Game Date: Friday, September 24th, 2021
Opponent: Army Black Knights
Game Date: October 23, 2021
Head Coach: Jeff Monken (49-39)
Highest Ranking: 22
Post-Season: Liberty Bowl vs. West Virginia, L 24-21
Wins: Middle Tennessee, UL Monroe, Abilene Christian, The Citadel, @UTSA, Mercer, Georgia Southern, Navy, Air Force
Losses: @ #14 Cincinnati, @Tulane, West Virginia
Yards per Game: 317.5
Yards Allowed per Game: 275.3
Points per Game: 26.8
Points Allowed per Game: 14.8
So, Army is pretty much exactly what you’d anticipate. They played good, disciplined defense, dominated TOP by almost 10 minutes per game, and ground down opponents (no pun intended) with a methodical, well-executed rushing attack. That being said, I honestly think that while Army undoubtedly had an impressive season last season, it’s worth commenting on their strength of competition while considering their prospects for the coming year. Not only that, but Army has to make up for the loss of Jon Rhattigan, a tremendous linebacker who tied for leading the team in tackles, and graduated to move on to try his hand at the next level. The rest of the defense remains extremely experienced, however, and the Army roster should absolutely be taken seriously if last season wasn’t just a fluke. I’d temper that, however, by again noting that Army largely beat up on lesser competition. Not only that, but Army’s yard differentials were actually not that impressive, even though the point splits absolutely were. Near as I can tell, that had a good bit to do with the time of possession difference, and Army also had several games that were absolute blowouts, but several more that were much closer together. I don’t want to diminish how successful Army was last year, but it would be intellectually dishonest if we didn’t mention that they feasted on largely lesser competition.
Truth be told, I expect Wake to win this game, but honestly, any games against service academies are something of wild cards. You’re almost always going to have a raw talent advantage, but the nature of the triple option and the disciplined nature of the service academies throw everything into question.