After a great start to the 2020 season, Army will play its second home game of the year this Saturday, hosting the University of Louisiana Monroe. Kickoff at Michie Stadium at West Point is at 1:30 p.m. EST on CBS Sports Network.
Just like last week, the Black Knights are facing a team that they have never played before in football. This game was added to Army’s slate just a month ago after the coronavirus shuffled up both sides’ schedules. The first-time meeting between Army and ULM was initially reported back in mid-August.
Matthew Miguez, who monitors the Sun Belt closely and covers ULM’s rival, gives us the rundown on what we can expect.
AAE: ULM hasn’t had a winning season since 2012 (then under former Army coach Todd Berry). Why haven’t they been able to find success recently and is Matt Viator on the hot seat?
I think the biggest reason for their lack of success is just how good the rest of the conference has become. Appalachian State joined in 2014 and has absolutely dominated since, Louisiana has been on the rise the last three or so years, Arkansas State is no slouch either — so I think that plays a huge role. To answer the question about Viator, yes, I think he is on the hot seat this year.
AAE: I assume that running back Josh Johnson — who had 11 touchdowns and more than 1,400 yards of offense last season — is ULM’s top play-maker. Is that correct? Who replaces Caleb Evans at QB? Is there anyone else to watch out for on offense?
Josh Johnson is clearly their play-maker. He’s a back with great speed, great pass-catching ability and is very elusive between the tackles. Josh Pederson is another guy to look out for (the son of Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson). He’s a tight end that possesses both the ability to be a blocker as well as make great plays in the passing game.
QB wise, I think your best replacement for Evans is Jeremy Hunt, who’s a 6-3, 215 lbs. JUCO transfer out of Oak Park, Illinois. Hunt’s fast, has a strong pocket presence and I think he’s the best fit into this scheme for Viator. Defensively, Corey Straughter in the secondary will give offenses all they want and then some.
AAE: In the Sun Belt, ULM faces a triple-option style offense often in Georgia Southern, and are 1-4 against the Eagles since 2014. How do you think ULM will fare against Army’s offensive attack?
Triple-option teams are hard to play against because it’s so difficult to prepare, especially when you run the option in different formations like Georgia Southern. I think Army will take advantage of ULM’s struggles against the option this weekend.
AAE: What’s your prediction for the game?
Army wins, 35-14.