Key matchups: Army vs. Wake Forest

The fourth game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (Sagarin 137, 1-2) and the Atlantic Coast Conference – Atlantic Division, Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Sagarin 101, 1-2.) Wake Forest leads the all-time series 8-4 and the Demon Deacons have won the last six games dating back to 1990.

Background
The fourth game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (Sagarin 137, 1-2) and the Atlantic Coast Conference – Atlantic Division, Wake Forest Demon Deacons (Sagarin 101, 1-2.) Wake Forest leads the all-time series 8-4 and the Demon Deacons have won the last six games dating back to 1990. Wake Forest looks to rebound from a humiliating loss at home to Todd Berry's SunBelt Conference Louisiana-Monroe War Hawks. Army comes into the game with fresh confidence after playing relatively well against Stanford. A win for Army puts them on the path to the Poinsettia Bowl.

Last Week
At Michie, Kevin Hogan threw for three touchdowns and Tyler Gaffney had two touchdowns and 132 yards rushing as the Cardinal continued their march towards the BCS championship, beating Army 34-20.

The biggest surprise in this game was the Army defense. Arguably the worst defense in the country in 2012, they played a great game. While they did give up 408 total yards, they held on five of ten drives; which is five more stops than most of us predicted. Moreover, the Cadets forced two turnovers. The first was a fumble forced by Mike Ugenyi and recovered by Rich Glover on the Cardinal first possession. The second was an interception in the end zone by Freshman Josh Jenkins. Army was able to put pressure on Hogan and was able to sack him twice. Army gave up 203 yards on 34 attempts, but when we look back at this year, that will be one of the better defensive performances of the season. Chris Carnegie had 8 tackles, Julian Holloway had 6 and Jenkins played remarkably for his third game of college football.

Offensively, Army gained 333 yards. While this is not an overwhelming number, it is far greater than we anticipated. It seemed like the RB core were all effective in their runs, however Terry Bagget was the stand-out with 96 yards on nine carries. Five Army receivers caught passes from Angel Santiago and A.J. Schurr. Overall, the Army Quarterbacks were 6 of 10 for 49 yards. A real quarterback controversy is beginning as Santiago seems to be the better runner, but Schurr seems to run the offense better. Santiago did make a couple of great throws in the game, however, as the game wore on, he made some head-scratching decisions with the ball that made you wonder if perhaps he was trying to play through a concussion. At the very least, it is becoming clear to everyone in the stadium, and especially to opposing defenses, that Santiago seldom opts to make a pitch, no matter what the opposing defenders are doing. As a result, we are seeing a pattern where he is repeatedly getting stuffed on these option plays nearly every single time the team needs a play to keep a drive alive. Not surprisingly, the offense appeared more dangerous, and had far more success getting outside on the Cardinal defense when Schurr was in the game, as he was far more decisive in going to his pitch man when necessary. If Army could have converted a couple of crucial first downs in the 2nd half, they had the opportunity to put a real scare into Stanford.

On special teams, Kicker Daniel Grochowski was 2/2 including a 48 yard field goal and converted both extra points.

In Winston-Salem, NC, Kolton Browning threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns. Wake Forest was unable to score from the 4 yard line on the last play of the game and the War Hawks held on for a 21-19 victory.

ULM amassed 425 total yards and held on to the ball for 39 minutes, overcoming two interceptions and a missed field goal to win on the road. The War Hawk defense limited Wake Forest to 15 yards rushing on 15 attempts. Quarterback Tanner Price was 28 for 48 for 310 yards and two touchdowns.

Who is favored?
Wake Forest is favored by 3.5 points.

What to look for?
Which Army Team will show up Saturday? Army has played well at home and looked inept in their one road game. Luckily, this game will be played within the friendly confines of Michie Stadium.

Army found a rhythm against Stanford. The offensive line and the backs performed well. In a couple of instances, Santiago did not pitch or throw a pass and it hurt those drives. Overall, however it was a positive effort against a very good defense.

Wake Forest's troubles are not on the defensive side of the ball however. Wake Forest has instituted an option oriented offense with a pro-set cast. They are having difficulty gaining any rushing yardage. Defensively, their biggest problem has been an offense that has left them on the field too long.

This is a game that Army can win if they execute. This statement will be repeated for Army's remaining 9 games, because the team has the talent to beat their opponents if they do not beat themselves.

In this game, Army should be able to move the ball, however, as is always the case, they need to complete some passes and get to the edge, to open up the middle. Wake Forest will be much bigger and will be able to stop the run if allowed to play 8 in the box.

The Army defense should do well against this team. The Demon Deacons have only been successful with the long strike and we imagine that will be the case this Saturday. The Army secondary needs to come up big again and if they do that, they can lead Army to their second win of the season and provide great momentum for the rest of the year. There certainly is reason to be concerned that Wake Forest will bounce back with a superior effort after their troubles last week. Also, they will have the typically overwhelming size advantage in the trenches to get their running game going and possibly wear down Army's small (but not quite as small as it has been) defensive line. But we expect Army to ride the wave from their confidence-building effort last week and play another terrific home game this Saturday.

Final Score – Army 21 – Wake Forest 17 (predictions in 2013, 2-1)

Game will be shown on CBSCS @ 12:00 PM EST.

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