Cincinnati vs. Army will be the first game between ranked teams at Nippert Stadium this year.
The season opener resulted in a quick dispatching of Austin Peay. In their second game, the Bearcats are gearing up for a tougher opponent in Army. This game will not only be a test for Cincinnati, but for Army as well.
The Black Knights entered this week as a ranked team for the first time this season after going 2-0. However, their opposition has been pedestrian so far. This will be the toughest game so far this season for both teams.
Cincinnati vs. Army Preview
Army was 5-8 last season but looks like they have made progress this season. Though they are only 2-0, they have won both of their games decisively. Cincinnati is a 14-point favorite over Army, but they still need to operate at their best, especially on defense.
If Austin Peay’s passing attack was going to be a non-factor in the opener, then Army’s is even more so. Starting quarterback Christian Anderson only has two completions on seven attempts for 28 yards. Jemel Jones only has one completion on two attempts and leads the team with 29 passing yards. Army typically neglects the passing game, but so far it has been more absent than usual.
As with a normal triple-option offense from a service academy, the quarterback is the biggest threat to run. Anderson has the most carries, with 31. He averages 4.8 yards per run but has three touchdowns on the ground. Running backs Sandon McCoy and Jakobi Buchanan have combined for 45 carries, 236 yards, and six touchdowns.
13 Knights have at least one rushing attempt, as the whole team collected 779 yards, 6.1 yards per attempt, and 10 rushing touchdowns. For reference, Cincinnati had 276 rushing yards against the Governors, which is over one hundred fewer than Army’s average per game. Army’s low this season is 340 yards against Middle Tennessee State.
Given the nature of the offense Army runs, the Bearcats front seven are going to battle the entire game.
While the defensive line is deep, the linebacker unit is the most inexperienced on the team. Army is going to try to exploit the linebackers and try to catch them out of position. Though Anderson is the team leader in carries, he is going to pitch a lot more against the Bearcats to try and target the young linebackers.
On defense, Army has shown no weaknesses so far. They have only given up 2.5 yards per rush and 5.4 yards per pass. They haven’t faced an offense like Cincinnati’s, though, so it’s difficult to predict how that matchup will go.
The key for Cincinnati offensively will be to protect the football. Army already has a plus-six turnover differential through two games. Cincinnati has four fumbles against Austin Peay, though they only lost one. Army has three fumble recoveries in their two games, along with three interceptions.
With Army’s ability to eat up the time of possession, Cincinnati can’t afford to give them any free possessions.