A miserable day for Army saw the Black Knights (1-3) fall to Georgia State last weekend. On Saturday, they face the No. 15 team in the country as they take on Wake Forest (4-1) in Salem, North Carolina.
By Steve Wright
Here are the three keys to an Army victory:
A Better Start
The start last weekend was brutal. Nothing went right on offense, and the defense seemed slow and sluggish in reacting to whatever the Panthers did. A game that Army was expected to win got out of hand early, with Georgia State jumping out to a 17-0 lead. Army had the ball on the Georgia State goalline in the fourth quarter with the chance of taking a 21-17 lead, but a couple of mistakes with blocking assignments (and footing) saw that threat repelled. Army had to do so much work to get to that point that they had nothing left in the tank. A slow start again on Saturday will be punished, and this one will be over by the half.
Shorten The Game
This game went silly last year. Army scored 56 points and still lost by 14 as Wake scored 70. That is not the type of game that Army wants to be in, as it is not a game that the Black Knights will typically win. Army needs to establish ground control and establish tempo. Wake is a vastly experienced team – quarterback Sam Hartman has 87 touchdowns for his career which is the active leader in the NCAA, and he has seen it all – so Army needs to take the ball away from the offense by not letting them on the field.
Plus 2 Or Better In Turnovers
Wake is the better team here. Army is not as good offensively as it was last year. Some of that is down to graduations, but much is because of injuries on the offensive line that have disrupted the Army blocking scheme. The triple option relies on timing and chemistry. When that is altered, it is much harder for Army to win. With that in mind, the Black Knights need plus field position and the bounces of the ball to go their way. If they can get Wake into turnover trouble, this team can pull off an upset.