Army fights through snow to shut out Fordham

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Max Jenkins' first career start came in his last game at Michie Stadium and it could not have gone better.

Jenkins ran for two touchdowns and Army rushed through an October snowstorm to rout Fordham 55-0 on Saturday.

Jenkins threw for 30 yards and a touchdown, and Raymond Maples rushed for 159 yards for the Black Knights (3-5). Larry Dixon added a touchdown on 85 yards rushing as Army finished with 544 yards of offense, including 514 on the ground.

"It was like Christmas," Jenkins said. "How could you not be a little excited?"

Darryl Whiting had 36 yards rushing for the Rams (1-7), who were held to 86 yards of offense and lost their sixth straight.

Fordham was shut out for the first time in six years and allowed 50 points for the first time in more than a decade.

With the Michie Stadium lights flickering, only a few dozen fans -- not counting the hearty cadet section -- remained in the freezing stands by the end of Army's lopsided home finale.

Army coach Rich Ellerson, who coached in the sometimes blustery Canadian Football League, said he'd never seen a snowy game with such high winds.

"We were playing a team that wants to throw the ball a lot on a day when it was really difficult to throw it," Ellerson said. "The conditions played to our favor in regard to that."

Army picked a good day to play without junior quarterback and second-leading rusher Trent Steelman, who had his record 32-game starting streak snapped because of an ankle injury in last week's loss to Vanderbilt.

"You have to be able to have guys step up, and they certainly did," Ellerson said. "(Jenkins) was that mature, confident, unflappable guy you want in a situation like that."

Army's No. 1-ranked ground game got started early, as Maples got the ball on each of the first five plays from scrimmage, tallying 67 yards and setting up Jenkins' 1-yard touchdown just 2:22 into the first quarter.

Army then held Fordham to a three-and-out, and capitalized by marching 92 yards on nine plays, including Dixon's 30-yard touchdown scurry.

Dixon broke a tackle and got loose to the left, picking up a block on his way into the end zone. Army went up 14-0 with 6:57 left in the first.

With the Rams struggling to move the chains, Ryan Higgins dropped back on third-and-10, but Marcus Jackson picked off a pass intended for Aaron Mays, putting Army right back in the red zone.

Jenkins broke a tackle and ran in for his second touchdown three plays later, and Army was ahead 21-0 with 5:15 left in the first.

Fordham had to punt after another three-down series, but caught a break when Army's Josh Jackson fumbled the return, putting the Rams in Army territory for the first time. But they gave it right back on downs.

Army showed some versatility early in the second when Jenkins connected with a streaking Anthony Stephens over the middle for a 30-yard touchdown strike to go ahead 28-0.

Army continued to pour it on when Zach Watts nailed Higgins in the backfield. Nate Combs picked up the fumble and ran it back for a 52-yard touchdown.

"We've been preaching, 'Get after the ball,'" Combs said. "I just went for the ball, and it just stuck to the ground because of the snow and the ice."

The Black Knights led 35-0 with 10:52 to go in the first half and went up 42-0 six minutes later on Jared Hassin's 3-yard touchdown run. Jon Crucitti's 5-yard touchdown run midway through the third made it 49-0.

Hayden Tippett's 10-yard rushing touchdown late in the fourth gave Army its most lopsided winning margin in more than 20 years.

"The game can turn on any play, so we focus on a single play at a time, and that's how we play if we're down, if we're up, or if it's tied," senior linebacker Andrew Rodriguez said. "It was a great game to go out on."

The first matchup between the teams since a famously chippy 1949 meeting was played in the first football snowstorm at Army in 26 years.

In fact, it was just the third game between the schools, dating back to Army's first win as a program in 1891, a 10-6 victory.