The 4-2 Black Knights crushed San Jose State 52-3 last Saturday in one of the most dominant wins of the Jeff Monken era. Next up Army faces Miami (Ohio).
Here are the three keys:
Dominate on the ground
The San Jose State game was a perfect example of what Army wants to do on offense to control a game. The Black Knights won the time of possession by holding the call for over 37 minutes, they were a perfect zero in the turnover column, and they were 13-of-19 combined on third and fourth down.
When Army plays offense like that the end result is that the Black Knights rushed for 341 yards at over five yards per carry.
Offensive efficiency is a big deal for Army and if they can be efficient against Miami then they will win. Thirteen players had at least one carry against San Jose State, yet no one player rushed for more than 100 yards. Spreading the ball around is important to dominating on the ground. Look for Army to get everyone involved again this week.
Effectively replace Fred Cooper
The Black Knights will be facing the RedHawks without a starting player. Cooper – who did not travel to San Jose last weekend – has been indefinitely suspended from the team due to his attitude and effort.
It is hard to tell exactly what impact this will have on Army other than it is never good to lose a player for reasons such as this in the middle of the year. Cooper led the team in yards per rush at the time of his suspension, going for 6.5 yards per carry. His biggest day came against Liberty when he rushed for a career-high 81 yards.
It is telling though that after that explosion Cooper was given just seven carries over the course of his next three starts. Monken cannot have been happy with what he was getting out of his slotback in practice or in attitude, so he sent this message that no player is bigger than the team.
Slow down Miami
The RedHawks are not a school used to scoring a lot of points. Yet in their last four games they have scored 149 points and gone over 30 points in each contest. This is the first such streak for the school in over a decade, and at that point they had a guy by the name of Ben Roethlisberger playing at quarterback.
They have put this run together with some unexpected contributors given that the RedHawks have lost a few guys to injury over the course of the year. Wide receiver Jack Sorenson, for example, has stepped up to make 27 catches for 424 yards in the wake of All-MAC pass catcher James Gardner suffering an injury against Minnesota. This is an offense with no egos, just production.
It is also a balanced attack, so look for Army to try to take away either the run or the pass and make the RedHawks win with a one dimensional offense.