WEST POINT, N.Y. — Still feeling the effects of a season-long struggle against injuries, Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. didn’t start the final home game of his career at Michie Stadium.
But the senior star sure finished it with a flourish.
Pressed into action when sophomore starter Jabari Laws was injured early, Hopkins responded by rushing for a career-high 208 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries as Army’s triple option overwhelmed VMI 47-6 on Saturday.
“I felt good, just taking it day-by-day. That’s kind of been my mindset,” said Hopkins, who scored on a 63-yard run late in the third. “Just getting moving and taking some shots again felt really good. If you would have asked me this morning how today was going to go for me, I probably wouldn’t have said (great).”
Senior Connor Slomka scored three times on short runs and classmate Kell Walker added a touchdown on a 59-yard scamper off a pretty pitch to the outside from Hopkins midway through the third quarter as Army (5-6) won its second straight after snapping a four-game losing streak last week against UMass. It was Army’s second win this season over a team from the Championship Subdivision.
“Overall, a good day,” said Army coach Jeff Monken, who notched his 40th win at the academy to tie Tom Cahill for fourth all-time at West Point. “We’re excited. Just proud of the effort of everybody.”
VMI (4-7) was coming off a 60-21 loss to No. 9 Furman, a game in which they failed to score in the second half. The Keydets were blanked again after intermission as Army outscored VMI 19-0 in the third to take control. The Black Knights finished with 594 yards rushing on Senior Day, 37 yards shy of matching the school record set against Colgate of the FCS in 1989.
“We’ve got good momentum,” Army senior linebacker Cole Christiansen said. “These last two games have been a step in the right direction.”
The Keydets stayed close until Walker’s score, which capped a 10-play drive that started at the Army 1.
“We were a step slow playing the option, and when you’ve got a guy you don’t have anybody else there to back him up,” VMI coach Scott Wachenheim said. “I thought Army executed well all day. They wore us down as the game wore on.”
VMI has a potent 1-2 punch in junior quarterback Reece Udinski — he entered the game with 2,844 yards passing for 17 TDs with just three interceptions — and tailback Alex Ramsey, who was averaging 121 yards rushing and led the FCS with 22 TDs and 134 points. But Ramsey, who had posted four straight 100-yard games to bring his season yardage total to 1,210, second nationally, finished with just 50 yards rushing on 14 carries, while Udinski was 22 of 34 for 218 yards passing.
Other state scores
Emory & Henry 59, Ferrum 36
Bridgewater 41, Guilford 7
Washington and Lee 34, Shenandoah 31
Southern Virginia 40, Apprentice 7
Wesley 42, Christopher Newport 7
Kennesaw State 50, Hampton 7
UNC Pembroke 20, UVa-Wise 7
Morgan State 59, UVA-Lynchburg 26
Point 24, Bluefield 6
Norfolk State 33, Delaware State 17