WEST POINT - Junior running back Terry Baggett rushed for an Academy record 304 yards and added four touchdowns as Army rolled past Eastern Michigan, 50-25, Saturday afternoon in front of a sun-splashed crowd of more than 36,000 at Michie Stadium. Baggett established career bests in rushing yards and touchdowns, while helping the Black Knights improve to 3-4 on the season.
Army amassed 513 yards on the ground as part of its 551 yards of offense. Junior fullback Larry Dixon and junior running back Trenton Turrentine added 69 and 92 yards, respectively, to include a touchdown apiece. Freshman Xavier Moss led the receiving corps with four catches for 30 yards - all from junior signal caller Angel Santiago (38 yards passing, 36 yards rushing).
EMU (1-5) cracked the scoring column on its first possession of the game as junior quarterback Tyler Benz marched the Eagles down the field and capped the 76-yard drive with a 17-yard pass to Bronson Hill in the end zone. A botched snap on the extra-point kick attempt was made into a two-point conversion as EMU took an 8-0 lead five minutes into the contest.
Baggett notched his first score of the game on Army’s ensuing drive after a series of small gains as the Black Knights made their way downfield. The Chicago, Ill., native punched in a four-yard score to cut EMU’s lead to 8-7 with just under five minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Eagles needed just three plays to stretch its lead to 15-7 after Hill broke off a pair of large runs, including a 12-yard score. Baggett responded almost immediately, using Army’s first play after the kickoff to take the ball 67 yards the opposite direction for his second score. Santiago’s two-point attempt was successful, knotting the score 15-15.
The second quarter slowed down a bit as the Eagles managed just one field goal to Army’s single touchdown, a one-yard score by Turrentine. The Black Knights took a 22-18 advantage into the locker room at the half.
Army caught fire in the third quarter after a trio of Baggett rushes added up to 45 yards and yet another score on the Black Knights’ first possession. The Eagles seemed to be responding after Benz hit Hill for a 53-yard reception, deep in Army territory, before freshman Josh Jenkins stripped Jay Jones and senior Justin Trimble recovered on the Army four-yard line.
Baggett’s number was called on Army’s first play after the turnover, taking the ball nearly the length of the field for a 96-yard score, the second-longest in Army’s 123-year history and the longest by any NCAA Division I player this season.
With Army leading 36-18 midway through the third, the Eagles turned it over on downs on the Army 20, giving the Black Knights’ running backs another opportunity to shine. Baggett’s three carries added up to 27 yards before Dixon juked half a dozen defenders to find paydirt off a 30-yard rush, extending the Black Knight advantage to 43-18 with 90 seconds left in the third.
Each squad tacked on one more score apiece in the fourth quarter as the clock wound down on a 50-25 Army win over EMU. The 50 points by the Black Knights are their most against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since Oct. 7, 1999 (59 in double-overtime against Louisville), and most against an FBS school in regulation since Oct. 9, 1993 (56 against Temple). Benz passed for a game-high 223 yards and two scores for the Eagles, while Hill rushed for a team-best 143 yards and one touchdown to go along with 91 yards receiving and a score.
Senior Colby Miller ignited the Army defense, totaling six tackles and one sack for a loss of seven yards. Trimble, also credited with six tackles, recorded a tackle for a loss of six yards, recovered a fumble and snagged his first interception of the season.