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Wake Forest vs. Army: Game Preview

The Deacs take on Army this Saturday afternoon. Will it be a good homecoming weekend for Wake Forest fans?

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Army is led by head coach Jeff Monken, who is taking over for Rich Ellerson, who went 8-28 over his final three seasons at Army. Monken comes to Army by way of Georgia Southern, where he went 38-16 and made it to the FCS semifinals in three out of his four seasons. Monken started off his Army career with a 47-39 victory over Buffalo, but followed it up with a 35-0 loss at Stanford. How will the Black Knights perform against the Deacs?

Offense

Senior quarterback Angel Santiago is in his second full season as Army's starting quarterback. So far this season he has completed 8 of 8 passing attempts for 109 yards, but he has averaged just 2.9 yards per carry on 10 carries. Last season he averaged 3.47 yards/carry, so he is a candidate to increase his average as the season progresses.

Army has a duo of backs who are both capable of pounding out first downs on third and short, as well as busting out long runs. Larry Dixon has averaged 19.5 carries/game so far this season and is averaging an impressive 6 yards/carry. Terry Baggett averaged just 6 carries/game, but he is averaging 8.5 per yards on those carries. Our defense must be disciplined and not allow him to break long runs.

Army's offensive line has beefed up on the interior, but the tackles still lack ideal size and that should be beneficial for Wake's defensive line. The two right tackles on the depth chart are listed at 260 pounds and 240 pounds, respectively. The two left tackles are listed at 283 pounds and 240 pounds. This should allow the line to create more pressure and blow up the option-attack.

Let's be honest, it's difficult to convince talented wide receivers to play football for an option-team. It's even harder to convince them to have to do that at West Point. Army has completed just 10 passes on the young season, and only 3 of those receptions have been by wide receivers. Xavier Moss was the team's receptions leader last season with 35, but he has yet to catch a pass during his 2014 campaign.

Defense

The defensive line should be the best part of this Army defense. They return their five leading defensive linemen tacklers - four of whom are seniors. They have a very formidable pass rush when they are in pass down situations, and were 9th nationally in adjusted sack rate on those downs. On standard downs, however, they were a lowly 110th.

Their linebacker situation is the opposite of their defensive line. Army lost their three leading tacklers, but did return Julian Holloway, who led the team in tackles for loss last season. However, Holloway is not listed on the team's depth chart and has yet to play this season. WILL linebacker Jeremy Timpf is leading the team in tackles with 21.

Their secondary left a lot to be desired last season as they allowed 9.4 yards per attempt, which was 121st nationally. The unit is littered with former 2-star recruits who do not have the speed to keep up with BCS caliber athletes. They do have two seniors and one junior, so perhaps the experience will help them moving forward. Sophomore Josh Jenkins starts in the secondary along with the upperclassmen. Jenkins already has 12 tackles on the season to go with 2 interceptions, so John Wolford will have to be aware of Jenkins at all times.

Special Teams

Their special teams also leaves a lot to be desired. Place kicker Daniel Grochowski was 114th nationally in average kickoff distance. He made all of his extra point attempts, but made just 75% of kicks inside of 40 yards. Grochowski is currently just 4-6 on PATs this season. Punter Alex Tardieu averaged just 37.3 yards per punt. So far this season Tardieu is averaging 39.33 yards/punt.

Prediction

Vegas may have Army has a 2.5 to 3 point favorite, but I believe Wake Forest will find a way to get this done at home.

Army 21

Wake 27