Don Yates

Key Matchups: Army West Point Black Knights vs. Bucknell Bison

The seventh game of the year matches the Army West Point Black Knights (Sagarin 126, 1-5) and the Football Championship Subdivision Patriot League Bucknell Bison (Sagarin 213, 3-2.) .

Army leads the all- time series 5-0, with the last win coming in 1995 when the Cadets prevailed 37-6 at Michie.  Army looks to rebound from a thrashing at the hands of Duke.  Bucknell looks to beat their first FBS team since 1971 and stretch their record to 4-2.

Last Week

At West Point, NY – The Duke defense forced seven fumbles and two turnovers and limited Army to 113 rushing yards, as Duke blew out Army on homecoming 44-3. 

The Army defense held tough in the first half of the game but eventually Duke was too big, too fast, and they held the ball too long.  The Blue Devils gained 458 total yards.  Junior quarterback Thomas Sirk was 17-27 for 197 yards.  Army was not able to create any real pressure and finished the game without a sack.  Junior running back Jela Johnson ran for 78 yards on eight carries for two touchdowns. 

Senior defensive back Xavier Moss, junior linebacker Andrew King and Sophomore Linebacker combined for 32 tackles.

The Army offense failed.  Senior quarterback, A.J. Schurr started the game and had much of the feel of the Penn State game.  He 27 tough yards on 10 carries but on the second possession, he came out of the game on a fourth and one.  Sophomore Ahmad Bradshaw came in the game and it seemed as though he was not mentally ready.  On his first play, the timing was off on a pitch to Joe Walker and Army turned the ball over.  From that point on, the Army offense was out of sync and they failed to keep Army in the game.  Freshman Fullback Drue Harris was Army’s leading carrier with 47 yards on four carries.

The statistics show that the Army defense was manhandled.  For those who saw the game, it was the Army offense that was horrendous and gave Duke good field position throughout the game. 

In Lewisberg, PA – Lehigh ran for 229 yards on 29 carries and freshman running back Dominic Bragalone rushed on 107 yards on 18 carries. 

The Lehigh defense limited the Bison to 233 yards and 26 yards.  Junior quarterback, R.J. Nitti was 15/26 for 178 yards and one touchdown, as the Mountain Hawks beat the Bison 21-10.

A touchdown and fumble kept the Bison in the game

Who is favored?

Bucknell is a FCS school and there is not official Vegas line.  But if there were, Army would be favored by 22 points.

What to look for?

Bucknell has very good defensive statistics versus their FCS opponents.  Their defense averages 130.6 yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry.  Army averages 258.7 yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry.  This game will be determined by the Bison ability to stop the Black Knight rushing attack.

The Bucknell offense averages 297.2 yards and 16.2 yards per game.  The Bison chances on offense will be based on Nitti who has completed 52.2% of his passes for 183 yards per game.

Army had improved each week up to last week’s game against Duke.  Even though the score did not show it, Army’s defense played a good game.  There were no broken tackles and the safeties filled all the gaps appropriately.  The Cadet defense will stop the Bison and limit them to a couple of scores.

The Bison will have a very difficult time stopping the Army rushing attack.  The offensive line is beginning to jell and the fullbacks are becoming more successful.  Look for an Eastern Michigan type effort where Army rushes for more than 500 yards.

Bucknell is a good FCS team, but Army will come out hungry and should hit on all cylinders.  Whether the quarterback is Bradshaw or Schurr, the corps of backs will run big.

Final Score – Army 48 – Bucknell 14 (predictions in 2015, 3-3)

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

 


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