Key Matchups: Army vs. UMass

The tenth game of the year matches the Army West Point Black Knights (3-6, Sagarin 98) and the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (1-8, Sagarin 225).

Army leads the all-time series 2-0, with the last victory coming by Bobby Ross’ Black Knights back in 2005.  The Minutemen come into the game on a four-game losing streak, allowing opponents to score greater than 50 points in each of their last three.  Army is coming of their fifth loss in a row, and a game against the team ranked #225 could not be more welcome.

Last Week

In Colorado Springs, CO

Army was held on downs twice inside the ten-yard line and missed an extra point as the Falcons slayed the Black Knights 17-13.

This was a tough one to take for Army fans.  Army played well enough to win, but simply did not execute in the red zone.  The game was very close with Air Force gaining 344 and Army 343 yards.  The real surprise was how well Army was able to pass the ball.  Sophomore Quarterback Jabari Law started the game and was 9/11 for 214 yards and a touchdown.  He also ran for 54 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. However, Laws, is 170 lbs. and did not have the girth to clearly cross the goal line on a fourth and inches quarterback sneak.   Laws went out of the game on the final drive after being targeted by Junior Air Force Defensive Tackle Jordan Jones.  Senior Quarterback Kelvin Hopkins replaced him, but his ribs were obviously hurting him and he threw three incomplete passes as Army failed to score on first and goal from the seven yard line.

Army was once again unable to establish the run, as they were limited to 129 yards on 38 carries.  Junior Fullback Sandon McCoy lead all rushers with 67 yards on eight carries, but that was buoyed by a 36 yard run.  Army was unable to score from the one-yard line and from the seven yard line and that was the difference in the game.

Senior Linebacker Cole Christiansen and Senior Cornerback Elijah Riley had tremendous games.  Christiansen had 16 tackles and Riley had 11 and an interception.  Air Force gained 328 yards on 55 carries.  As I expected, Senior Fullback Timothy Jackson had a big day gaining 155 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.  Army was excellent against the pass, limiting Senior Quarterback Donald Hammond to one reception on six attempts for 19 yards.

Last year, Army was 11-1 and they were able to pull out close wins against Hawaii, Miami, Air Force and Navy. This year, Army is 3-6 with close losses to Michigan, Western Kentucky, Georgia State, San Jose and Air Force.  Army has been a few plays away from a great season.  Unfortunately, injuries and a few departed playmakers have made all the difference in the world.

In Amherst, MA

The Liberty Flames gained 730 total yards as they flanked the Minutemen 63-21.

The Flames scored on 9 of 14 drives, six of them were four plays or less.  The Flames gained 242 yards rushing on 45 attempts.  Senior Running Back Frankie Hickson led all rushers with 99 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries.

The Minutemen only gained 106 yards on 37 carries.  Junior Running Back Cam Robertson gained 73 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.  Junior Quarterback Andrew Brito was 16/27 for two touchdowns 134 yards.  Senior Quarterback Stephen Calvert was 20/27 for 474 yards and four touchdowns.

Who is favored?

Army is favored by 34.5 points

What to look for?

The Minutemen have a bad defense.  They average 52 points and 572.2 yards per game.  Their run defense gives up 270.8 yards per game and 6.4 yards per rush.

The Minutemen play a 3-4 defense and they will keep four linebackers within three yards of the line of scrimmage.  Sophomore Nose Tackle Dennis Osagiede (290 lbs.), Sophomore Defensive End Caleb Washington (275 lbs.) and Freshman Defensive Tackle Billy Wooden (290 lbs.) will have a long day.  Junior Mike Linebacker Cole McCubrey will make at least 15 tackles.

Junior Quarterback Andrew Brito will have a good day against the Cadets.  He is a pure passer and will not run the ball often.  He averages 114 yards per game and will better that on Saturday.

Army will win this game handily.  However, it will take them 10 plus plays to score on each drive as the Minutemen will crash the line.  The Fullback Dive will work and there will be some great highlights.  UMass will be successful on a couple of drives.  The game will not be close, but UMass will cover the spread.

Final Score – Army 49 – UMass 21 (predictions in 2019, 4-5)

This game will be shown on CBSSTV at 12:00 PM EDT.

Picks from the Ridge (7-2)

Florida Atlantic -10 over Florida International

Kansas St. +7 over Texas

Appalachian St. +5 over South Carolina

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