Saturday, August 31, 2013

Santiago Sparks Army To 28-12 Season-Opening Win Over Morgan State Bears

WEST POINT, New York  -- Making just his second career start, junior Angel Santiago combined for 221 total yards of offense to lead the Army football team to a 28-12 victory over visiting Morgan State Friday night under the lights at Michie Stadium. Santiago threw for 101 yards and one touchdown while tacking on a game-high 120 yards on the ground and three scores to lead the Black Knights to their first season-opening win since 2010.

Santiago was one of two Army (1-0) players to eclipse the 100-yard mark on the ground as junior Larry Dixon tallied 107 yards, reaching the century mark for the fifth time in his career. Freshman Xavier Moss led the receiving corps with a pair of catches en route to a 75-yard showing. Junior Chevaughn Lawrence also caught a pair of passes, including an 18-yard touchdown toss from Santiago in the early goings of the second quarter.

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Army 28, MSU 12 Get Acrobat Reader

On the defensive side of the ball, junior Geoffrey Bacon and sophomore Alex Meier tallied career highs in tackles, recording 16 and 11, respectively. Senior Kyle Maxwell, who entered the game without a career sack, finished the night with a pair of quarterback take-downs.

Santiago and the Army offense came out firing, marching 95 yards downfield in its first possession to score midway through the first quarter. The possession was bookended by Santiago connecting with Moss for a 24-yard gain before the quarterback found paydirt on a 33-yard scramble to the end zone. Santiago punched in his second score of the game with 36 seconds remaining in the first stanza, en- route to a 168-yard offensive quarter for the Black Knights while Morgan State (0-1) sputtered to gain just 61 yards.

Following Lawrence's TD reception to push Army's lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter, the Bears cracked the scoring column with time winding down in the half. Junior quarterback Robert Council scored on a one-yard run for MSU, but the first of two failed extra-point attempts kept Army's lead at 21-6 heading into intermission.

Santiago would add one more score during the Black Knights' first possession of the second half to extend the lead to 28-6, before MSU closed out the game scoring with Council finding senior Chris Flowers for a 22-yard score with eight minutes remaining in the third.

Council ended the night with 89 yards of passing and 47 yards rushing, while Lamont Brown led the Bears' ground game with 75 net yards. Flowers had two receptions for 37 yards. MSU totaled 301 yards of offense to Army's 396.

The Black Knights played a blemish-free game, recording zero turnovers and zero penalties, a feat last accomplished in Army's 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl win over SMU on Dec. 30, 2010. Conversely, MSU was hamstringed by nine penalties resulting in a loss of 65 yards.

Army will hit the road for Game 2 of the 2013 season when the Black Knights travel to Muncie, Ind., to face Ball State on Sept. 7. Kickoff against the Cardinals is slated for noon at Scheumann Stadium. BSU defeated Illinois State, 51-28, in its season opener on Thursday night and earned a 30-22 win at Michie Stadium in the 2012 meeting with Army.

The MSU Bears will continue its road swing when they return to action next Saturday against Robert Morris.  The game is set for a noon kickoff on September 7 at Joe Walton Stadium. It will mark the second meeting between Morgan State and Robert Morris since 2011. The Bears won the matchup 13-12 at Hughes Stadium. 

Note:  NFL Hall of Famer and Morgan State great Willie Lanier was in attendance.  This game was also the first night game at Michie Stadium since 2009.


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