Scouting Report: Army Hosts Louisiana-Monroe

Army Hosts Louisiana-Monroe

Army limps into this weekend’s contest against Louisiana-Monroe hoping to finally get their season on track. The Black Knights are running out of time to secure bowl eligibility, and Saturday’s contest is virtually a must-win if the Cadets want to get to Shreveport in December. Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing we know about this game.

Army played last week’s game without their five leading rushers, two of which are their top two quarterbacks, their All-American defensive end, and at least three other starters on the offensive line and defense. They still managed to get the win against FCS Colgate but will need the infirmary to clear out a little bit to get their first win of the season against an FBS team at Michie Stadium on Saturday.

Scouting Report: Army Hosts Louisiana-Monroe

Match-Up: Army host Louisiana-Monroe
Time: 12:00 ET
Broadcast: CBS Sports Network (CBSSN)
Current Odds: Army -7, O/U 55.5


ULM is fighting to get their season on track as well. Coached by former Auburn headman Terry Bowden, the WarHawks themselves only have one FBS victory, a 21-17 win over cross-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette. They were outscored a combined 115-17 by Texas and Alabama. Coastal Carolina is the only common opponent for these two teams, and ULM dropped their home game to Coastal 28-21 two weeks ago.

In his weekly press conference, Army head coach Jeff Monken praised ULM’s athleticism.

Warhawks Offense

The ULM offense has been wildly inconsistent this season but has improved each of the last three weeks. Quarterback Chandler Rogers is the leader of the WarHawk offense, with 205 passing yards per game. But ULM would prefer to be a running team; while Rogers has 25 pass attempts per game, the WarHawks average 38 rushes per game. Unfortunately, no ULM back averages more than 48 yards per game. Rogers is second to Malik Jackson (12.71) in rushing attempts per game with 11.86.

Rogers is completing passes at a 70% clip and has played better the last two weeks, but he’ll have to prove to Nate Woody that he can do it again. Tyrone Howell (24 receptions, 505 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns) is their primary receiving threat. Behind him, there isn’t a lot of threat to the WarHawk passing attack.

Look for Army to sandwich Howell with their coverage, turn Andre Carter (if healthy) lose on the pass rush, and put the remainder of the focus on stopping the run.

Warhawks Defense

The Warhawks have struggled on defense, especially in the run game. They’re allowing over 150 yards per game and 4.33 yards per carry to their opponents. And the defensive interior is their weakest spot along the defensive front seven. Expect to see a lot of the inside run game in Michie Stadium on Saturday.

Linebacker Zack Woodard leads the ULM defense and his linebacker teammates Tristan Driggers and Quae Drake have carried the load for the defense so far this season.

The ULM secondary hasn’t fared much better, yielding almost 300 passing yards per game to opponents. It’ll be interesting to see if Army sticks to its identity and the run game, or if they mix in the passing attack as they’ve done on several occasions this season.

Sick Call

The biggest question going into the weekend is the health of the Army team. Monken had no injury updates at his Tuesday press conference, but you would expect Tyhier Tyler, Cade Ballard, Jakobi Buchanan, Tyson Riley, and Andre Carter are all planning on playing. Tyrell Robinson’s injury was more serious and it’s unlikely we’ll see him this week.

Hayden Reed drew praise from Monken on Tuesday, but you need a rotation of B-Backs in this offense, especially when going up against a team that doesn’t defend the interior run game very well. Getting even one of Buchanan or Riley will be big for Army.

And of course, Monken would like to have both of his quarterbacks back as well. Playing two or three quarterbacks isn’t ideal, but Monken has rolled with two every game this season except last week when Jemel Jones took all of the first-team reps against Colgate.

Razor’s Edge

Monken has set a level of expectation at West Point, and that’s a good thing. But Army is close to missing out on a Bowl invitation for this season. The Black Knights have six games remaining, and they’ve got to win five of those games to get to Shreveport. They’ll definitely be underdogs against Air Force in two weeks and probably at Troy the week after. Saturday is absolutely a must-win if you want to keep realistic Bowl Game hopes alive.

The players and coaches know this — can they turn that pressure into momentum for the game?

Poor execution is clearly the stumbling block for this team this season. Will living on a razor’s edge sharpen their execution, or lead to more mistakes?

The Last Word

Army is best when their backs are against the wall. They know the stakes, the situation, and the opportunity that awaits on Saturday. Look for their record to get a little healthier.

Army    42
ULM     31

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