Army Black Knights (2-0) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (1-0)
- Start Time: 3:30 PM EST
- Location: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
- TV: ESPN
- Line: Cincinnati -13.5
- FPI: Cincinnati 66.4%
- O/U: 45
- Series: Series is tied 3-3, Army won last matchup 48-29 in 2004
Cincinnati looked strong on offense last weekend against Austin Peay, led by a strong performance on the ground. The Bearcats ran for 5 touchdowns and 276 yards, with QB Desmond Ridder leading the team in yards.
It was a quick night for the starters, who gave UC a 42-6 lead in the 3rd before coming out for the remainder of the game.
There was a clear show in depth offensively, with 10 players getting carries on the ground, 3 QBs entering the game, and 8 different receivers in the box score.
Once again the Bearcats defense came to play as well. The starters held Austin Peay to just 103 yards in the first half.
Arguably the best defense in the AAC, coined the “blackcats,” is led by defensive backs James Wiggins and Ahmad Gardner, both projected first team all conference.
Despite an offseason full of rumors, UC was able to retain HC Luke Fickell and DC Marcus Freeman, as well as adding a new RB and DB coach.
Fickell mentioned that playing Navy has helped Cincinnati adjust to playing the triple option and will help against Army on Saturday.
This is Army’s biggest non-CIC game of the year. The last two seasons when Army has gone on the road against a ranked team they have lost in overtime. Can Jeff Monken get the Black Knights over the hump this season?
Saturday will mark their first ranked matchup since November 16th, 1996 when the #22 Black Knights lost to the #19 Syracuse 42-17 in the Carrier Dome.
Quarterback Christian Anderson will look to lead the offense against a staunch Bearcats defense. The Army offense leads the country in yards per catch, rushing offense, red zone offense, and third down offense. They have been unstoppable behind a stable of slotbacks and fullbacks. Sandon McCoy, Tyrell Robinson, Artice Hobbs IV, and Jokobi Buchanan have all had a huge impact on the ground.
Defensively, Army will look to continue their stellar play. They have only given up 384 yards of total offense and only seven points. They have also forced six turnovers. All of this has been without their two best corners Javari Bourdeau and Jabari Moore.
The lineage of great Army linebackers continues with Jon Rhattigan who has been flying around the field making plays all over the place.
There is no doubt that this is the hardest game on Army’s schedule and frankly this could be the game that prevents a perfect season. Army didn’t play a perfect game against ULM and they still blew the Warhawks out. That can’t happen this week. They need to play near perfect in order to win.
I know the spread says Cincy by 14 but I don’t see that happening. Regardless of who wins this will be a close game.
Christian Anderson will have Army in a position to win late, but I think the Bearcats defense will do just enough for Cincinnati to win.
This will be a fun game that goes down to the wire.
Cincinnati 28-Army 24