The Army Black Knights (5-3) face a Patriot League – in other sports – foe on Saturday as they welcome the Bucknell Bison (1-8) of the FCS to West Point. Here are the three keys.
By Steve Wright
1 – Beware the trap
There is always a real danger coming off of an emotional win of letting down early in a game. This is especially true if the opponent you next play has a bad record and still more so if said opponent is in a lower division and therefore thought of as inferior. All this being said, the Black Knights should have alarm bells ringing given that Bucknell meets all those criteria in a large way. Beating Air Force and grabbing the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy with one hand – in overtime no less – is hangover inducing. Don’t be at all shocked to see Army start slow here and how quickly Jeff Monken can get his squad out of that funk will be key.
2 – Shut down defense
While the offense could take a while to get going, the defense should be on it from the start. The Bucknell offense simply isn’t very good. They average just 82.3 yards per game on the ground and quarterback Nick Semptimphelter has an amazing name, but he only completes passes at a tick over 51%. The Army defense isn’t going to blow anyone away with sack totals or tackles for a loss, but it is a unit capable of holding this Bucknell attack to less than 17 points if they players are keyed in.
3 – Not a sniff
Playing smart and controlled is what Army does and against inferior opponents, it works wonders. Army won’t turn the ball over much – there isn’t going to be a need to pass in this one – and the penalty count has been low all season. If the right blocks, options, and decisions are taking in the rushing game then this could be one where the Black Knights cruise to 350+ yards rushing even after a slow start.