What We Learned From Week Four from the Independents

Army’s defense might be better than we thought

The Black Knights went on the road and took on fifth-ranked Oklahoma, who is pretty good at offense if you haven’t heard.

While it wasn’t perfect, Army became the first team to hold Oklahoma scoreless for a full quarter since Georgia in the national semifinal last year, and the first to hold them scoreless for an entire half since TCU last November.

It’s not often that you’re more proud after a loss than a win, but this Army team stood and banged with Oklahoma, After giving up 21 points and 199 yards on only 16 plays on the Sooners’ first three drives, Army allowed only 174 yards and zero points on 26 plays the rest of regulation, including stuffing Oklahoma twice on goal-to-go plays in the fourth quarter.

This has to make Coach Monken happy heading into the rest of their schedule which is decidedly easier than the challenges Norman, Oklahoma presented.

New Mexico State might have a longer rebuild than we thought

I understand that a lot of the on-paper matchup disadvantages go out the window in a rivalry game, but the Aggies went up against a UTEP team that has one of the most inept offenses in the country and gave up just enough big plays to nearly lose.

It’s nice to get a win, especially heading into a bye week that will give them extra time to sort out the positives and negatives, get Josh Adkins more first-team practice reps, and get things sorted out.

There’s still a light at the end of the tunnel, and Adkins appears to be the most sound option at quarterback, but getting him comfortable enough to open up the playbook is what the Aggies need to start moving the ship forward.

Liberty and UMass are about where we expected

Where exactly is that, though?

Good enough on offense to beat the bad teams on their schedule, and bad enough on defense to lose to the good teams on their schedule.

In UMass’ case, they’ve got a wicked home/road split. At home they’re 2-0, with wins over FCS Duquesne and (debatably FCS) Charlotte by a combined score of 112-46. On the road, they’re 0-3 against the likes of Boston College, Georgia Southern and FIU by a combined score of 152-58.

Problem is, the Minutemen have a lot more of the latter left on their schedule than the former. On the road at UConn? Bring it. At Ohio or Georgia isn’t going to go well, and I’m not liking their odds at home against BYU, USF or Coastal Carolina.

They aren’t really built to win shootouts, though they do still have a very intriguing matchup with Liberty left on the docket.

So what about the Flames?

They absolutely manhandled Old Dominion in their home opener, but couldn’t finish drives against Army and looked lost against North Texas.

This road trip out west to face New Mexico and New Mexico State will give us some good info on just how capable this team really is on both sides of the ball, because their schedule currently features anywhere between two and six more wins depending on the answers to those questions.

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