|Army at a glance
Game 2 - Army
Buffalo takes to the road for game two, their destination is
the second closest non conference FBS team in the nation (Note to self, Pitt / Penn State are closer than Army) one of the two other FBS teams in NY. When Buffalo rolls into west point to take on the Army Black Knights fans from Western New York have only a 5 hour drive, the Buffalo Alumni who live in New York City have a significantly shorter trip.
Through the first 11 games last season Army put up a terrible 3-8 record feature wins against Morgan State, Louisiana Tech, and our friends over at EMU. That record put Rich Ellerson on the hot seat and Navy came used a 34-7 drubbing of Army to light the seat on fire and wish Ellerson "Bon Voyage".
The coaching change will not mean a change to Army's vaunted Triple Option offense. The Black Knights went out and found themselves a coach with a lot of experience in the scheme so UB will have to defend against it this fall.
I know that officially the Mascot of army is the Black Knight but everyone knows and loves the Mule. When the Naval Academy Cadets put together a mission to infiltrate the US Military Academy, tie up a guard, kidnap a mascot it was a mule and not some guy in a costume.
So I'm going to go with the Mule.
The use of the Army Mule as a mascot dates back to 1899, when an officer at the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot decided that the team needed a mascot to counter the Navy goat. For generations Mules were used as haulers for Army gear. In the world before automotive transport mules were a critical piece of military hardware.
The Current Mules are Stryker and his half brother Ranger III. The siblings are trained by cadet Mule Riders, a part of the Spirit Support Activity of the U.S. Corps of Cadets.
Army has been a football independent for most of their 114 year football history. The Black Knights were brief members of Conference USA between 1998 and 2004 but the arrangement was not working out for the Service academy.
Most of their non football sports Army is a member of the Patriot League which they joined in 1990.
Despite a rather storied history the Army has played in just five College Bowl Games, winning three of them including their most recent, the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl played against SMU.
They have also played to victories in the 1984 Cherry Bowl against Michigan State, and the 1985 Peach Bowl against Illinois. Their losses came against Alabama in the Sun Bowl and against Auburn in the Independence Bowl.
History Against UB:
The teams have each been playing since the 1890's and are just five hours from each other but UB and Army have only met three times and just twice since 1960. Once at West Point and once in Buffalo.
In 2001 the Bulls went to West Point jumped out to a 15 to nothing lead over Army but the Knights clawed back into the game eventually taking a 19-18 lead early in the 4th quarter. Half way through the final frame Marquis Dwarte plunged into the end zone from three yards out for what would be the winning score as Buffalo beat Army 26-19.
In 2008 the Black Knights came to Buffalo and built up a 24-10 lead over Buffalo going into the fourth Quarter. This time it was UB that had to claw their way back into the game.
Behind Drew Willy and a effort by Ernest Jackson the Bulls tied the contest with 4:19 left.
In overtime AJ Principie hit a 34 yard field goal and then Army penalized themselves into a 51 yard attempt which was off the mark. Many consider the overtime victory the game that kick started the Bulls drive towards the MAC East title and a win over #12 Ball State in the conference championship game.
Coach: Jeff Monken
A losing season was bad enough, getting beat up on by Navy was enough to get Rich Ellerson fired.
Hiring a coach for a team steeped in the option offense is not the easiest thing to accomplish. Fortunately for army Jeff Monken had just used an option offense to lead Georgia Southern to a 26-20 victory over the Florida Gators. The Black Knights hired the first FCS coach ever to beat the Gators and he did it with an FCS team.
Players to Watch For:
Senior quarterback Angel Santiago threw for 592 yards while rushing for 593. He scored 12 touchdowns on the year (10 rushing and 2 passing).
The only player who competes with Santiago on the ground is senior running back Terry Baggett put up 1113 yards and came in at just under eight per carry. His eight touchdowns were second on the team behind Santiago.
You never know how a game against the triple option offense will go, especially on the road in a hostile environment and just two games into the post Khalil Mack world. Army's punishing triple option can wear down your front seven and tempt your defensive backs to cheat.
I'm worried because we have lost Mack, Way, Bean, and Bachtelle up front. Five of the front seven defenders UB will put up front against the Black Knights will be new starters. The Bulls have also lost Najja Johnson and Okoye Houston who are two of our more disciplined defensive backs.
If Tepper has his team prepared for Army and the Bulls can limit the scoring then the UB offense should be able to move the ball. Between the Bulls line and Joe Licata can move the ball against a very vulnerable Army defense.
I think UB goes into West Point and extends their winning streak by beating Army 24-17.