Jeff Monkin’s Army Black Knights were threatening to fall off-schedule. When Monkin took over a few seasons ago, he was dealing with a small, slow roster and many consecutive seasons of losing weighing the program down. The former Georgia Southern head coach went to work, patiently building a Flexbone offense and a high-effort defense to compete with Navy’s similar approach to college football.
But earlier this season, the project went a’glimmer. A 38-7 loss to Ohio State was disappointing but no real surprise. The next Saturday, however, saw the Black Knights blow a last-frame lead and lose to the Tulane Green Wave.
True to service-academy form, the ‘Knights rebounded with pure hard work and sweat, beating UTEP and Rice followed by an emotional 28-27 triumph over EMU.
Actually, that might be “service academy form” in relation to Air Force and Navy…but it’s a welcome change at West Point. A consistent winner (even against bad teams) is the first step in rehabbing a program which has labored in the shadow of the other branches.
This week, Army hosts defending AAC champion Temple – but that might not be as intimidating as it sounds. The Owls have lost a plethora of senior talent to graduation, and are 3-4 on the season.
Who: Temple Owls at Army Black Knights
When: Saturday, October 21st, 12 PM EST
Where: Michie Stadium, West Point, MD
Lines: Temple (+6.5) at Army (-6.5) / O/U Total: (46)
The Owls are in the doldrums, without a quality win in 2017. The closest the squad came to beating a worthy opponent came against Houston, where a furious comeback made it a 1-score game with time running down. But sophomore QB Logan Marchi couldn’t pull it off, finishing with 3 picks on the day.
Temple has failed to run the football. A 3.0 ypc average is OK for a game or 2 in the right set of circumstances, but the Owls have 243 rushing attempts in 7 games and their most prolific back is averaging 3.2. Ouch.
Bettors should ask themselves if Army is big and physical enough to stop Temple up the middle as other FBS opponents have. If so, then the winning bet is a no brainer – rushing for 300+ yards as the Knights often do, while a visiting team rushes for less than 100? That’s a recipe for a blow-out.
Can it happen? Army has lost to 2 strong rushing teams, Ohio State and Tulane, and each team averaged over 8 yards per attempt. Even Eastern Michigan rushed for over 5 ypc.
This match-up is the *resistible* force versus a very, very movable object.
We think Army will prevail by a touchdown or more, but not because of the defense – it still has a long way to go. Look for Temple to find a modicum of success on offense early, which also puts value in the over.