The Air Force Falcons travel to West Point Saturday to take on the Army Black Knights as they seek to win the coveted Commander-in-Chief trophy for the 20th time. Air Force leads the all-time series 35-14-1, but this is an improved Army football team. In an attempt to find out more about Army, we headed over to Underdog Dynasty to speak with Jake Schmied about the Black Knights.
(MWC) What has been the key for the Army turnaround this season?
(Jake Schmied): The key for Army this season has been the rushing game. The Black Knights rank second nationally in terms of rushing yards and have scored an eye-popping 28 touchdowns. Andy Davidson, a former linebacker, has grown accustomed to his new role as the Black Knights' primary back. He averages 5.4 yards per carry and has accumulated 7 touchdowns. Aside from Davidson, Army has had a successful season because of the slotback depth. Coach Jeff Monken likes to use Jordan Asberry and Tyler Campbell in short pass situations. Although Asberry has scored 3 touchdowns, he is effective in short yardage situations; he averages 6.5 yards. Campbell is utilized in the long-run; he averages over 9 yards per carry.
(MWC) Who are some of the key players on both offense and defense for Army?
(Jake Schmied): As I mentioned above, Davidson is a key asset for Army on offense. In addition to Davidson, quarterbacks Ahmad Bradshaw and Chris Carter are dual-threat signal callers. Bradshaw, the usual starter, threw more passes in last week's win over Wake, than in any other game (145 passing yards, TD). Carter had some playing time, but only attempted one pass against the Demon Deacons. However, Carter is fast and always has enough time in the pocket to throw. On defense, Alex Aukerman and Rhyan England lead an Army secondary that ranks in the top 25 in passing defense. Aukerman has accumulated 23 tackles this season, the third-most on the team. England has assisted on 20 tackles this season and is skilled at reading the opposing quarterback.
(MWC) What is the confidence level for Army going into the game with Air Force?
(Jake Schmied): Army's enthusiastic about playing another military school for the Commander In-Chief's Trophy. Coach Monken emphasized changing some triple option sets in regards to slowing down Air Force's running game. They are in the top 10 for rushing, as well (number four nationally). Army needs to be more confident when passing. Air Force's defense ranks in the top ten sacks nationally. This is thanks to Ryan Watson, who has accumulated 9 sacks.
(MWC) What is your prediction on how the game will go and the final outcome?
(Jake Schmied): Bradshaw and Carter will have to adjust to Watson and the Falcon's excellent defensive line. They constantly pressure the opposing quarterback. Their secondary is skilled as well. They picked off Fresno State 4 times last week. Army receivers Edgar Poe and Jeff Ejekam will have to deal with a tough Air Force secondary. Air Force will win the defensive battle, but Army's rushing game will dominate the game. As I mentioned before, Army's depth at the slotback position has been key in winning close games like Wake last week. Nonetheless, this match-up should prove to be an intriguing one, as a win could guarantee bowl eligibility for both Army and Air Force.
Thanks to Jake Schmied for taking the time to give us some info on Army and if you are interested in all things Army and the rest of the non-Power Five football teams, head on over to Underdog Dynasty for all the info.