Army meets Connecticut on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
ArmySports.com's Jim Lawler compares the two teams in several
critical areas. He also makes a prediction on the game's final
Black Knights will meet the Connecticut
Huskies at Yankee Stadium this Saturday. Last week Army lost to the Air Force
at Michie Stadium as the
Falcons defeated the Army Black Knights 23-6 at a sold-out Michie Stadium to win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. The Connecticut Huskies have struggled this year in their first season under new head coach Bob Diaco. The Huskies snapped a five-game losing streak last week as they defeated the first place UCF
Knights 37-29. UCONN leads the series 4-1 over Army.
ARMY PASSING OFFENSE
CONNECTICUT PASSING DEFENSE
REMARKS: Army's quarterback Angel Santiago
has struggled throwing the ball the last two games. He's completed just five of his last 21 passes for only 37 yards with an interception. Santiago has connected on 28-of-55 (50.9%) passes for 362 yards and a score with an interception. Leading receiver Tony Giovannelli
(8 rec, 131 yards, 16.4) will miss the game after he suffered a concussion at the end of the Air Force game. Edgar Poe
leads the team in receiving yards with 168 yards on seven receptions for a 24.0 average with a touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Xavier Moss
(6 rec. for 52 yards, 2 TDs) hasn't been a factor like he was as a plebe when he led the team in 2013 with 35 receptions for 463 yards and a touchdown. Army's offensive line has fallen apart the last few weeks. They allowed four sacks for a loss of 24 yards against Air Force. Santiago was often running for his life and under pressure all day when he tried to throw.
The UConn secondary is 82nd in the nation in pass defense. They are allowing 244 passing yards per game and 14 touchdowns. Senior cornerback Byron Jones suffered a shoulder injury two weeks ago and is out for the year. It was a big loss. He is an NFL prospect who had two interceptions and six passes defensed. Jones was replaced by freshman Jamar Summer who made his first start last week against UCF. Safety Andrew Adams (60 tackles) made three interceptions against UCF. Sophomore safety Obi Melifonwu
made 70 tackles last year and two interceptions as he was named a Freshman All-America Honorable Mention by Scout.com. Melifonwu is a big safety who is only average in pass coverage. UConn has only produced just eleven sacks this year.
ARMY RUSHING OFFENSE
CONNECTICUT RUSHING DEFENSE
REMARKS: The Black Knights have dropped to fifth in the nation in rushing. They are now averaging over 294 rushing yards per game. Army's offense has struggled the last three games as they failed to run for 300 yards. The Black Knights had run for at least 341 yards or more in four of the first five games. Offensive coordinator Brent Davis
had a poor game and was unable to establish any rhythm last week. He needs to settle on an offensive line. They averaged 338 rushing yard the first five games and just 222 rushing yards the last three games. The offense has fallen apart. Senior "B" back Larry Dixon
leads Army with 696 rushing yards while scoring five touchdowns. Last week Dixon ran 10 times for a season low 13 yards against Air Force. He had no running room as the Falcons took away the fullback dive. With Tony Giovannelli out with an injury the Army fans might finally get to see more of Raymond Maples
(169 yards, 5.6 avg., 2 TDs) teamed with Terry Baggett
(285 yards, 7.5 avg., TD) together in the backfield.
The UConn 4-3 defense has been solid against the run. The Huskies are ranked 27th in the nation against the run and are allowing just over125 rushing yards per game. They have allowed only eight rushing touchdown this season. Junior linebacker Marquise Vann
(75 tackles, 5 1/2 TFL, 1/2 sack) leads UConn in tackles. Linebacker Graham Stewart
(75 tackles, 2 sacks) has 7 1/2 tackles for a loss which is the most on the Huskies. Nose tackle Julian Campenni (26 tackles, 5 TFL, 2 Sacks) is short but is quick and could give Hugenberg some trouble.
CONNECTICUT PASSING OFFENSE
ARMY PASSING DEFENSE
UConn quarterback senior Chandler Whitmer
has completed 102-of-182 passes (55.4%) for 1,301 passing yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Last week against UCF he completed 13-of-25 passes for 142 yards and two scores. UConn senior wide receiver Geremy Davis
has 34 receptions for 436 yards this season with a team leading three touchdowns. Davis is a big, athletic receiver who had made a reception in 34-straight games, which is the 12th longest reception streak in the country but he missed last game with an ankle injury. Last year he made 71 receptions for 1,085 yards and three scores. He is questionable for Saturday. Senior Deshon Foxx
(20 rec, 310 yards, 15.5 avg., TD) has the speed to get deep. Foxx caught an 88-yard touchdown pass against East Carolina
which was the fourth-longest pass play in school history. Foxx turned into a dual threat last game as he was used as the quarterback in option packages. Noel Thomas
had career highs against UCF as he caught four passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns The Huskies offensive line has struggled in pass protection. It has allowed 27 sacks with 155 yards lost.
