Bucknell – A First Look

The Black Knights need to rebound quickly from the 44-3 defeat at Duke which was by far the team’s worst performance of the year. Before Saturday Army had never really felt like they were out of any of the games they had played and knew that one or two bounces of the ball could have seen the team with a much stronger record. On Saturday however the Black Knights were dominated for four quarters of play.

Army drops a division this week to play FCS opponent Bucknell and will hope there is no hangover from the Duke debacle.

Season so far

This will be the first time the Bison play an FBS school in 2015 with their 3-2 record coming strictly against FCS schools. Bucknell opened with a dominating 17-0 win over Marist at home before losing on the road to Duquesne the following weekend. Tight victories followed over Cornell (19-14) and VMI (28-22). The VMI game was interesting as it was decided by a 23-yard touchdown run in overtime. Last Saturday the Bison dropped to 3-2 on the season with a 21-10 loss to Lehigh. It is obvious from these scores that the Bison do not score a lot of points, but they are also rarely out of games and have yet to be blown out this season.

Injuries and Suspensions

Injury data is a little more difficult to pursue for non-FBS teams but Bucknell seems to be relatively healthy coming into this game against Army. Certainly the skill position players are all accounted for with quarterback R.J. Nitti looking to add to his 21 career touchdown passes and running back C.J. Williams looking to rush for over 100 yards for the third time in 2015. One of the few places where it seems an injury may have affected the preparation of Bucknell is at center where Cary Hess is in line to make only the second start of his career after playing the position against Cornell earlier this season.

Challenges

The Bucknell offensive line is a good one and it is both experienced and deep. Outside of the center the Bison boast a left tackle (Julie’n Davenport) who is a 2-time All-Patriot League selection and 57 combined games on the other side of the line with right guard Devlin Brennan and right tackle Ramy Kased. The Army defensive line should be too strong for the Bison to handle, but the experience factor is something which has to be taken into consideration when facing this team.

There is less experience on the defensive side where the Bison start six sophomores (but no freshmen) including two in the secondary. The unit is led though by SS Clayton Ewell who is the only player on the team to have appeared in all 38 games over the last four seasons. If Army can pick on the younger defensive players, using the tricks available with the option attack to make the Bison miss assignments and make mistakes, then the Black Knights will be in a good positon to win. 


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