Week 6 sees Wake Forest back in Winston Salem to take on the Army Black Knights. If you are a fan of points, this might be the game for you, because last year’s game between these two teams was the highest scoring game of 2021 with 126 total points scored. Despite Army’s slow, methodical, option-based attack, that game just turned into a race to see who could score the fastest on both sides. There was even a sequence where 21 points were scored in a 4-play span that only took around 48 seconds of game time. Personally, I don’t mind if Army scores a little less this time around.
- Opponent: Army
- Date: Saturday, October 8th, 2022
- Location: Truist Field | Winston Salem, NC
- Vegas Insider Total Wins: 8
- 2021 Record: 9-4
- Previous Matchup: Wake 70—Army 56 (2021)
- All time vs Wake Forest: 1-6
This should be one of the easier previews to do, because with Army, you know exactly what you’re going to get going into the game. It doesn’t matter what players are returning, who is starting where, or how much experience the players have—Army is coming at you with that triple option attack, and they are running right at you. You know it, they know that you know it, and they are just going to dare you to try and stop it. Every team they play knows exactly what they’re going to do, and they are still top 5 in the nation in rushing yards per game just about every single year because of how hard the option is to stop.
Last year was no different, as Army was 2nd in the nation in rush yards per game with 280 and 1st in the nation with 3.5 rushing touchdowns per game—those averages were greatly helped by their game with Wake Forest, where Army ran for 416 yards and 5 touchdowns. The benefit of the triple option scheme is that it really doesn’t matter what players Army has on the field. They can take a team of mostly 2-star or lower recruits and run all over a team with top talent. They can rotate in any number of players into the backfield, and the offense is just as effective. Recall that in last year’s game vs Wake Forest, Army’s star QB Christian Anderson was knocked out of the game early in the 1st quarter—it didn’t seem to slow them down at all. On top of that, Army had 10 players with over 100 rushing last season yards and every single one of them averaged 3.7 yards per carry or better. The option is definitely a system-based rush by committee scheme, and the Deacs should once again be prepared for a heavy dose of fullback dives up the middle to setup the outside runs.
On defense, it was pretty obvious that the Black Knights just had no idea how to defend the RPO slow mesh offense that Wake Forest uses. Going into the game against the Deacs, Army had the 6th best defense in the nation and had just held Wisconsin to 310 yards of total offense and 20 points the week before. Wake Forest then proceeded to score 70 points and gain 638 yards of offense in just 52 plays. 52 plays and 9 offensive touchdowns means that about 20% of Wake’s plays ended in the endzone, which is kind of absurd. I would have to assume that this year, Army will be a little more prepared to slow Wake down, but partly because I don’t think there is any way they could do much worse than last year. The one guy on the Army defense that really stands out is senior edge rusher Andre Carter II, who racked up 14.5 sacks last season, making him number 1 in the nation in sacks per game. He was named an AP Third Team All-American last season and is starting to get some serious draft buzz, giving him a chance to become the highest-drafted player from a service academy since Mike Wahle in 1998. Definitely a guy to keep your eye on.
Which team figured out how to play defense in the offseason? Because let’s be real, last year’s game probably wouldn’t have looked much different with a bunch of high schoolers out there on defense. Both teams know exactly what the other team is going to do on just about every play, so the challenge is on the defensive coordinators to put their guys in the best position to stop it. Because of Army’s reliance on the run game, the Deacs really only need 1 or 2 stops to force them into an uncomfortable position as long as they keep scoring. I think Wake should be able to run the score up again with no trouble, and, at the very least, make Army run a little clock before they score. A big day from Donavon Greene and A.T. Perry should give the Deacs a win.