming off a tough 17-13 loss at service academy rival Air Force, unable to score twice within the shadow of the goal line — on the first drive of the game and in the final seconds. That was quickly forgotten after the Black Knights recovered from an early gaffe against UMass (1-9), whose only victory came against winless Akron in late September.
The Minutemen own the worst scoring defense in the nation and Army took advantage, reeling off four straight touchdowns to gain a 35-7 halftime lead. The Black Knights finished with a season-high 498 yards rushing. UMass entered the game allowing 52 points per game, 54.9 in their eight losses.
Army held the ball for 20:22 in the opening half and outgained the Minutemen 228-106. Subtract tight end Kyle Horn’s 56-yard touchdown catch for the Minutemen, and they netted just 50 yards offensively on 26 plays in the first two quarters. UMass has been outscored 347-134 this season in the first half.
McCoy scored twice in the opening quarter on a pair of 4-yard runs and added a 5-yard scoring run early in the second to stake Army to a 21-7 lead.
Connor Slomka and Artice Hobbs IV each scored from the 3 in the second quarter, Slomka after an interception and Hobbs after a fourth-down pass on a fake punt by the Minutemen failed. Slomka’s tally came after UMass quarterback Andrew Brito was pressured heavily by Army nose tackle Kwabena Bonsu and Ryan Velez intercepted his off-balance pass near the UMass 30 and returned it 16 yards.
UMass executed a flea-flicker to perfection with a pair of laterals in the first quarter that caught the Army defense off-guard, with Brito hitting the 6-foot-5 Horn in the middle of the field with no defenders even close, and he rumbled in for an easy score that tied the game at 7-all.
Trailing 28-7 late in the second quarter, UMass coach Walt Bell gambled again, this time on fourth down from the UMass 9-yard line, and only a bad pass prevented it from succeeding. Backup quarterback Michael Curtis took the snap and freshman wide receiver Dariyan Wiley was open over the middle, but the throw at the 25-yard line was just off his fingertips. It would have been his first college catch.
UMass senior cornerback Isaiah Rodgers was averaging 27.1 on 36 kickoff returns, the most in the nation, and his 974 yards on kickoff returns were more than any other team in the nation. He finished the game with nine kickoff returns for 172 yards.
UMass: The Minutemen will be challenged to win again in their final two games. Their offense managed just 125 yards on 48 plays.
Army: Laws got the start and played well, scoring on an 83-yard run in the third quarter. He was relieved by senior Kelvin Hopkins Jr., who scored on a 9-yard run late in the third and gave way to Christian Anderson in the fourth. The Black Knights can still achieve the six victories needed to qualify for the postseason but have obstacles ahead with a road game at Hawaii and the traditional season finale against archrival Navy, which was ranked No. 25 this week.
UMass travels to play Big Ten foe Northwestern next Saturday.
Army hosts Championship Subdivision foe VMI next Saturday, its second game against an FCS team this season.
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