The Army Black Knights (3-0) will meet the Buffalo Bulls (0-2) at UB Stadium in Buffalo, NY this Saturday. After a long trip southwest to take on UTEP, this road game is a much easier travel destination for a Black Knights team looking to continue it's unexpectedly perfect start to the season. A victory would take Army to 4-0 for the first time since 1996 and put the team two wins away from bowl eligibility.
ARMY PASSING OFFENSE
BUFFALO PASSING DEFENSE
REMARKS: Army still doesn't want to throw the ball much, but it was interesting that against UTEP the passing playbook was opened up more than it had been to that point in 2016. The three Army quarterbacks that played combined to go 7 of 8 through the air for 174 yards and a touchdown. Army does have a matchup problem for Buffalo in the height and strength of receiver Edgar Poe and it will be interesting to see if this is something that the Black Knights try to exploit. The Buffalo passing defense only gave up 160 yards to Nevada quarterback Tyler Stewart last weekend, but that was on 16 of 21 passing as the Wolfpack was able to control the flow of the game on the ground.
ARMY RUSHING OFFENSE
BUFFALO RUSHING DEFENSE
REMARKS: The biggest single unit advantage in this game is the Army rushing offense over the Buffalo rushing defense. Army has the second best rushing attack in the nation as the Black Knights average 367 yards per game on the ground. Army also averages a very impressive 41.7 points per game, with the vast majority of those scores coming via the triple-option. Buffalo, on the other hand, is just bad against the run. The Bulls rank 114th nationally against other teams rushing attacks and last time out Buffalo allowed 352 yards rushing to Nevada.
BUFFALO PASSING OFFENSE
ARMY PASSING DEFENSE
REMARKS: Buffalo will be starting giant freshman quarterback Tyree Jackson against the Black Knights. The 6-foot-7 gunslinger has a cannon for an arm and he gives Buffalo the best chance to win now and develop a solid starter for the future. Jackson though is very raw at this point, as evidenced by his 44.7% completion rating on the season. Against Nevada, Jackson was a miserable 7 of 22 for 130 yards and a touchdown, but he is someone that will make bad decisions in the pocket if he is put under pressure. The Army defense has been incredible through three games and has only allowed 41 points so far this season.
BUFFALO RUSHING OFFENSE
ARMY RUSHING DEFENSE
REMARKS: The Bulls rushed for a very respectable 231 yards against Nevada and the key here for Army will be stopping Jackson rushing for big gains on designed plays and scrambles. The quarterback accounted for 87 yards on just eight carries, proving he is a dangerous and powerful runner in the open field. Think a younger Cam Newton for a size comparison. The running backs themselves did just ok against the Wolfpack, with Jordan Johnson leading the team's attack. Johnson has rushed for 201 yards in two games at an average of 5-yards per carry, so he is someone the Black Knights will have to watch. At this point in the season though I would take Army's fast, fluid, and sure tackling linebackers over all but the very best rushing games in the nation
REMARKS: Buffalo will know that the best shot the team has to win this game is by shutting down the Army run game and making the Black Knights punt. Nick Schrage has been bad so far this season and in a battle of field position Army would likely find itself pinned back very quickly given his limited punting range. Army does have some useful pieces in the return game, but punting is a big worry at this point.
REMARKS: Jeff Monken has this Army team rolling right now and his coaching decisions through the first three games have all been on point. The biggest questionmark coming into the season was how Monken was going to rotate his two quarterbacks and with three games of the season gone the Black Knights seem to have established a pattern. Ahmad Bradshaw starts and plays the first couple of drives before Chris Carter comes into the game for a series. Against UTEP, Carter saw his first protracted playing time of the season as Army got ahead, so expect Monken to keep playing his quarterback situation by ear based on how well the team is doing.
REMARKS: The Black Knights have all the momentum here. The 66 points scored against UTEP was the most by the Black Knights since 1958 and there is a real sense of belief and purpose around this team. Army gets a week off after this before hitting the stretch run of the schedule and a win would springboard the Black Knights into the likes of Duke, Notre Dame, and the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy matchups.
PREDICTION: Army 38, Buffalo 14. The offense is firing so well right now that it is hard to see Army scoring fewer than five touchdowns as long as they don't turn over the ball. Buffalo will be game, but more of the Bulls scores will come after the game has been decided as they continue to try to bed Jackson into the quarterback spot.