Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Army West Point football will rely on quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw to lead the team to a victory at Connecticut

The second game of the year matches the Army West Point Black Knights (Sagarin 142, 0-1) and the University of Connecticut Huskies (Sagarin 112, 1-0.) UCONN leads the all-time series 4-2, but Army West Point beat the Huskies last year at Yankee Stadium 35-21.

By R. Nelson

The highlight of this game was Chris Carnegie’s interception and 99-yard touchdown return.  It was the Black Knight’s first victory at Yankee Stadium since 1960.  The Huskies look to start a rebuilding year 2-0.  Army West Point looks to rebound from an embarrassing season debut and win their first road game in five years.

Last Week

At West Point, the chants of “So what?” filled the visitor’s locker room before the game.  Fordham, an FCS school had lost 30 seniors to graduation prompting 18 first time starters; had 30 freshmen playing in their first collegiate game; had a starting quarterback who hadn't thrown a pass in over two years; had a placekicker who had never kicked a field goal in a college game and started nine new players on defense.  After allowing over 350 rushing yards to the Cadets last year; so you had to feel good about Army West Point’s chances.

Junior quarterback Kevin Anderson, completed 15 of 23 passes for 322 yards and rushed for a score, while running back Chase Edmonds rushed for 110 yards on 20 carries with three scores and six passes for 140 yards.  Fordham held the Cadets on a late drive to win 37-35.

After the game Coach Jeff Monken said, “I am embarrassed by our performance tonight. We were poorly coached. We didn't block, tackle or take care of the ball, which is certainly not representative of what our team will be, and I am certainly disappointed in how we played tonight."  There is no other way to explain such a performance.  Army had more returning players and was playing at home against a team that they had beaten the previous year.

There were a couple of bright spots for the Cadets.  It looks like we have a very good quarterback.  Sophomore quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw is a fast, strong quarterback who also throws well.  He rushed for 143 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.  He was also 6/14 for 107 yards.  While his arm is not great, it is the best we have seen in years. He could be the best quarterback that Army has had since Ronnie McAda.  Freshman Running Back Jordan Asberry gained 56 yards on five carries and caught a pass for 33 yards.  The outside running game looked good as Aaron Kemper, Joe Walker and John Trainor had success.  It was very surprising that the Cadets had very little success up the middle. 

The Cadets turned the ball over twice; an interception and muffed punt reception by Edgar Poe.  There was also a punt snap over the head of the punter that resulted in a safety and a botched snap that the Rams kick holder Joseph Pavlik ran for a two point conversion. 

We did not think that Army’s defense could get worse from 2014, but after week one’s effort that included overruns, broken tackles and a listless pass rush – this team has a chance. 

At East Hartford – sophomore quarterback Bryant Shirreffs threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns and came back to beat FCS Villanova 20-15 on a Thursday night.

Sophomore running back Ron Johnson ran 23 times for 69 yards and a score.  His longest run of the day was ten yards. Sophomore running back Arkeel Newsome scored on a 27 yard screen pass with just under five minutes left that proved to be the game winner.  Sophomore tight end Tommy Myers caught two passes for 89 yards including a 69-yard reception that set up a touchdown on the first drive in the second half.

This game challenged the game at West Point in terms of ugliness as there were three turn-overs, one being an interception in the end-zone, a safety and a missed field goal.

Who is favored?

Connecticut is favored by 7.5 points

What to look for?

This is a fantastic match-up as two bad football teams meet at East Hartford.  It would be hard to imagine after last week’s performances that either school could muster a win against an FBS opponent – yet one will emerge victorious.

UCONN does not have the offense of Fordham.  However, they do have a very big offensive line.  The Huskies average 307 pounds across their front five.  They will be very content to hand the ball off to Ron Johnson and win this game five yards at a time.  The Army defensive front averages just 257 pounds and they will have commit their safeties to stopping the run game.  This is going to leave single coverage for Bryant Shirreffs.  Shirreffs being able to take advantage of single coverage will be a key in this game.

The Husky defensive line averages 306 pounds.  It is safe to say that Army will not gain many yards up the middle.  Ahmad Bradshaw will have to throw often and take the ball outside if the Cadets are to be successful.

This is a game that UCONN should win.  Let’s keep in mind that Army has not won on the road since 2010.  To believe that Army will win this game would defy all logic.  Yet for some reason, we are optimistic about this game.  We expect a very ugly, mistake filled game.  It is possible that Army will be able to stay in this if the Cadet offense can keep the Husky defense on their heels with a mix of passes, misdirections and variations on the option.  We think that Monken will have the Black Knights ready to play and this game will be determined in the final minute.

 Final Score – Connecticut 28 – Army 27 (predictions in 2015, 0-1)

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

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