Army moved to 8-2 on the season last weekend with a comfortable 31-13 win over Lafayette. It was a game that Army expected to win comfortably and that is how it played out as Army never trailed. The Black Knights take on another familiar foe from other sports next, facing Patriot League power Colgate.
Here are the three keys:
Channel the disappointment from last week
Army head coach Jeff Monken was not happy about the Black Knights performance last time out against Lafayette. Entering the game as a 45-point favorite, Army didn’t get close to covering the spread as it won by 18 points.
This is an easy thing to do when playing an FCS team, overlooking the basics and not executing properly. That poor level of execution resulted in ball control issues, early penalties, and a fourth quarter the Black Knights would rather forget.
Army is on the verge of a top 25 ranking, but that could all end if the Black Knights play with the same attitude this weekend against the No. 6 ranked team in the FCS. Channeling the disappointment into a better performance will be needed against a Colgate team that is 9-0 on the season and looking for a massive scalp before the FCS Playoffs.
Obviously it goes without saying that scoring is an important factor in any football game. In this game, though, it is extra important given that Colgate is simply not used to being scored on at all.
The Raiders have given up just 29 points on the entire season. They have played in five games (including against Lafayette earlier in the season) where they have shut out the opposition. No matter the standard of play or the teams that you face on a week by week basis, giving up 29 points over the span of nine games is unheard of.
Army has to play better than it did a week ago to win this game. The Black Knights also need to score early to show that Colgate can be scored on. The longer the game goes without Army scoring, the more confidence the Colgate defense will play with. That is a scenario that Monken would love to avoid.
This would also shake a Colgate squad that has outscored its opponents 195-9 in first halves this season.
Win the turnover battle
Colgate is good enough to stick around against Army. This is especially true if the Black Knights get sloppy with the football, giving it up and granting Colgate plus field position in the process.
The triple-option has been devastating for Army in 2018, but a botch handoff or pitch here will cause Army problems that the Black Knights don’t need as they look to break into the top 25.
Given that Colgate gives up so few points, it would be a huge help to the offense if Army could start a couple of drives on the Raiders side of the field. A timely takeaway or two would allow the option to go work and set the Army running game up to succeed.