Scouting Report: Army Travels to Troy

Disappointment. That was the word Army Head Coach Jeff Monken used most often in the moments after last week’s loss to Air Force. And that’s a recurring theme for the Army Black Knights this season. After all of the disappointments — giving a home game away against UTSA, coming off of a bye week flat against Georgia State, and producing ten total yards of offense in the second half against Air Force — Army finds itself on the verge of missing a bowl for only the second time in seven seasons.

Army travels to Troy, Alabama on Saturday to take on the Trojans. At 7-2, Troy is leading the Sun Belt West Division. This will be the fourth Sun Belt team that Army faces in 2022, having lost two of the previous three against Sun Belt opponents.

Army must win its four final games to reach bowl eligibility, and Troy is, without a doubt, the toughest of those four opponents. A win in Alabama could spark an inspired late-season run for the cadets. A loss yields yet another disappointment for the 2022 Army campaign.

Scouting Report: Army at Troy

Match-Up: Army at Troy
Time: 3:30 ET
Broadcast: NFL Network
Current Odds: Troy -9, O/U 46


While a 7-2 record is nothing to scoff at, Troy has gotten there in about the hardest way possible. In the Trojans’ six FBS wins, they only have one win by more than nine points. They’ve won mostly by being a well-rounded team with a stingy defense. While Troy is only scoring 22 points per game, they’re also only allowing 17 points a game.


It will be yet another test for an Army rushing attack that is uncharacteristically sputtering this season. Army has rushed for 225 yards or less in four games this season. It’s no stretch to say that Army’s bowl game hopes depend largely on the ability to finally establish an inside rushing attack against Troy.

Trojans Offense

While the Trojans don’t have an explosive offense, they rely on the short passing game to keep the chains moving. Quarterback Gunnar Watson will test the Black Knight secondary all day. Watson is averaging over 32 pass attempts in full games played this season.

The Trojans’ rushing attack is a two-headed monster with DK Billingsley and Kimani Vidal taking over 86% of the team’s designed rushing attempts on the season. The backs are very similar to one another, both under 5’11” and around the 220-pound mark. The Trojans average just under 25 called rushes per game and just under 100 yards.

The good news for Army is that there are opportunities on the defensive side. Watson is not a threat to run; he has not recorded a positive-yardage rush game yet this season. Watson has also thrown as many interceptions (eight) this season as he has touchdowns. And Troy is losing the turnover margin battle on the season. This is a game tailor-made for Andre Carter and his pass-rushing abilities.

Trojans Defense

Troy’s defense is quietly having a terrific season. The Trojans are eighth nationally in scoring defense and 25th nationally in overall defense.

Sophomore Defensive End T.J. Jackson is a wrecking ball from his defensive end position. Jackson is eighth nationally with 13.5 tackles-for-loss (TFLs) and 25th nationally in sacks with six-and-a-half. Jackson isn’t Troy’s only playmaker. Junior Richard Jibunor plays their Bandit position (hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker) and has seven TFLs and five sacks. Expect Troy to move Jibunor all over the field to dictate defensive matchups against Army’s option attack, especially when Army moves into an unbalanced line formation.

But Troy’s most important player on Saturday might be senior middle linebacker, Carlton Martial. Martial will be responsible for plugging up the middle and stopping Jakobi Buchanan and Tyson Riley from getting those crucial third-and-short conversions. Martial is a tackling machine, with almost 30% more tackles than the next-highest tackler on Troy’s defense.

Tighten up the straps, it’ll be another stiff test for Army’s offense.

On The Edge

Army had one outside run last week against Air Force. One. The best way to neutralize an aggressive defensive end is to make him think and then react off of his decision. Army’s basic offensive philosophy matches up well against Troy’s strength – if it can stick to its identity and execute well. Army must get Ay’Juan Marshall and Braheam Murphy going on the outside. Marshall and Murphy haven’t been able to get going in the absence of Markel Johnson.

Patience on Defense

Army’s defense, especially its linebackers, must be patient on defense. Troy will dink and dunk the passing attack all day. The Black Knights have to ensure they keep Troy’s rushing attack in check and bet that they can do enough against the Trojans’ passing attack to get a turnover or two or a couple of red zone stops. Look for Carter to tee off from the boundary side of the offense on almost every play and let the field side of the defense worry about the flat and short passing game.

The Last Word

It’s time for Army to turn disappointment into redemption. Army’s bowl hopes are hanging by a thread, and they must have a win this Saturday to stay alive. Army matches up well against Troy, both athletically and schematically.

You have to think that Troy is focused on their Sun Belt West race and not looking forward to facing an option attack this late in the season with two Division games, albeit against lesser teams, remaining in the last two weeks of the season.

Army sneaks up on Troy and ignites a late-season spark.

Army             31
Troy               24