Key Matchups: Army vs. Miami (Ohio)

Army cheerleaders

The seventh game of the year matches Army West Point Black Knights (4-2,Sagarin 36) and the Mid Atlantic Conference East Miami Ohio Redhawks (3-4,3-1, Sagarin 97).  The Redhawks lead the series 3-2 and have won the past three meetings.  The last time these teams played was in 2011, when Miami Ohio prevailed 35-28. 

Miami enters the game vying for the MAC East division championship and a place in the MAC Championship.  Next week, they will play Buffalo in what will amount to the Division championship.  They have won three out of their last four and have separated themselves among the class in the conference.  Army is on a roll after playing three straight games on the road.  They have won two straight and four out of five games.  Army is getting votes in Coaches Poll and this team is making strides to be one of the better Army teams in the past 40 years.

Last Week

In Santa Clara, CA

Army’s defense forced four turn-overs and limited the Spartans to 171 total yards as the Black Knights scored 52 unanswered points to prevail 52-3 on a bright and sunny California day.

The Spartans, in conservative fashion, moved the ball on their second drive of the game, but penalties and a James Nachtigal sack forced a 49 yard field goal.  San Jose was able to keep the ball on the ground and away from Army for much of the first half.  After Army began the second half with a 75 yard touchdown drive, San Jose St. trailed 21-3 and tried to open up their offense.  But the wheels came off the cart and Army forced four straight turn-overs.  What was a competitive game, turned into a blowout.  Army allowed 36 yards rushing on 30 attempts.  Backup quarterback Montel Aaron was 12/17 for 118 yards.  Natchtigal had eight tackles, three sacks, three tackles for losses and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.  Cole Christiansen had eight tackles and Cameron Jones had seven tackles and a sack.  The defensive line was stout, the defensive backs had very good coverage throughout the day and were not beaten long.   Once again Bateman had an assortment of blitz packages and the Spartan offense was completely confused.  This was one of the better defensive performances that Army has had in a decade.

The Army offense had 395 yards total offense and held the ball for 37 minutes.  The Spartans offensive line was tough, and Army gained most of their yards in the first half on center line options; which opened holes for the slotbacks.  Short fields in the second half created shorter drives and Army only ran 70 plays.  Kelvin Hopkins ran for 99 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.  Cam Thomas had 74 yards and a touchdown on seven carries and Kell Walker gained 34 yards on seven carries.  Woolfolk had 46 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.  Hopkins was 2/5 passing for 54 yards and a touchdown.  He hit Ashberry for a 41 touchdown pass in the second quarter.

 

Army Special Teams limited a very capable Thai Coltrell 73 yards on four returns.  John Abercrombe kicked a 33 yard field goal.

Overall, the Army team looked very well prepared and practiced – they are a great representation of USMA.

In Oxford, OH

The RedHawks (3-4,3-1) gained 504 yards in total offense and held the ball for 39 minutes as they easily outmatched the Kent State Golden Flashes (1-6,0-3).

Kenny Young led the RedHawk rushing attack with 90 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.  He was also the leading receiver with 47 yards on three receptions.  Gus Ragland was 16/24 for one touchdown.  He also rushed seven times for 22 yards and another touchdown.

The Miami Ohio defense limited the Golden Flashes to 274 total yards.  They allowed 125 yards rushing on 31 attempts.  Sterling Weatherford had an interception for the RedHawks.  Defensive Lineman Ben Kimpler lead defenders with six tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss.

Who is favored?

Army is favored by 8 points.

What to look for?

The RedHawk defense is averaging 24 points a game.  They average 350 yards per game, 124 rushing (3.3 yards/attempt) and 226 passing.  They have forced 10 fumbles and recovered six and have five interceptions.

The Cadet offense is averaging 32 points per game.  They average 452 yards per game, 314 rushing (4.8 yards/attempt) and 101 passing.  Army has fumbled five times and lost possession twice, which is the most tangible improvement in the offense. Hopkins threw two interceptions at Oklahoma.

The Army defense is averaging 18 points a game.  They are averaging 323 yards total offense, 111 rushing and 212 passing.  They have forced and recovered seven fumbles and have three interceptions.

The RedHawk offense is averaging 26 points per game.  Their average total offense is 360 yards per game, 155 rushing and 205 passing.  They have fumbled nine times on the year and have lost possession four times.  The RedHawks have scored 25/26 times in the red zone, 19 of those were touchdowns.

The RedHawks are led by Redshirt Senior Gus Ragland.  He is a good quarterback who has completed 130/211 (62%) and has 10 touchdowns and only three interceptions.  Alonzo Smith is their main running back who has gained 353 yards on 72 attempts and has two touchdowns.  Kenny Young is more of a halfback who is smaller and fast, he is a threat carrying the ball and catching out of the backfield.  He is the dynamic player in their offense and the Cadets must keep an eye on him.  He has gained 212 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries and has caught 24 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns.  Jack Sorenson is their main receiver.  He is not big, but fast with good hands.  He has caught 27 passes this year for 424 yards and two touchdowns.

Miami Ohio is a decent football team.  They will most likely go to a bowl game and they may play for the MAC championship if they can win at Buffalo next week.  I don’t think they are as good as the Bulls however and they have not beaten a team with a winning record. Comparatively, other than San Jose State, each team that Army played was undefeated at the time.

I think that the Army defense is getting better each week and they should limit the RedHawks to 250 yards and 14 points.  I think that the Army offense will not roll over Miami, but they will be effective.  I anticipate 400 total yards and 35 minutes of possession.  If the Black Knights do not lose the turn-over battle, they should win comfortably.

Final Score – Army 31 – Miami Ohio 14 (predictions in 2018, 5-1)

This game will be shown on CBSSTV @ 12:00 PM EDT

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