Key Matchups: Army vs. Buffalo

The seventh game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (2-4, Sagarin 147) and Mid American Conference, Buffalo Bulls (2-4, Sagarin 89). The all time series is tied 1-1, Army's win coming in 1960.

The Bulls beat Army for their first Division I victory in 2001.  Army is comes into this game having won two straight, while the Bulls have lost three in a row.

 

Last Week

Army won again!

Collin Mooney carried the ball 29 times for 229 yards. Chip Bowden and Wesley McMahand both had scoring runs as the Cadets beat the Eastern Michigan Eagles 17-13.  This was a game where the Cadets out-played Eastern Michigan and should have won the game by at least two touchdowns, but the Cadet offense did not finish and the game was in jeopardy until that last Eagle drive was stopped.

 

The Army defense only allowed 255 yards, but two turnovers kept the Eagles in the game.  The defense was very good and Mumford consistently had different linebackers blitzing, which kept the Eastern Michigan Offense off-guard, limiting them to 138 yards passing.  Defensive end Victor Ugenyi blocked a field goal in the third quarter, which turned the game emotionally for the Black Knights.

 

Buffalo gave up 22 fourth quarter points and lost in overtime to Western Michigan, 34-28.  Buffalo gave up nearly 400 yards in offense to the Broncos with most coming through the air.  Western Michigan only attempted 17 carries for 52 yards.  The Bulls gained 322 yards on offense with 158 yards on the ground and 164 through the air on 34 attempts.  The Broncos were able to overcome 3 turnovers.

 

 

What we Learned

The Army team may not necessarily be back, but they may be well on their way towards not being embarrassing.  We learned that the Army defense can get pressure on the quarterback if they are creative and unpredictable with their blitz packages.  Army continues to get burned when they rush only three and play zone coverage.

 

Collin Mooney, given a little better start or another year, could be one of the nation's best rushers.  As it is, he will probably finish the year with 1,500 yards and be Army's biggest yard gainer in decades.  We did learn that this offense, while improving, is still very predictable.  The Brock bone, which promised a potential pass each play, gave us another 37 fullback dives this past week, and offers little more than an occasional pitch to Wesley McMahand or Tony Dace.  When they are able to get McMahand the ball, he has the speed to turn the corner.  Of course this only works if there are not 9 defenders in the box.  Linebackers and safeties in the backfield will almost always prevent the pitch.  Bowden, who managed a pretty good game, was 0-3 passing (and the three throws were all very poor), but there was a pass interference call on the first possession (on a pass that was also very poorly thrown).  It seemed as though out patterns were open all day, but Bowden did not come close to capitalizing on them.  To be less predictable, there must be more passing and more plays to the outside. It is becoming evident that Army is unable to put the ball in the air, as poorly as Bowden throws, although there doesn't seem to be a better choice for a QB on the current roster. Although far more effective and efficient than before, this offense is slightly less exciting than watching paint dry.

 

The Buffalo Bulls are a decent football team.  They took Western Michigan to overtime and were on the bottom end of a couple breaks.  Buffalo offense is evenly balanced.  They rush for ~125 yards a game and pass for ~ 225.  Their defense tends to give up close to 400 yards a game, but a game against Missouri skews that number a bit. 

 

 

Who is favored?

Buffalo is favored by 10.5 points

 

What to look for?

Look for Army to continue to try to pound away at the middle with lots and lots of dives to Mooney and a few keepers from Bowden.  Army will try to get to the edge and give McMahand some running room and I believe that they will pass at least 5 times to the flat to try to keep the corners and safeties honest.

 

I look for Army to contain the Buffalo Offense and keep them to three touchdowns.  The question will be how many turn overs will Army commit and will Army mix the offense up enough to hold onto the ball.

 

I expect a fantastic game.  Army is learning to win and is playing with more confidence than at any time in the post Sutton era.  The Bulls are reeling from three straight losses and will likely look at Army as a team they are supposed to beat easily.  Let's hope Army can steal a win.

 

Final Score – Buffalo 21- Army 20 (Predictions this year 3-3)

 

The game will be televised on GamePlan @ 3:30PM EST. 

 


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