Army played better this week than in the opener but eventually, the UTSA offense proved too powerful as the Black Knights fell to the Roadrunners in overtime. Next up for Army is a dangerous matchup against a ranked FBS squad in Villanova.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys to a win over Villanova.
Back to Basics on Offense
The Army offense is in a weird spot right now. This is supposed to be a team that runs the ball whenever it wants to, but the tripele-options hasn’t been running at its usual, efficient pace.
The running game that is always in the top five nationally is currently No. 46 in the counry and averaging 190.5 yards per game. The passing offense – which is usually an afterthought – is the most efficient in the country as army has completed 17 passes for almost 450 yards and four scores. The passing diversity is nice, but Army must run the ball better.
Rushing Defense Needs to Tighten Up
The Army defense has just been bad on the whole so far this season. It is on the ground, however, that Army has had its biggest problems. Through a combination of missed tackles and blown assignments, Army is giving up 4.7 yards per carry and over 200 rushing yards per game. This is a terrible stat for a team that wins by controlling the time of possession as the Army defense cannot get off of the field right now. That could be an issue again against the No. 7 team in the FBS in the Wildcats.
Stop Dee Wil Barlee
It is interesting that Army’s biggest issue is stopping the run as they are coming up against a big play waiting to happen in Dee Wil Barlee. Barlee has rushed for a ridiculous 8.1 yards per carry through two games – admittedly against Lehigh and Long Island – as his 28 carries have gone for 228 yards and two touchdowns. This is part of a wider Villanova rushing game that has six touchdowns and 528 yards through two games. Army will need to be much more assignment sound – and play with greater physicality up front – to stop the ‘Nova ground game.