Our “how you doing” feature is back for year three! Each week we at B5Q will review how each of Wisconsin’s opponents has fared heading into their contest with the Badgers.
After securing their first Big Ten win of the season, the Wisconsin Badgers (2-3 overall, 1-2 B1G) will look to string together some wins as the Army Black Knights (4-1 overall) come to town for a night game at Camp Randall Stadium.
In an attempt to preview what to expect on Saturday, let’s take a look at how Army has looked so far this season.
- Win at Georgia State 43-10
- Win vs. Western Kentucky 38-35
- Win vs. UConn 52-21
- Win vs. Miami (Ohio) 23-10
- Loss at Ball State 28-16
Status of the offense:
Army and their triple-option rushing attack has been strong so far this season. Through five games they rank No. 2 in the country in rushing yardage per game and No. 1 in time of possession, both key performance metrics that they build their scheme on. The Black Knights rank No. 34 in the nation in points per game at just over 34 points per game.
Using a flexbone base, Army has used two different quarterbacks this year due to injuries, but Christian Anderson has been their most dynamic playmaker when healthy. The senior quarterback has been limited to four games, but still leads the team in rushing, with 431 yards, and passing, with 187 yards, and eight combined touchdowns. He missed their recent loss to Ball State, so it will be interesting to see if he is back to full health following Army’s bye week.
If he is unable to go expect to see Jemel Jones and Tyhier Tyler split reps.
Alongside Anderson and the rest of the quarterback room, Army primarily relies on a trio of running backs to shoulder the load. Jumbo back Jakobi Buchanan is a load at 260 pounds and is second on the team in carries, but only averages a shade over three yards per carry. Tyrell Robinson is a smaller, quicker back that has 237 yards on only 25 carries this season. He is a home run threat when he gets the ball in his hands. The third running back that is primarily involved is Anthony Adkins. He is also a bigger back at 245 pounds, and is fourth on the team in rushing yards. There are multiple other backs that have received carries this year, but the trio listed above have produced the most this season.
Army has only thrown the ball 33 times this season, so there have not been many opportunities for their wide receivers and tight ends to get involved in the passing game. Most of their receiving targets are bigger because they block more often than not, but when Army has passed they have hit on some bigger plays. Of their 16 completions this season, six of them have gone for greater than 25 yards, with Isaiah Alston leading the team with three receptions.
Status of the defense:
Staying on brand, Army has been incredibly tough against the run. Wisconsin ranks No. 1 in rushing defense, but the Black Knights only allow .4 more yards per game than the Badgers for third best in the country. Army has not played incredibly difficult competition this season, but that is still statistically impressive. As a unit they rank in the top-10 in total defense as well, and only allow around 20 points per game.
Like the Badgers, Army has not forced many turnovers (five in five games), but they do play a gritty and tough brand of football. Arik Smith and Spencer Jones have been solid linebackers this season and have combined for 49 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss.
The player that has jumped out on film though this season is Marquel Broughton. The junior captain plays much bigger than his 5-foot-10 stature, ranking second on the team in tackles from his safety position. He also leads the team in interceptions with two, and is seemingly always around the ball. How he matches up with Jake Ferguson and the run game will be interesting to watch.
The other name to watch on the Army defense is Andre Carter II. He is a physical specimen at 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds, and he has been active this season as a pass rusher. He leads the team with 7.5 sacks, and has two games with multiple sacks this season.
Army head coach Jeff Monken is one of the most well-respected leaders in college football, and he generally keeps his team in games. The Black Knights are coming off of a bad loss to Ball State, and have yet to play notable competition outside of Western Kentucky.
Monken’s offensive play style is a definite change of pace, and time of possession will be interesting to watch in this contest. Both teams will want to run the football, but the ability to finish drives will likely determine this game. Army is a talented independent team that has shown an ability to beat Power-5 schools in the past. The Badgers will need to play well to win it.