SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Sophomore receiver Benjamin Johnson amassed 186 total yards and scored four touchdowns en route to Ken Kunken Most Valuable Player honors in a 42-0 Army win over Mansfield in the 2009 Adirondack Trust Allegiance Bowl in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. on Saturday. With the win, Army lifted its record to 5-0 overall, 3-0 CSFL, while Mansfield, a first-year CSFL member, fell to 1-4, 1-4.
Johnson caught scoring passes of 66, 44, and 19 yards and finished with 152 receiving yards on just four catches. He also scored on a 39-yard run on an end-around play in the third quarter.
"We are very happy with the way Ben played," said second-year head coach Lt. Col. Mark West. "He's a talented player and that's certainly no secret to anyone in the league anymore."
After hauling in a pair of TD passes in the win over Penn last weekend, Johnson pulled down the first of his two first-half scores to put Army on the score board four minutes into the game. Freshman signal caller Tim Meier, who found Johnson just inside the endline for the 19-yard connection, threw for 216 yards on 8-of-15 passing.
The Black Knights' defense, led by 11 tackles and a sack from Carlos Cook, forced a three-and-out on the Mountaineers' next possession and Army wasted little time in capitalizing, marching 70 yards on eight plays to push the lead to 14-0. Senior captain Ricky Lentz capped the drive with a 22-yard scamper up the right sideline. Lentz carried the ball 15 times for 133 yards in the first half alone, and finished the game with 180 yards on 23 attempts.
Meier found Johnson again to give the Black Knights a 21-0 cushion at the half with a pass that just barely cleared the outstretched arms of a Mansfield defender. Johnson pulled the ball from the air and raced to the end zone to complete the 66-yard catch-and-run.
On the Mountaineers opening possession of the second half, Army linebacker Brian Girouaud knifed through the Mansfield offensive line and forced a fumble that was recovered by JP Cooper. Johnson lined up wide to the left side on Army's first-down play but ran back into the formation as the ball was snapped to take the handoff. The Mountaineers appeared to have the angles to prevent the touchdown, but Johnson outran one defender before breaking a pair of tackles to put Army in control, 28-0.
Army forced another three-and-out after Mansfield's Michael Wang recorded his second interception of the day, and went up 35-0 when Meier and Johnson hooked up again, this time from 44 yards out. Wang totaled five tackles, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery for the Mansfield defense in a losing effort.
Colton Foreman ended a six-play, 42-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard TD run to give the Black Knights the final margin.
For the game, the Black Knights outgained the Mountaineers 502-177 and forced 12 punts. Mansfield was just 2-of-17 on fourth down.
"We were glad to get the win today," said West. "It keeps us in contention for the League Championship."
Army(5-0), which has 30 unbeaten seasons and 17 league championships to its credit, has recorded the most wins in a season since the 2003 squad went 5-1. The Black Knights will return to action next weekend to take on Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y. in another CSFL game.
NOTES: The Mansfield University marching band entertained the crowd with several tunes before the game, including the Army anthem ... The Cadet parachute team also dazzled the crowd with a demonstration ... The proceeds from the game were donated to the Saratoga youth hockey and figure skating programs ... Army Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins served as the Honorary Chair for the fifth-annual event ... The Skidmore Sonneteers sang the National Anthem ... The Mansfield University marching band also performed at the half, as did the Black Knight drill team.