Army looked great in a 43-10 victory over a better than you think Georgia State squad in Week 1. Now the Black Knights welcome the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to West Point after their own Week 1 victory over Tennessee-Martin. Here are the three keys:
1 – Stop Bailey Zappe
Looking at the box score from the Hilltoppers win over the Skyhawks it is the play of graduate transfer quarterback Bailey Zappe that stands out. Zappe – who had the highest single-game efficiency rating for an FBS quarterback since Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma in the contest – was 38-of-35 for 424 yards with one interception and a ridiculous SEVEN touchdowns. Eleven different players caught passes, seven different players scored touchdowns, and the Western Kentucky passing attack was simply immense. Stopping Zappe has to be the first order of business.
2 – Control clock
One way of stopping Zappe is to not let him have the ball. The Hilltoppers running game was nothing special in Week 1 and that could be an issue if Army is able to use the triple-option to sustain drives and if the defense can step up and force three and outs. Army had the ball for over 43 minutes against Georgia State and only went for 258 rushing yards. It was the third and fourth down efficiency where the Black Knights were a combined 13-for-19 that really kept the Georgia State offense off of the field.
3 – No turnovers
Army lost zero fumbles and zero interceptions against Georgia State while picking up one of each on defense. The Hilltoppers also picked up a pair of turnovers, but there was an interception thrown too. Western Kentucky faced a total of six third downs – this is a tempo team that likes to move the chains on every play – and that will give Army the chance to pick off passes. If the offense holds up and doesn’t turn it over, then Army will move to 2-0 on the season.