We’ve got a BIG matchup this weekend, and the good news is that the Army Team is coming in hot off a bye week that they desperately needed. The team ought to hit the field primed, rested, and ready to roll.
Here’s how they win.
We caught up @CoachJeffMonken, Andre Carter and Tyrell Robinson after last night's practice. The Black Knights are getting prepared to take on Wisconsin on Saturday night on the Big Ten Network at 8 PM EST. #GoArmy | #LastoftheHard pic.twitter.com/8ARkGWIH17— Army Football (@ArmyWP_Football) October 14, 2021
Keys to Victory: Wisconsin
A whopping *five* Keys to Victory this week.
1. Win with the Fullback Dive
Here’s the thing. Power 5 teams never see the Fullback Dive. In fact, they almost never see plays that start under center. Most of college football offense — and virtually all of the Power 5 — runs out of the shotgun. This gives quarterbacks a chance to scan the defense pre-snap, and it also gives them a little more time to react to a heavy pass-rush. The downside of that, though, is that running plays out of the shotgun mostly start 5 to 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage. They take time to develop, and when you’re playing defense against that kind of running game, you still want to get upfield and attack — either the running back or the quarterback, it doesn’t matter. Penetration is key. Moreover, the ability to get upfield and attack will get you drafted.
But. The Fullback Dive hits different. It starts at most 1 yard behind the line of scrimmage and immediately after the snap. When it’s working right, the fullback will have gained 3 to 4 yards against even big, powerful defenses while those same players are trying to get upfield, often overrunning the play. This is one of the main reasons why Army tends to have success with its fullbacks in these big Power 5 match-ups. Power 5 defenses are trained from jump to overrun the play, and they’re incentivized to get good at it by the potential of being drafted.
Army is going to have to make this work, especially early. Most defenses take some time to adjust to the speed and power of the Fullback Dive in a real game. It’s not like practice. No one is cutting their massive Power 5 linemen in practice. But if Army can move the ball and put the Badgers on their back foot early, it’ll set the tone for the rest of the contest. Remember, this team is 2-3. They are at least as worried about losing this game as any Army fan is.
2. Force Mistakes
As we noted on the show this week, Wisconsin is averaging 2 turnovers per game. Meanwhile, Army has a ball-hawking defense that turns opponents over regularly. I read a preview just this week that expected the Badgers to exploit Army’s undersized, relatively untalented secondary.
Boy, are those bastards in for a surprise.
Reality is that the Black Knights have the nation’s sack leader, and they force interceptions and fumbles routinely, to the point that they are still +3 on turnovers this season, even after last game’s two-interception fiasco.
QB Graham Mertz has not been good, friends. He’s thrown just 2 touchdowns against 7 interceptions this year, and he’s been sacked 7 times as well. Army needs to get in his face and in his head, and with that, we ought to see more of what he’s been doing all year.
3. Stop the Run
Obviously, right? Army and Wisconsin both run the same general gameplan if not the same actual offensive style. Whoever runs the ball and stops the run is going to win. Wisconsin has the best rushing defense in the nation, allowing just 41.4 yards/game and 1.4 yards/carry.
Friends, Army’s defense currently sits at #3 overall, allowing 54.0 yards/game and 2.4 yards/carry. This match-up is strength against strength.
4. Take Advantage on a Short Field
Assuming Army can force some mistakes, the Black Knights then have to cash in for at least some touchdowns. Look, this is not going to be a high-scoring game. Whatever else happens, we’re expecting a lot of punts. The Black Knights need to take advantage of their opportunities, force the issue, and get Wisconsin out of their comfort zone. If turnovers come, touchdowns have to follow.
This Badger team has not been good down the stretch, and — importantly — they’ve lost a lot of big contests. They have to be worried about the upset, even if they haven’t said anything aloud in the locker room. You just know they’re thinking about it. How could they not be?
But that kind of thing can be poisonous, especially on a big stage.
The Black Knights have a real opportunity here. They need to take advantage.
5. Buy a Uniform Flag
Okay, this one doesn’t actually have anything to do with this particular game. However, As For Football is proud to announce a new title sponsor, Uniform Flag. And we know our audience. Y’all need to go buy yourselves a bunch of uniform flags, time now. Seriously.
Uniform Flag offers hand-dyed American flags made from donated U.S. military uniforms. These are 11” x 14” flags that allow you to carry true American spirit into your home or business. Every uniform flag is dyed, sewn, framed, and shipped by a small-and-mighty team of veterans in Columbus, Ohio.
Friends, Uniform Flag is donating *100%* of their profits to help support veterans in need through the Army Ranger Lead the Way Fund. Get behind that.
So why do you need a uniform flag?
Because it reminds the people who work for you just exactly who the Hell you are. Get yours today, and help both AFF and veterans in need. No, really, go do that right now.
Go Army! Beat Wisconsin!!!
*Cover image via @ArmyWP_Football on Twitter.