Jeff Monken and his Army team are now 3-0 after running up 42 points in the first half against UConn. The Huskies’ only points came off a kickoff return for a touchdown and some late-game heroics from talented freshman QB Tyler Phommachanh.
Here are some of the key takeaways in the aftermath of Army’s win.
The Black Knights can pass!?
Anyone who’s been an Army fan for the last two decades knows the simultaneous thrill and panic of watching an Army quarterback dropping back for a pass. Odds are either a miraculous touchdown heave, or a sack with a massive loss of yards.
However, the Black Knights have shifted that paradigm in 2021. With just three games, Army is averaging 94 yards of offense through the air. Against UConn, the Black Knights threw for 109 yards and one touchdown.
Teams know that Army can run the ball well, but defending the triple option may prove more difficult for opponents now that the Black Knights are proving they can pass well, too.
Where is the weak link?
The only “weakness” the Black Knights have really shown is that their back-ups are vulnerable. Had Monken and his staff not pulled starters out late in the game against UConn, there’s a likelihood those 21 Husky points could’ve ended up on Army’s side of the scoreboard.
The starting offense is dominant. Inside, outside, and through the air — OC Brent Davis has orchestrated a machine that averages close to three quarters worth of ball possession per game. On defense, DC Nate Woody’s squad has been equally impressive, amassing three interceptions, two fumbles (one recovered), eight sacks with 46 yards lost, and allowing opponents to an average 293 yards of total offense. Of those numbers, the Black Knights intercepted UConn once, broke up six passes, sacked Phommachanh twice, and held the Huskies to just 225 yards of offense.
The only true stress test so far has been WKU quarterback Bailey Zappe, who managed to pick apart the Army secondary with his near pro-level accuracy. It’s unlikely the Black Knights will face as accurate a passer as Zappe for the remainder of the season, so will Army’s defensive backs prove more potent down the line?
Next Man Up
The Black Knights have been hurting (literally) with injuries so far this season, and the UConn game offered no reprieve. Starters Tyhier Tyler, Connor Bishop, Julian McDuffie, and Tyson Riley were all slated to miss the UConn game with injuries, but last Saturday’s game saw Kwabena Bonsu, Ryan Duran, and Marquel Broughton (all key defensive players) leave the game with injuries. Seniors Sean Eckert and Caleb John will also miss the remainder of the season with injuries.
Army has some tough games coming up, so it’s critical that the next man up be ready to step up. And here’s hoping that some of the injured Black Knights will be able to rest, recover, and return to action in the near future.