Perhaps Army could have picked a better time to visit Colorado Springs.
Trey Calhoun’s Air Force Academy was in a precarious position as lately as October 14th. The team was 1-4 and losing badly to UNLV in the 1st half, and the program was in danger of slipping out of the postseason and to the cellar of the Mountain West.
3 weeks later, and the Falcons are riding a 3-game winning streak and coming off a truly impressive performance against Colorado State. Air Force intercepted Nick Stevens 3 times, and rushed for 400+ yards in a dominant 45-28 win.
But the Black Knights are on a hot streak of their own. Army has won 4 in a row and learned how to win by a hair – maybe even a speck of hair spray – over the past 2 weeks. PK Luke Strebel is the hero after kicking the winner against Temple last Saturday, in overtime.
Who: Army Black Knights at Air Force Falcons
When: Saturday, November 4th, 3:30 PM EST
Where: Falcon Stadium, Colorado Springs, CO
Lines: Army (+6) at Air Force (-6) / O/U Total: (56)
Jeff Monken, Army’s head coach, is a Paul Johnson disciple of option football. The Knights will never get out of their basic offense. Calhoun, on the other hand, has taken some heat from other service academy fan bases (they hate one another anyway) for using the Georgia Tech/Navy/Army option offense as just another package.
Calhoun is determined to have the most versatile offense in the NCAA, and sometimes it leads to great results – like the 17-point licking of CSU. Arion Worthman is a marvel, and the defense is showing signs of life. But Army is going to try to assert their old-school scheme with long drives early, making the Falcons pay for tinkering-around and trying out formations early in the game while the Knights rack up points.
But the difference-maker could be the Army passing game. Calhoun loves to bottle-up the option inside, forcing opposing QBs from Navy and Army to make plays, often with their arms. Senior Black Knight QB Ahmad Bradshaw has struggled to pass the ball in ’17, and is mostly there for his speed and ball-handling.
I’m thinking Air Force will cover based on the ability of their defense to frustrate fellow option teams at the right time, and Bradshaw’s weakness through the air when the Falcons stack the LOS.