Key Matchups: Army vs. VMI

Army mule

The eleventh game of the year matches the Army West Point Black Knights (4-6, Sagarin 98) and the Virginia Military Institute Keydets (4-6, Sagarin 225).

Army leads the all-time series 14-1, with the last victory coming in 2010, when the Black Knights braced the Kaydets 29-7.  The Keydets come into the game on a three-game losing streak, giving up an increasing amount of points during the slide.  Army is on modest one game win streak, a game that allowed for players to heal and lines to gel.

Last Week

At Michie

Shades of a good Army team appeared at Michie last Saturday.  The Cadets out gained the Minutemen 546-125, held the ball for 41:13 and won the turn-over battle 2-1.  Unfortunately, they were playing the #225 team in the country.

Jabari Laws appears ready to take over the team.  He was 3/5 for 48 yards.  He led all rushers with 140 yards on 8 carries and he had a spectacular 83 yards touchdown run.  The second-string offensive line consisting of Sophomores Noah Knapp (Center) Dean Powell, Junior Luke McCleery and Seniors Jake Baumert and Jack Sides looked like last year, creating holes on nearly every carry.  Fourteen Black Knights carried the ball for 498 yards over 78 carries, however if you back out the Laws touchdown run, they only averaged 5.3 yards.

Kelvin Hopkins was in the game for a few plays.  He still looks hurt.  Maybe we will find out what happened to him and when.  When the year began, I thought that he would replace Ronnie McAda as the greatest Army wishbone Quarterback, but since the Michigan game, he has only been a shadow of himself.  At any other school we would get a red-shirt year.

Junior Receiver Artice Hobbs caught a pass and looks very capable.  He is always creating holes and is an integral part of successful runs.  I would like to see more of him over the last three games of the season.

26 Cadets made tackles, and none were named Christiansen or Riley.  The team seems to have great depth for several years to come.

In Greenville, SC

The Paladins gained 636 total yards and averaged 6.6 yards per carry and outscored VMI 28-0 in the second half, as they locked up the Keydets 60-21.

Junior Keydet Quarterback Reece Udinski was 23/34 for 213 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.  Junior Keydet Running Back Alex Ramsey gained 132 yards and scored two touchdowns on 20 carries. Junior Receiver Jakob Herres had 102 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions.

Three Paladins threw passes; in aggregate they were 20/28 for 331 yards and two touchdowns.  Nine Paladins carried the ball for 298 yards over 45 carries.  Junior Running Back Devin Wynn gained 102 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries.

The Keydets had three turn overs and held the ball for 26:50.

Who is favored?

Army is favored by 34.5 points

What to look for?

VMI is the #225 team in the country – very similar to UMass.

The Keydets are an FCS team and they have played one FBC team this year, Marshall, when they lost the season opener 57-17.

The Keydets defense averages 38.2 points, 217.0 yards rushing, 267.4 passing per game.  They have two 300lb defensive linemen, Sophomore Warren Dabney and Freshmen Eric Weaver. Sophomore Defensive Tackle Michael Tomaso weighs in at 285 lbs.  On their depth charts, there is a steep drop off that looks like a Rich Ellerson squad.

VMI has a good offense.  They average 33.3 points and amass 435.2 yards per game.   They do most of their damage through the air as Reese Udinski is 265/409/3 for 2,844 yards and 17 touchdowns.  Alex Ramsey will carry the load as he has rushed for 1,263 yards and 22 touchdowns on the year.

VMI runs the RPO offense and they should be able to move the ball.  Army’s defense has been outstanding when they have been able to match up with the offensive line and pressure the quarterback.  They have been horrible when they have had to send six defenders to pressure the quarterback.

This Saturday will look much like last week. The Cadets will be bigger and faster than the Keydets.  The weather will be sunny and chilly and will really thwart the Keydets passing game.

Army will most likely play as many players as they can on both sides of the ball to rest starters for the big game in Hawaii in two weeks.

Army crushed UMass, but I think the cold will prevent such scoring Saturday.

Final Score – Army 42 – VMI 7 (predictions in 2019, 4-6)

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

Picks from the Ridge (10-2)

Baylor +10 over Oklahoma

Wyoming +6.5 over Utah State

Florida -7 over Missouri

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