When and Where: 3 p.m. at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, N.C.
Series History: The series is 11-9-1 in favor of the Blue Devils. Army lost to Duke at home 35-19 last season.
Matchup: Army will face another pass-heavy offense this weekend. The Duke offense would be slotted between the two passing attacks Army has seen recently; better than North Texas, but not on the same level of Hawai’i. Duke’s receivers do not possess the same speed and ability to gain yards after the catch that Hawai’i displayed at Michie Stadium two weeks ago. Duke quarterback Sean Renfree threw for 108 yards on eight attempts last season against the Black Knights in relief. The Duke defense was torched by Alabama last week, namely Mark Ingram, in a 65-13 drubbing. Though none of the Black Knights possess the physical skill set of Ingram, Duke’s inability to stop the run could bode well for Army this week.
Player to Watch: DE Josh McNary. McNary leads all of the Division I FBS with 5.0 sacks this season. After not getting to the quarterback in week one against Eastern Michigan, McNary has thrived the past two weeks against pass happy offenses. If Army hopes to slow down the Duke attack, McNary will be counted on to pressure Renfree. A good pass rush will always help your secondary, and McNary can provide Army’s best defense against the pass.
Potential X-Factor: QB Trent Steelman’s Arm. Steelman is known more for his ability to direct Army’s option attack and make plays with his feet. Recently teams have been more aggressive with their safeties in defending the option. Army will need to take some shots deep to keep Duke’s defense honest. If Steelman is given time, he may be able to make some big plays through the air.
Prediction: Army feels like they let a win slip away at home last year against Duke. It will be interesting to see how the Blue Devils bounce back after taking such a beating from Alabama. The Black Knights should be comfortable on defense seeing an offense based heavily in throwing the football, and confident on offense with their production thus far. Army plays well enough on defense and makes a few plays through the air on offense to get a win.
Army 27, Duke 17
About the Author
Written by Donald Lappe
Senior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Double Major in Media & Society and United States History. Also writing for TapouT Magazine and MMA Worldwide Magazine.