Army squared off with VMI for the 15th time on Saturday at Michie Stadium. The Black Knights improved their all-time record versus the Keydets to 14-1, winning their fifth straight in the series. All 15 meetings have been at West Point.
The Black Knights wore all Army Combat Uniform (ACU) camouflage for the first time in school history on Saturday. Army wore ACU pants, an ACU helmet and a black jersey with ACU numbers versus Navy in 2008. Against VMI, Army substituted a camouflage jersey with black numbers to that ensemble.
Army reached the five-win mark for the second straight season. It matches its highest win total since the 1996 team went 10-2 and earned a trip to the Independence Bowl. The Black Knights need one more win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1996. It is the first time since 1995 (5-5-1) and 1996 that Army has won at least five games in consecutive seasons.
Army head coach Rich Ellerson evened his West Point record at 10-10 on Saturday. He is the fastest Army coach to 10 wins since Tom Cahill started his career 10-2 during the 1966 and 1967 seasons.
Ellerson's 10 wins make him the Black Knights' winningest coach since Bob Sutton was 44-55-1 from 1991-99.
Army once again avoided back-to-back losses with the win over VMI. The last time the Black Knights went an entire season without losing at least two straight games at least once was 1996.
The Black Knights have now won two straight over Football Championship Subdivision teams and are 50-10-1 against the FCS all-time.
Army's last four victories have been by double figures. The Black Knights defeated North Texas, 24-0, Duke, 35-21, and Tulane, 41-23. Army's four double-digit wins are a program best since the 1996 scored double-digit margins in nine of its 10 wins.
Army was -1 in turnover margin versus the Keydets, winning for only the seventh time in 40 games since 2006 when either even or behind in that category.
Army lost its first opening coin toss of the season. The Black Knights won the flip in the first seven outings.
Army reached the 24-point mark for the seventh time in eight games. The Black Knights improved to 16-9 since 2004 when scoring at least 24 points.
Army recorded a season-high 316 rushing yards, its best since going for 461 yards at Rice on Nov. 8, 2008. It was the Black Knights third 300-yard game this season (309 at EMU and 312 at Tulane).
Army increased its season rushing touchdown total to 26, tied for 15th-best in Academy history. It is the most rushing scores in a season since the 1996 team had 33 scores on the ground.
The Black Knights opened the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run by sophomore QB Trent Steelman with 4:08 left in the first quarter. It was the sixth straight game Army scored first.
Sophomore FB Jared Hassin ran for a career-high 158 yards and a touchdown on only 14 carries (11.3) versus the Keydets. It was his third straight game over 100 yards, a first by an Army player since Collin Mooney did it during the 2008 campaign.
Hassin broke off a 38-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. He has scored at least one touchdown in three straight games.
Hassin also added a career-long 54-yard run. It marks Army's longest play from scrimmage this season.
Hassin was the team's leading receiver with three catches for 54 yards.
Senior SB Patrick Mealy ran for a season-high 97 yards on 18 carries. It was his best rushing day since running for 136 yards last season versus VMI. Mealy moved into 28th place on Army's career rushing list with 1,373 yards, passing Collin Mooney.
Sophomore QB Trent Steelman's one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter marked the sixth straight game the Army signal caller has rushed for at least one score.
The VMI game marked Steelman's 20th consecutive start, the longest by an Army signal caller since Ronnie McAda started 22 straight times between 1994-96. Steelmans' streak is tied for the third-longest in Army history.
Steelman scored his 10th victory as Army's starting quarterback. It is the most victories by an Army starter since Ronnie McAda earned 16 wins between 1994-96.
Senior C Thomas Hagan made his first career start in place of an injured Zach Peterson. He is the 14th Army player to make their first career start this season. Peterson had started 19 straight games.
Sophomore SB Brian Austin made his collegiate de but on Saturday. Austin ran three times for 21 yards, including a 14-yard scamper.
Army limited VMI to 123 rushing yards, the sixth time this season the Black Knights have kept an opponent to under 125 yards on the ground.
Army has won 11 straight games when holding its opponent to 14 points or less.
One game after recording an Academy-record eight sacks against Rutgers, the Black Knights had just one quarterback takedown against VMI. Army's 21 sacks on the season are only three shy of matching the school record of 24 set by the 1999 team.
The Black Knights scored their first safety since 2007 when the Keydets were whistled for holding in the end zone. Army's last safety came when Rod Murray blocked a punt out of the back of the end zone versus Central Michigan on Oct. 13, 2007.
Senior DB Jordan Trimble finished off a 79-yard interception return for a touchdown, running the last 42 yards after a lateral by senior DB Donovan Travis. It was Army's first defensive touchdown of the year and the first time Army returned an interception for a touchdown since Travis did it versus Ball State last season.
Travis's interception was his team-leading third of the season and the ninth of his career.
Freshman LB Reggie Nesbit made his collegiate debut and recorded his first career sack that kept the Keydets from converting a fourth down in the fourth quarter.
Junior PK Alex Carlton drilled two field goals, one from 43 yards and one from 41 yards to move into sixth place on the Army career list with 26.
Carlton was 3 for 3 on PAT tries on Saturday. He has connected on all 44 of his career extra-point opportunities which stands as the fourth longest streak in Army history. J. Parker holds the mark with 76 straight makes from 1995-96.
Army continued to be outstanding on punt coverage, allowing only three yards on two returns. The Black Knights came into the game ties for sixth in the nation, giving up only 2.0 yards per return.
Freshman slotback Julian Crockett made his collegiate debut, returning one kick for 12 yards.