The Black Knights pass defense is ranked 91nd in the nation. Army is allowing over 253 passing yards a game. Cornerback Josh Jenkins
(47 tackles, 3 TFL, 4 INTs, 9 PD) continues his stellar play. Last week against Air Force he made a great pick as he showed his burst to the ball. His 31-yard interception return set up Army's first field goal. Jenkins and cornerback Chris Carnegie
(35 tackles, INT, 5 PD) will be challenged by the Huskies big and fast receivers. Safety and true freshman Rhyan England
(14 tackles, TFL, PD) was beat for both touchdown passes against the Falcons. England fell to all fours and badly missed tackling tight end Garrett Griffin
on his 54-yard touchdown pass. It was a really bad play on his part. England was again beat on play action near the goal line by Griffin for a two yard touchdown reception. The Black Knights have posted just seven sacks all year.
CONNECTICUT RUSHING OFFENSE
ARMY RUSHING DEFENSE
REMARKS: The Connecticut Huskies enter the game ranked 118th in the nation and are averaging just 91.1 rushing yards per game. UConn has scored only five rushing touchdowns this season and have a paltry 2.7 average per carry. The starting halfback Ron Johnson has 54 carries for 180 yards with 3.3 yards per carry with two scores. Max DeLorenzo
leads the Huskies with only 194 rushing yards on 58 carries. Quarterback Chandler Whitmer is basically a pocket passer with limited mobility. The Huskies were able to get their running game going last week when they used speedy wide receiver Deshon Foxx at quarterback. Foxx ran the Huskies option package and he carried the ball 11 times for 102 yards and a score. He showed his speed on a a 68-yard touchdown run. The UConn offensive line returned only one starter from last year, center Alex Mateas, and has really struggled in both run and pass blocking.
Army is ranked 91st in the country versus the run. The Black Knights are allowing over 184 rushing yards per game. Sophomore inside linebacker Jeremy Timpf
was named FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season for his outstanding performance against Air Force. Timpf made 17 tackles including three tackles for a loss and was the reason the Black Knights were able to limit the Air Force running game. Fellow inside linebacker Andrew King
(44 tackles, 4 TFL) hurt his ankle on the first series against the Falcons and is considered doubtful for this game. Freshman Scott Washle
will likely start in King's place. He made seven tackles after replacing King and did a solid job after being thrown into the fire. Nose tackle Richard Glover
(20 tackles, 2 TFL) played his best game last week. The Huskies were one of the worst teams in the nation running the ball until Foxx gave them life running the option. Army fans have seen the Black Knights front seven make mediocre running attacks like Wake Forest
and Kent State
look good this season.
REMARKS: UConn's Bobby Puyol has been accurate this fall hitting on 8-of-10 field goals but he has missed two of 15 extra points. He lacks a very strong leg but is accurate with a long field goal of 44 yards. He has just five touchbacks on 33 kickoffs. Punter Justin Wain is averaging 39.5 yards on 49 punts with 13 inside the 20 and five punts over fifty yards. Speedy Deshon Foxx is a dangerous punt return averaging 13.0 yards per punt return. Foxx had a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown against Stony Brook. Arkeel Newsome
is averaging 19.8 per kickoff return. The Huskies do a good job covering kicks and punts.
Army's Daniel Grochowski has made 5-of-9 field goal attempts. He hits two of three against the Falcons. He has made 20-of-22 extra point attempts. He has 12 touchbacks on 34 kickoffs. Punter Alex Tardieu
is averaging 39.6 yards on 33 punts. Fourteen of his punts have been fair caught, 12 placed inside the twenty yard line and five traveling over fifty yards. Tardieu had a rare costly bad punt against Air Force. Xavier
Moss replaced Josh Jenkins and returned punts against the Falcons. Josh Jenkins and Chris Carnegie remain as kick returners but the Black Knights are averaging just 17.4 yards on kickoff returns. The blocking of the return teams is terrible. The coverage teams have done a nice job holding opponents to just a 3.0 punt return average and a 19.2 kickoff return average.
UConn head coach Bob Diaco is in his first year as the Huskies head coach. Diaco served on the Notre Dame
coaching staff as the defensive coordinator for the past four years. He was the 2012 winner of the Frank Broyles Award, given to the top assistant college football coach in the country. Diaco served as an assistant at Virginia
, Western Illinois
, Eastern Michigan
and Central Michigan
. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection at Iowa
as a linebacker. Diaco had a few rough games at defensive coordinator against Navy's option attack. He shut down the Black Knights option attack in 2010 in a 27-3 Army loss to Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium. He did a nice job of inserting option packages in the upset over UCF.
Jeff Monken is struggling to get his team back on track. The injuries on the offensive line and the ineffective play of the backups has caused the running game to grind to a halt. Defensive coordinator Jay Bateman's unit had their best game last week against the Falcons. it will be interesting to see if they can carry that over to a neutral site game. Brent Davis needs to settle on an offensive line. Against Air Force seven of the eleven possessions were for four plays or less
REMARKS: Connecticut leads the series 4-1. Army is all time 14-21-5 at Yankee Stadium. This will be Army’s third appearance in the new Yankee Stadium following losses against both Notre Dame in 2010 and Rutgers
in 2011. Connecticut is entering the game off their best performance of the season in upsetting first place UCF. Army is one of the worst teams in the FBS playing away from Michie Stadium.
Connecticut 28, Army 17. This is a winnable game but I have no confidence in the Army running game right now after the last three weeks. UConn is a bad team but the fact this game is away from Michie Stadium and the Army offense is struggling doesn't allow me to pick the Black Knights. I wouldn't be surprised if Army won, in part because UConn is so bad, but I have no confidence in them putting together a complete game away from Michie Stadium.
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