The last time Army and Miami (OH) squared off was in 2018, and the result was a 31-30 double overtime win for the Black Knights. The Redhawks made a gutsy call, attempting a two-point conversion for the win. However, a gang of Army defenders led by former standout Elijah Riley managed to come up with the critical stop.
Miami (OH) looks quite similar to Western Kentucky on paper. Will the Black Knights be able to stifle the Redhawks for four quarters, or will they have to try holding on in another wild shootout?
“And the Army goes rolling along…” comes to mind these days when I think about Army’s offense. The Black Knights, led by QB Christian Anderson, are averaging 425 yards of offense per game with almost 100 of those yards coming through the air. While still the run-heavy offense it’s always been, Army’s offense is forcing opponents to stay honest with an effective passing attack.
While Anderson leads the way in both rushing and passing categories, it’s been a solid team effort for the Black Knights through three games. Of the 14 touchdowns scored, seven different Army players have contributed. FB Jakobi Buchanan currently leads the team in touchdowns with four. The Black Knights have been firing on all cylinders offensively, and no team has found a way to stop them yet.
On the other side of the field this weekend, we have Miami (OH). At the helm for the Redhawks is QB Brett Gabbert, younger brother of NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Miami (OH) likes to run the ball; however, a majority of their offense is generated by Gabbert’s arm. Out of an average 380 offensive yards per game, only 167 of that comes on the ground.
That alone isn’t a troubling statistic, it’s Gabbert’s accuracy. It’s one thing to rely on your QB to generate a passing attack with a completion percentage near 80% (like WKU’s Bailey Zappe). Yet Gabbert’s completion percentage is just 53% — along with two interceptions. If the Redhawks running game stalls out against the Army defense, it’ll be up to Gabbert to keep the offense alive against a secondary that’s managed to pick off much more accurate passers.
While Army’s defense has been stout so far this season, they’re pretty banged up now, too. Kwabena Bonsu, Jalen McDuffie, and Marquel Broughton could all potentially be out against Miami (OH). Bonsu is one of the leading tacklers, a staple of the defensive line. McDuffie and Broughton are big losses in the secondary, especially considering Broughton accounts for two of three interceptions for the Black Knights.
Despite these injuries, Army still has several playmakers in the likes of Jabari Moore, Andre Carter II, and many others that can bring the pressure against the Redhawks’ offense. The key will be to contain the run game, while also not allowing Gabbert the time and space to complete long passes over the top.
Miami (OH) has a decent defensive side. They drew a tough straw facing current #8 Cincinnati right out of the gate, followed by a tough Minnesota team. As a unit, the Redhawks have managed seven sacks, two interceptions, plus a forced fumble, and allow an average of 348 yards per game (195 passing, 153 rushing). That’s not bad.
However, Miami (OH) allows 4 yards per-carry on the ground. That’s not a great stat when you’re getting ready to take on Army, especially with the success the Black Knights have had running the ball pretty much wherever they want. The Redhawks will be relying on the likes of Ivan Pace Jr. and Lonnie Phelps (their top tackler and sack leader, respectively) to plug things up against the Army rush while also getting pressure on Anderson when he drops back for a pass.
Things to Consider
This game feels very similar to Western Kentucky just a couple of weeks ago. It’s a winnable game for Army, but it will likely be a much closer game that will be settled by the team that either makes the fewest mistakes or makes the most of its opportunities. With that in mind, here are a couple key things to consider:
- Army vs Injuries. The Black Knights will likely be missing key defensive players, notably two of their best defensive backs. Will Gabbert be able to exploit that despite his lackluster completion percentage?
- Time of Possession battle. Going back to injuries, if the defense is banged up, Monken and crew are going to want the offense to stay on the field as much as possible. Plus, we saw how big of a factor time of possession was against WKU. Had Army not dominated TOP, that could’ve easily been a loss. This game could also come down to the wire, so winning TOP could spell the difference once again.
How to Watch
Kickoff: 12 p.m. (EST) on Saturday, September 25th
Watch: CBS Sports Network 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, New York
Spread: As of Friday morning, ESPN PickCenter has Army favored at -7.5, with the over-under at 48.5.