Our “how are you” feature is back for the third year! Each week at B5Q, we’ll take a look at how each of Wisconsin’s opponents fared ahead of 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 a few wins as the Black knights of the army (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 the military has looked so far this season.
- Victory at Georgia State 43-10
- Victory over Western Kentucky 38-35
- Win against UConn 52-21
- Victory over Miami (Ohio) 23-10
- Loss at Ball State 28-16
Status of the offense:
The Army and its rushed triple-option attack have been strong so far this season. Over the course of five games, they rank No.2 in the country in ground distance per game and No.1 in possession time, two KPIs they build their plan on. The Black Knights rank 34th in the country in points per game with just over 34 points per game.
Using a flexible base, Army has used two different quarterbacks this year due to injury, but Christian Anderson has been their most dynamic playmaker when in good health. The senior quarterback was limited to four games, but still leads the team in rushing, with 431 yards, and in passing, with 187 yards and eight combined touchdowns. He missed out on their recent loss to Ball State, so it will be interesting to see if he’s back in full health after the week off from the military.
If he can’t go, expect to see Jemel Jones and Tyhier Tyler go their separate ways.
Alongside Anderson and the rest of the quarter room, the military relied primarily on a trio of running backs to take charge. Giant back Jakobi Buchanan weighs 260 pounds and is second on the team in races, but averages just one shadow over three yards per race. Tyrell Robinson is a shorter, faster fullback who has 237 yards on just 25 carries this season. He’s a home run threat when he has the ball in his hands. The third running back mainly involved is Anthony Adkins. He’s also a bigger back at 245 pounds and is fourth on the team in rushing yards. There are several other backs that have received litters this year, but the trio listed above have produced the most this season.
The Army has only thrown the ball 33 times this season, so there haven’t 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, but when the army has passed they hit bigger plays. Of their 16 goals this season, six have totaled over 25 yards, with Isaiah Alston leading the team with three receptions.
Staying on the mark, Army was incredibly tough against the race. Wisconsin ranks first in running defense, but the Black Knights are allowing just 0.4 more yards per game than the Badgers for the third best in the country. The Army hasn’t played incredibly tough competition this season, but it’s still statistically impressive. As a unit, they also rank in the top 10 when it comes to total defense and allow only around 20 points per game.
Like the Badgers, Army hasn’t forced a lot of turnovers (five in five games), but they play tough, tough football. Arik Smith and Spencer Jones have been strong linebackers this season, combining 49 tackles and 5.5 tackles for a loss.
The player who has jumped on the film this season is Marquel Broughton. The junior captain is playing much bigger than his 5-foot-10 stature, placing second on the team in tackles from his safe position. He also leads the team in interceptions with two, and is apparently still around the ball. The way he lines up with Jake Ferguson and the racing game will be interesting to watch.
The other name to watch out for in Army Defense is Andre Carter II. He’s a 6-foot-7, 250-pound physical specimen, and he’s been active this season as a passer. 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 respected leaders in college football and he usually keeps his team in games. The Black Knights have just suffered a bad loss to Ball State and have yet to play any notable competition outside of Western Kentucky.
Monken’s offensive style of play is a definite change of pace, and possession time will be interesting to watch in this contest. Both teams will want to run the game, but the ability to complete practices will likely determine this game. Army are a talented independent team who have shown their ability to beat Power-5 schools in the past. The Badgers will have to play well to win.