West Virginia Mountaineers (5-4) vs. Army Black Knights (9-2)
- Start Time: 4:00 PM EST
- Location: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, TN
- TV: ESPN
- Line: West Virginia -7
- FPI: West Virginia 73.1%
- O/U: 41.5
- Series: Army leads 2-1 (last meeting in 1961)
The Mountaineers are an interesting team. They’re good, but how good are they? They have one win against a team with a winning record this year and needed two overtimes to beat 2-7 Baylor.
They put up a lot of yards, but their point totals don’t match up with their output.
Jarret Doege leads an explosive West Virginia offense. The Mountaineer QB has thrown for 2,428 yards, 13 touchdowns, and only three interceptions.
As a whole, they put up 422.7 yards but only 26.8 points. Nearly 27 points per game is nothing to scoff at, but I expected more when looking up their offensive output. For example, the Army offense averages nearly 100 fewer yards and puts up half a point more than WVU.
They can air it out, but they also have a stud running back in Leddie Brown, who has 945 yards and nine touchdowns on 179 carries.
On the other side of the ball, they give up 20.4 points and 297.2 yards per game. Their best performance came against TCU when they gave up only six points.
On paper, their run defense is pretty stout, giving up only 126 yards. However, this stat could be misleading given the air raid happy Big XII they play in.
They’ve forced 12 turnovers (10 interceptions, two fumbles). Those picks mean very little against an Army team who throws as little as possible.
Like I said earlier, this team is confusing. They can be a really good team, but it just depends on if they can score or not.
Fresh off a CIC clinching win over Air Force, the Army can have their third ten-win season in four years. Before this run, Army had one 10 win season in their 127-year history (1996).
Jeff Monken’s turnaround of this program is nothing short of amazing. He deserves endless praise for where he has taken this program.
QB Tyhier Tyler was knocked out of the Air Force game after a late hit to the head but has said on Twitter that he’s fine and ready to go.
He is the Black Knights leading rusher with 502 yards on the ground.
He is one of nine Army players with more than 100 yards on the ground.
The spark plug of the Army offense, Tyrell Robinson will look to close out his impressive freshman campaign. He is averaging 7.1 yards per carry and is the team’s third-leading rusher. He is also the team’s leading receiver with 117 yards (19.5 YPR) and two TD’s.
Defensively they are near the tops in the country, giving up only 14 points per game. They also give up 271.1 yards per game.
Turnovers are the name of the game for this defense. They have forced 13 interceptions, which is the most by an Army defense since 2010. They have also recovered five fumbles, and the special teams unit has blocked seven kicks.
Defensive coordinator Nate Woody is the key to this game. If he can get the ball back to the offense, Army can win.
I expect a close game. I don’t think this will be anything like the Armed Forces Bowl against Houston. Army fans will have to sweat this one out like the Heart of Dallas Bowl against UNT and the Armed Forces Bowl against SDSU.
Ultimately, I think Army extends their bowl winning streak to five in a row. Nate Woody’s defense will make a clutch play late to knock off a Big XII foe and pull the upset.
Army 24-West Virginia 21