Army QB Kelvin Hopkins Jr. has adjusted well as starter

AP

Print Article

  • Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. (8) gets hit by Oklahoma defensive lineman Kenneth Mann (55) while passing during an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Oklahoma won 28-21 in overtime. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)

  • 1

    Army head coach Jeff Monken shouts in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

  • 2

    Army head coach Jeff Monken stands with his team after of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Oklahoma won 28-21 in overtime. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

  • 3

    Army running back Darnell Woolfolk, center, is brought down by Oklahoma defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles (44) and linebacker Kenneth Murray, right, in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Oklahoma won 28-21 in overtime. Murray had a school-record 28 tackles. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

  • 4

    Oklahoma cornerback Parnell Motley (11) intercepts a pass intended for Army running back Jordan Asberry (3) in overtime of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Oklahoma won 28-21 in overtime. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

  • Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. (8) gets hit by Oklahoma defensive lineman Kenneth Mann (55) while passing during an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Oklahoma won 28-21 in overtime. (Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP)

  • 1

    Army head coach Jeff Monken shouts in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

  • 2

    Army head coach Jeff Monken stands with his team after of an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Oklahoma won 28-21 in overtime. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

  • 3

    Army running back Darnell Woolfolk, center, is brought down by Oklahoma defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles (44) and linebacker Kenneth Murray, right, in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Oklahoma won 28-21 in overtime. Murray had a school-record 28 tackles. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

  • 4

    Oklahoma cornerback Parnell Motley (11) intercepts a pass intended for Army running back Jordan Asberry (3) in overtime of an NCAA college football game in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. Oklahoma won 28-21 in overtime. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. has a different mindset, one that bodes well for the Black Knights.

A year ago Hopkins knew he wasn't going to see much playing time under center because Ahmad Bradshaw was having a stellar senior season. Now Hopkins is the lead man and things have changed.

"You've got to take a lot of things a lot more seriously (as the starter)," said Hopkins, who won a three-way competition in preseason camp. "You've got to prepare like you're about to play."

Five games into the season, Hopkins has demonstrated he's up for the challenge of leading Army's triple option. He has quickly matured in his new role as the Black Knights (3-2) chase a third straight bowl game appearance.

"He's really grown as a player," coach Jeff Monken said. "He is a talented guy and has done a good job taking care of the ball, giving it to the right people and leading our team. I think our guys believe in him."

Army's lone losses have come on the road against teams that have been ranked this fall Duke in the season opener and Oklahoma, which needed overtime to win. The Black Knights earned a boatload of respect in that one three weeks ago and received a standing ovation from the partisan crowd after the game.

Ball security is emphasized by the coaching staff at West Point because it's a key to success. The Army offense lost only four fumbles last season and matched an academy record with 10 wins, so there was dismay when Hopkins and the offense got off to a shaky start at Duke, losing two of five fumbles in a 34-14 loss.

"I felt like the first game I got a little bit tired early," Hopkins said. "My last full game was in high school in 2014. It took me a while to get my wind and calm down."

In nearly 300 snaps since, the offense hasn't fumbled and Hopkins has excelled. He has 397 yards rushing to lead an attack that's averaging 308 on the ground, third nationally, and leads the nation in time of possession, averaging just over 40 minutes. Against Oklahoma , the Black Knights had the ball for 44:41 and ran 87 plays to 40 for the then-No. 5 Sooners, the third-fewest offensive plays for Oklahoma in school history and the fewest since 1960.

"Kelvin's been doing a great job leading this team," Army senior linebacker Kenneth Brinson said. "We're real proud of him."

What's different about Army this year is that Hopkins has made the Black Knights more of a threat through the air. He's 25-of-51 passing for 551 yards and three TDs with three interceptions. In 13 games last year, Army finished with 361 passing yards, attempting only 65 passes and suffering six interceptions to rank last nationally.

Hopkins offered a glimpse of his potential as a sophomore, etching his name in academy lore by rallying the Black Knights to an improbable win over Temple at Michie Stadium. Army trailed by seven points with 91 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter when Monken replaced Bradshaw with Hopkins, and Hopkins guided the Black Knights on a 14-play, 79-yard scoring drive that included five completions for 67 yards. The last completion was a perfectly thrown 16-yarder to Jermaine Adams in the left corner of the end zone with one second left in regulation, and Blake Wilson kicked a short field goal in the first overtime for a dramatic 31-28 victory.

Army entered that game averaging 17.9 yards passing per game, and Hopkins was 1 for 6 for nine yards and one interception before he was inserted.

"To step into that situation where we had to get a score to win and to have him lead us down the field like he did certainly helped his process of maturing and his confidence," said Monken, in his fifth season at West Point. "That is so much a part of being a leader on the team and being the quarterback.

"He's gotten us out of some jams," Monken added. "He can make all the throws. We've never had a quarterback in this offense that can throw the ball as well. It's been a real plus for the offense."

Coming off a bye week, Army plays at winless San Jose State on Saturday. The Black Knights are brimming with confidence after a dominant 42-13 road win over previously unbeaten Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference. The victory, after the tough loss to the Sooners, gave Army a winning record through five games for the third straight season, the first time that's happened since 1986.

"I'm just doing whatever I can," Hopkins said. "Coach always talks about doing your one-eleventh. That's all I'm trying to do do my part for this team to help us win, do the best job I can."

__

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

   

Print Article

Read More National & World Sports

Mistakes undermine Browns again in close loss to Buccaneers

AP

October 21, 2018 at 5:47 pm | TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Once again, close wasn't good enough for the Cleveland Browns, who keep finding ways to lose. Chandler Catanzaro's 59-yard field goal in overtime officially took them down in S...

Comments

Read More

The Latest: Tucker's extra-point streak snapped at 222

AP

October 21, 2018 at 5:32 pm | The Latest on the NFL's Week 7 (all times EDT): 7:05 p.m. Baltimore's Justin Tucker picked the worst possible time for the first missed extra point of his career. The seventh-year kicker ...

Comments

Read More

At 3-4, Jets insist they won't repeat last season's spiral

AP

October 21, 2018 at 5:16 pm | EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The New York Jets were in this exact spot a year ago. They were 3-4 after seven games and at a crossroads in their season which quickly spiraled from that point. Th...

Comments

Read More

Bills pay steep price in Indy for continual offensive woes

AP

October 21, 2018 at 4:49 pm | INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Buffalo Bills thought Derek Anderson might be the solution to their offensive struggles. He wasn't. They tried putting offensive coordinator Brian Daboll on the field for ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2018 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X