Hopkins scores 4 TDs to lead Army past San Jose State 52-3
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Kelvin Hopkins Jr. was in no mood to talk after the best game of his career. Army’s quarterback overheated late in the afternoon and was inside the Black Knights locker room getting treatment.
It was somehow fitting on a day Hopkins when made San Jose State’s defense look ill all afternoon.
Hopkins ran for 99 yards and a season-high three touchdowns and threw for a fourth, and Army beat San Jose State 52-3 on Saturday.
“It was a warm day out there and I think everybody got a little gassed, and he did too,” Black Knights coach Jeff Monken said. “So did I. I was looking for water in the middle of the third quarter. I stared to feel a little woozy in my knees.”
Coming off a bye week and making their first trip to the West Coast in four years, the Black Knights (4-2) trailed 3-0 early in the second quarter before Hopkins and Army’s running game got going.
Knocked out of the game briefly on the first series, Hopkins returned to engineer three long scoring drives to put Army comfortably ahead in the first-ever meeting between the teams.
Hopkins threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to running back Jordan Asberry, scored on a one-yard sneak in the second quarter, then added a dazzling 24-yard run on an option keeper.
“He made some good runs and yards after contact,” Monken said. “He’s been a much more effective runner than maybe we even anticipated. His physical maturity has helped him, too. He’s a lot stronger than he was a year ago.”
It’s the first time an Army quarterback has scored three rushing touchdowns in one game since A.J. Schurr had four against Hawaii on Nov. 23, 2013.
Darnell Woolfolk and Cam Thomas each had a touchdown run and John Abercrombie made his first career field goal. The Black Knights outgained the Spartans on the ground 341-36.
“When you’re expected to win you need to come out and show people that you mean business,” Woolfolk said. “Take nothing away from San Jose State. They’re a really good team. (Our) guys did a really good job of mentally preparing themselves.”
Army also got a big lift from its defense, which forced three turnovers during a five-play span in the third quarter and had four overall.
Kenneth Brinson, Cameron Jones and James Nachtigal each had a strip-sack deep in Spartans territory. Nachtigal also scored on a 52-yard fumble return.
“Our mindset was just keep our foot on the gas, don’t let up and don’t give them hope,” Nachtigal said. “Those turnovers really helped solidify that.”
Bryce Crawford had a 49-yard field goal for San Jose State (0-6). The Spartans entered the day as one of four winless teams in the FBS.
“They beat us every which way possible,” San Jose State coach Brent Brennan said. “You turn the ball over four times in a game, you’re going to lose. This was a total gut-punch for our program.”
Army: Monken’s team has responded well with consecutive road wins following the heartbreaking loss at No. 5 Oklahoma earlier in the season. The Black Knights got their first win in California since 1979 with the same pattern they’ve had all season — a dominant running game and an opportunistic defense that converted four turnovers into 24 points.
San Jose State: The Spartans held their own early and led in the first quarter for the first time this season. It was all downhill after that. Coach Brent Brennan tried rotating quarterbacks in the second half but it didn’t make a difference.
San Jose State gave up 24 points in the third quarter. A week earlier the Spartans did the opposite against Colorado State when they put up 30 in the third quarter to erase a 28-0 deficit.
It was a much different outcome from Army’s last trip to California. The Black Knights were shut out 35-0 at Stanford in Monken’s first year at West Point.
“It’s a long trip, it’s a tough trip to come out here,” Monken said. “Just the fatigue of being on the airplane and the time change. Our guys pull a tough schedule as it is. They don’t get a lot of sleep anyway. It was a concern for us all week.”
Army: Hosts Miami of Ohio at Michie Stadium on Saturday.
San Jose State: Plays at San Diego State on Saturday.