Last week , Coach Monken said San Jose was the “turning point” game for the Black Knights. A week before that I said Georgia State was the deciding factor for the rest of the season but truth be told, Army fans--this is it.
It’s not a secret that Army football in 2019 isn’t on the up-an-up and mirroring their 2018 success but that doesn’t dissuade me from believing they have what it takes to meet this Air Force team.
No doubt Air Force is coming into Saturday’s game with a bit of a chip on their shoulder from the past two years and with bowl eligibility already in the bag, they could seem like the obvious contender here. But, that’s only because we have yet to see a complete game from the Black Knights thus far. The past few games we’ve seen injuries, odd second and third-string quarterback combinations and turnover hiccups that aren’t on brand at all.
However, Army is still one of the best performing teams in the country in rushing offense, averaging 263.5 yards per game. The defensive line is still active on the field hold opposing teams to 202.5 passing yards per game on average, in comparison to Air Force with 216.9.
Now, you may think those are strange metrics to stand on and given Army’s whole “play by the numbers” approach, statistics ironically aren’t in Army’s favor thus far in the season but I still think that holds no bar in CiC matchups. Keep in mind during last year’s game of narrow margins, a series of incomplete passes under pressure on the part of DJ Hammond arguably cost the Falcons time and potential points resulting in a back-to-back victory for Army.
Let us not forget how Air Force’s kicker Jake Koehnke was the team’s saving grace against Navy this season. Failing to convert on the third and fourth coupled with a last minute fumbled meant a no-go for the Falcons in the first leg of the CiC race which just goes to show you that literally anything can happen when service academies play each other.
With a possible victory this weekend, Army still has a chance at garnering a bowl game. And no, finishing 11-2 isn’t exactly on the horizons. I’m a numbers girl myself but even I contend that Army is hungry enough to take on the Falcons in Colorado Springs. The Black Knights talent isn’t in question it’s solely the execution which I’m optimistic they’ll solidify and make this series a 3-0 victory.