The Army Black Knights (7-3) face a dangerous Liberty Flames (7-4) squad in their last matchup before facing Nay in December. Here are the three keys to an Army victory:
By Steve Wright
1 – Turn it back on
The Bucknell win came from a dominant first half and a sleepwalk of a second half. That lack of focus bled into the UMass game, a team 1-9 at kickoff that was trailing the Black Knights 19-17 early in the fourth quarter. There was no reason for the UMass game to be close, but Army wasn’t able to turn things back on after cruising against Bucknell. The Black Knights score 14 straight late in the game to put it away, but against an offense like the one Liberty has the Black Knights will be out of the game quickly without better intensity and effort.
2 – Turn Liberty over
Army turned UMass over four times last weekend, needed all of them to make the game safe. Liberty, on the other hand, was busy giving their game away against Louisiana-Lafayette, turning over the ball a nonsensical six times. Both of these stats feel like outliers, but Liberty was able to move for almost 300 yards of total offense despite serious turnover issues. Army hasn’t been great at forcing turnovers, but they should be able to do so here.
3 – Control the flow
Army rushed for 377 yards at 5.9 yards per carry against UMass. They next face a Liberty defense that gives up a respectable (47th in the country) 134.0 yards per game on the ground. The interesting battle here, however, will be on third down. Army converts at a 48.2% click which is good for 10th in the country, while the Flames are excellent defensively on third down and allow conversions at a rate of just 32.5%, which is 15th best in the nation. Army gets a ton of third and short situations because of the offensive style and controlling the flow of the game by converting third downs will be huge.