We’re into the last game of Army’s three game home stand this week. The Black Knights host the RedHawks of Miami-Ohio. This team features a big, talented O-Line, a good looking pass rush, and a big-armed quarterback with a decent number of weapons he can hit down the field.
Army should win this game, but it will not be easy. Expect a close, hard-fought contest.
Keys to Victory
We’ve got three Keys again this week.
1. Stop the Run
Miami’s biggest issue this season has been sustaining offense. QB Brett Gabbert has a big arm and a bunch of big pass catchers, but he is not the most accurate dude in all of college football. Miami compensates by running the ball — a lot. In fact, they run about twice as often as they throw.
The RedHawks have been good on the ground this year, but they are nowhere near great. They are averaging 4.5 yards/carry but have scored just 5 rushing touchdowns. With that, the RedHawks are converting just 39.5% of their 3rd downs. That ties them for 74th overall in the FBS.
If Army can stop the run, they’ve got a good chance of getting Miami reliably into 3rd-and-long situations. The RedHawks will probably convert some of those based on the talent of the receivers and tight ends, but that’s still a tough way to sustain drives.
2. Don’t Give Up Long Passing Touchdowns
The Black Knights are allowing 224.3 yards/game passing, good for 76th overall in the FBS. That’s not disastrous, but it equates to 13.2 yards/catch and 7.8 yards/attempt. That’s not great — at all.
Gabbert is not going to beat anybody with his accuracy from the pocket. We know this. He’s a good runner, and he has good receivers, but he’s nowhere near accurate enough to drive the length of the field with quick outs ala Tom Brady.
Army can afford to give up quick outs. What they can’t afford to give up is homerun balls that change the score.
3. Use Misdirection to Get Outside
The RedHawks have a beefy D-Line, but they have just one experienced linebacker. After that, they have to bring up their safeties in run support. This makes them susceptible to misdirection running plays, even simple read-option plays out of a standard spread set. As an example, the RedHawks did a nice job containing Minnesota’s inside running game on dives up the middle. However, they got absolutely gashed by read-option runs that took the back outside against both Minnesota and Cincinnati.
Army should be able to make that work. However, hammering away with the Fullback Dive right up the middle might not get it done. We’re probably going to need to see the full complement of plays from the flexbone offense.