Well it’s here. The granddaddy of them all. The greatest rivalry in all of sports. And the only thing we have left to save our season. Here are the Keys to Victory, so the Army faithful have something to carry them through the grey period.
— ArmyWestPoint Sports (@GoArmyWestPoint) December 12, 2019
1. Run the Damn ball
This one goes without saying. Army put up 411 yards rushing against Hawai’i. Those are great numbers against a team that had only allowed 18 points in its last two games.
If we want to beat the Mids this weekend, we need to run the damn ball. Navy knows the triple option and they know that we like to run the fullback. It won’t come as a surprise. However, compared to most teams we’ve faced this season, the Mids’ defense is undersized. But they are aggressive and have good team speed.
Army needs a solid push from the O-line to help establish the Fullback Dive early, so we can get our slotbacks out in space for big yardage. The key is to make the ground game the cornerstone of our offensive attack. Throwing occasionally is fine, but we need to pound these guys as much as possible.
2. Spy the Quarterback
Navy QB Malcolm Perry is easily their best, most — and sometimes only — explosive player. He accounts for close to 40% of both their touchdowns and their rushing yardage. When he gets in space, he can be deadly.
Navy likes to run to the outside and use the pitch play. Some teams this season, notably Notre Dame, covered that exceptionally well, and in those cases, Navy has been unable to get anything going. Chances are that where Perry goes, the play will go. Coach Ken isn’t going to let his most explosive player take a seat during arguably the biggest game of his career, and anyway, Perry himself isn’t always great about making reads or handing the ball off.
Keep an eye on the quarterback and string out the pitch, and we should be fine on defense.
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) December 12, 2019
3. Tackle in Open Field
As I said, Malcolm Perry is Navy’s most explosive player by far. The Mids rebuild their entire offense around him and now run plays designed to get him and their slot backs with the ball in space.
Covering the Speed Option is meaningless if we can’t tackle. The Army defense has struggled some this season making tackles in critical moments. That needs to stop this Saturday. If Army can stop the Speed Option and make good tackles, they can win this game.
IMPORTANT GAME DAY NOTICE:
Tailgate flares will go off at 1 pm and 2 pm at @LFFStadium on Saturday.
There will be heightened security at the gates, so beat the lines and head inside early! pic.twitter.com/bmUn3OtgxP
— Army-Navy Game (@ArmyNavyGame) December 12, 2019
4. Don’t be stupid
Navy sucks, they really do. Not their football team, but their people.
This is a passionate rivalry and there is a lot on the line. Navy wants to break our three-game streak while our whole season rides on this game. The last five games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
This will be a game of inches, and every inch counts. No false starts, no penalties. It’s entirely possible that the team who has the ball last will win. Army cannot afford to put itself in a bad position because of penalties. That would be a bad ways to lose a critical contest.
5. Bet On Black
This last note is really a Key for fans, but as we noted in the preview article, the line on this game opened at Army (+9) and has since slid all the way to Army (+11). The Over/Under sits at 40.5.
Folks, this game has gone Under 13 straight times, and it’s been a one-score contest in seven of the last eight seasons. I’m not gonna tell you what to do with that information, but there’s an obvious trend, and Vegas hasn’t seen it.
— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) December 9, 2019
That’s all I can say. The game is at 3pm Eastern on CBS. Temperatures should be in the 50s at kickoff with plenty of rain. If you’re going to the game, look out for the AFF crew walking around, especially in the tailgate area. If you’re staying home, enjoy the warmth and free beer.
I love this game, but man do I hate Navy.
Go Army! Beat Navy!!!
* Cover image via West Point Flickr.