The last time the Wisconsin Badgers (2-3 overall, 1-2 Big Ten) played a service academy in football was 1979 and the last time they played the Army Black Knights (4-1 overall) was, well, never. This will be a fun, interesting and historic matchup between two teams that absolutely love to run the football.
The Badgers and Black Knights also will face off in men’s hockey this Thursday and Friday at the Kohl Center, with the series marking the first on-ice meetings between the programs since a 1-0 win for the Badgers at West Point on Jan. 2, 1967.
This game has the potential to be the fastest game played so far this season, between any two teams, as the Badgers and Black Knights both rank in the top-four nationally for time of possession and both rank in the top-three for rushing defense. There should be a lot of running for not very many yards and a lot of time bled off the clock.
Army is coming off a bye week, so they’ve had extra time to prepare for the Badgers offensive and defensive schemes, but the Badgers have been practicing triple-option stuff since the spring in preparation for this game, so both teams should be well versed in what the other is trying to do.
How to watch/listen
TV: BTN, 7:00 p.m. CT, Brandon Gaudin, James Laurinaitis, Rick Pizzo
Streaming: FOX Sports App
Stadium: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.
Weather: Madison, Wis. (cool and clear night game)
Line: Wisconsin -14
Fun facts (according to the media guides)
- Saturday’s game marks the first meeting between Wisconsin and Army, and the Badgers’ first matchup with a service academy since 1979.
- Wisconsin is 2-1 all-time vs. the service academies, with its 1-0 mark vs. Air Force and a 1-1 record vs. Navy.
Home under the lights pic.twitter.com/ALZ2x93Mds— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) October 16, 2021
- The Badgers fell, 36-7, to No. 2 Navy in a wartime matchup played in Baltimore in 1945. Navy’s only loss that season came at the hands of No. 1-ranked and eventual national champion Army. UW then claimed a 48-13 win over the 18th-ranked Midshipmen in Madison in 1949.
- Wisconsin and Army have faced off once in men’s basketball, a 77-63 win for the Badgers in the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu on Dec. 30, 1979.
- The Badgers and Black Knights completed a men’s hockey series in Madison on Friday night, which Wisconsin swept, to start off the UW/USMA weekend of sports.
- Army cornerbacks coach Daryl Dixon is the older brother of former Badgers All-Big Ten safety D’Cota Dixon.
- Wisconsin senior OLB Noah Burks’ younger brother, Logan Burks, is a freshman wide receiver at Army.
- Wisconsin senior OLB Izayah Green-May and Army senior RB Brandon Walters were prep teammates at Bolingbrook (Ill.) High School.
- When Alan Ameche won the 1954 Heisman Trophy while starring for the Badgers, he already was married to high school sweetheart Yvonne Ameche, with two young children. Yvonne eventually remarried after Alan’s death in 1988, wedding another Heisman winner, Glenn Davis, in 1996. Dubbed “Mr. Outside,” Davis claimed the Heisman in 1946 while starring at halfback as part of Army’s famed backfield duo with “Mr. Inside,” 1945 Heisman-winning fullback Doc Blanchard.
- Wisconsin leads the country in fewest rushing yards allowed, at 41.4 per game, while Army ranks No. 3 in rushing defense, at 54.0 yards allowed per game.
- On the ground, the Badgers have allowed just two runs of 10 or more yards, by far the fewest in the country. Army ranks second, allowing nine runs of 10-plus yards
- Nationally, only No. 1-ranked Georgia (203.5) is allowing fewer offensive yards per game than the Badgers (217.8), who have held two opponents to fewer than 100 total yards this season — including just 93 surrendered to Illinois last week. Army (276.0) ranks 10th in the FBS in terms of total defense.
- UW has limited opponents to a nation leading 1.66 yards per rushing attempt. Army (2.41 ypc) ranks No. 4 in that category
- Wisconsin did not surrender a single sack or tackle for loss in last Saturday’s 24-0 win over Illinois. It marked the 2nd time since TFLs became an officially recognized NCAA statistic in 2000 that UW didn’t give up a TFL (also vs. Marshall, Sept. 6, 2008).
Do not let this opportunity slide— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) October 15, 2021
Whatever it takes, get it done
Wisconsin vs. Army - 10.16.21 pic.twitter.com/Rs8AHZJNot
- Opponents are completing just 50.6% of their passing attempts vs. UW, the fourth lowest mark nationally behind Cincinnati (48.0%), Florida Atlantic (49.7%) and Georgia (50.0%).
- TE Jake Ferguson has caught at least one pass in each of his 39 career games, breaking WR Lee Evans’ school record of 38 consecutive games with a reception (1999-2003).
- RB Chez Mellusi has topped the 100-yard mark in three of his first five games as a Badger, including a career-high 145 rushing yards against Illinois last week.
- Army edge rusher, Andre Carter II, is tied for the national lead in sacks with 7.5 this season.
- The Black Knights average 318.2 yards per game on the ground, the second-most in the country behind Air Force.
- For the season, Army hasn’t even allowed their opponents to total 100 minutes of time of possession (99:31) which is the best mark in the nation. Wisconsin is second in this category, allowing only 120:50 minutes of opponent’s time of possession.
- Army has blocked three punts this season, tied for second most in the nation.
- The Black Knights are also the least penalized team in the nation, have only turned the ball over three times and have only given up one sack all season.
- This is the most disgusting stat I have ever seen: Army’s QB Christian Anderson has three passing TDs this year...which is one more than Graham Mertz.