You don’t want to read too much from a single football game, but when you fail to cover by 38.5 points, you might be not quite as good as expectations. And that’s what happened as the Army Black Knights shut out the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders 42-0 on Saturday at Michie Stadium in West Point, NY.
MTSU went off at +3.5, but did just about nothing right all day. Starting quarterback Asher O’Hara was 9/14 for 46 yards with two interceptions, and he was benched in the middle of the third quarter for backup Chase Cunningham (7/10, 63 yards).
But the real issues were on defense, where a lack of discipline, gap integrity, and assignment football made for some comically bad play. Army ran the ball 62 times for 340 yards and five touchdowns.
Army had six touchdowns on five possessions until the last 73 seconds of the game. It would have been seven for six if they didn’t run out of time.
For what this means, the Blue Raiders might have BIG problems. O’Hara was a chic pick for C-USA Player of The Year, but he looked out of sorts and rhythm. Triple option football is always difficult to defend, especially on the short notice that this game was scheduled, but the film won’t lie: A lack of speed, physicality, and assignment discipline jumped off the screen today.
There will be a lot to correct for head coach Rick Stockstill between now and their tilt with Western Kentucky on October 3rd.
Army gets the BYU Cougars next Saturday, and the Coogs will have experience with triple option football as they play Navy on Monday night. Can they keep this up? If quarterback Christian Anderson (2/4, 28 yards, 10 carries, 51 yards, 1 TD) and his teammates have anything to say about it, they might easily get back to their fourth bowl game in five seasons.