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Preview, How to Watch: Army faces No. 16 Wake Forest to Michie Stadium

It’s a big game with Wake Forest’s undefeated streak and Army’s 13-game home win streak on the line. Who will prevail?

NCAA Football: Army at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

For a non-service academy, Army seems to play Wake Forest quite a bit. The two teams have met 17 times, with the Demon Deacons leading the series 11-5. However, Army has the most recent win, a 21-13 win in 2016.

However, neither team is the same as it was five years ago. Wake Forest is entering its third straight week as a ranked team in 2021, and are enjoying their first 4-0 ACC start in program history. The Black Knights stand at 4-2 following their road losses at Ball State and Wisconsin, separated by a bye week.

Offense

Army has a lot to be proud of with two long scoring drives to make a thrilling a competitive 20-14 game against Wisconsin. But this week the Black Knights will need to get on the board early and often to keep up with a Wake Forest offense that is averaging 38.7 points per game. Conversely, Army is averaging 31.

The Demon Deacons rely on QB Sam Hartman at the helm. Hartman is coming off his second game throwing for over 300 yards, and he has a number of targets in the likes of A.T. Perry and Christian Beal-Smith. On the whole, Wake Forest is averaging an eye-opening 441.5 yards per game.

It remains to be seen who will start at QB for Army, but the Black Knights continue to plug away with 367.5 yards per game, including a 2nd ranked rushing attack of 295 yards per game. Army also continues to lead the nation in time of possession.

Defense

On defense, Wake Forest are among the FBS leaders in turnover margin, with a +8 total. However, though the Demon Deacons also boast a leading 4th Down Conversion Pct. Defense (something that could come into play against Army), they do not have a terribly impressive defense overall. They’re allowing 410.3 yards per game, with 173 on the ground (and over 4.0 yards per carry). That doesn’t bode particularly well against Army’s running game.

The Black Knights continued their stout defensive play against Wisconsin, forcing a turnover on the opening drive, and holding the Badgers to just 310 yards of offense. On the season, Army is holding opponents to 281.7 yards per game and only 78 of that on the ground. The Black Knights will need to continue to bring their intensity against Wake Forest’s “slow-mesh” offense.

Things to Consider

  1. Army vs Ranked Opponents. Army has a recent history of playing ranked teams extremely close and have come excruciatingly close to winning. This will be the first time since 2014 that the Black Knights face a ranked team at home.
  2. Wake Forest vs the Past. The Demon Deacons have a history of starting off strong and flaming out midseason with mediocre finishes. Will Army knock down the first domino of that trend in 2021?

Army’s option attack vs Wake Forest’s slow-mesh. It’s hard to tell how this game will play out. Sportsbooks obviously expect a shootout, and that could be very likely, and my only hope is that the Black Knights can get off to a fast enough start to keep up.

How to Watch

Kickoff: 12 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, October 23rd

Watch: CBS Sports Network — CBSSN will be covering the game with Jason Horowitz, Ross Tucker, and Tina Cervasio on the call. Additionally, active duty and reserve servicemembers can stream Army home broadcasts for free by visiting this page and filling out the form.

Where: Michie Stadium – West Point, NY

Spread: As of this writing, FanDuel has Wake Forest favored at -3.5, with the over-under at 53.5.