Following a 3-1 start and a double-overtime loss to then-No. 7 Michigan, Army looked poised for another strong season. But five straight losses, including four by nine points or less, have derailed their hopes for another double-digit win campaign. Suddenly, the Black Knights (3-6) will be forced to win three of their final four games in order to qualify for a bowl game. Can Army bounce back and cover the spread in a winnable matchup at home against UMass on Saturday?
UMass drops to 1-8 after another blowout lossUMass proved to be no match for Liberty in a 63-21 loss at home last week. Andrew Brito had one of his best games of the season, completing 16-of-27 for 124 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while Cam Robinson added 73 yards and a score on the ground for the Minutemen, who were outgained 730 to 240 in terms of total offense on the day.
UMass football coach Walt Bell talks about the play of quarterback Andrew Brito after Saturday's game with UConn. pic.twitter.com/KGdy5NUf7u— Howard Herman (@howardherman) October 26, 2019
For Brito, it was just the second time this season that he’s thrown more than one touchdown in a game and it was his first start without an interception. The junior signal-caller comes in with 656 passing yards, six touchdowns and five picks so far this season.
After rushing for 251 yards and three touchdowns over the previous two weeks combined, Bilal Ally was absent from last week’s game plan. He ran just three times for six yards and was a non-factor against Liberty. Ally still leads the team in rushing with 634 yards and six touchdowns while averaging a healthy 5.6 yards per carry.
While the offense has scored 21 points or more in three straight games, it’s hard to find a positive for the Minutemen on the other side of the ball. On defense, UMass is giving up a whopping 52.0 points, 572.2 yards of total offense and nearly 270.8 rushing yards per game -- all of which rank dead-last in the FBS. They also allowed opposing offenses to convert 50.9 percent of their third-downs, which ranks 128th in the nation.
Army can't punch in victory vs. Air ForceArmy lost to Air Force 17-13 last week to extend their current losing streak to five games. The Black Knights came up empty on a 4th-down in the red zone with 33 seconds left after quarterback Jabari Laws set up Army with 1st-and-goal at the 7-yard line. Laws got hurt on the play and was replaced by former starter Kelvin Hopkins Jr., who was unable to get the ball into the end zone. Laws finished with 211 passing yards and a touchdown to go along with 51 yards and a score on the ground in the loss.
Army linebacker Cole Christiansen had a career-high 16 tackles in the loss and now has 89 tackles this season. He leads a defense that comes into this week allowing 22.6 points and 351.8 yards of total offense per game, including 170 yards per game on the ground. The Black Knights were gashed for 328 rushing yards last week, marking the second time during the current slide that they’ve surrendered at least 300 yards on the ground.
While the Black Knights were unable to capture their third straight Commander-In-Chief;’s Trophy, which goes to the service academy with the best record in the round-robin competition, they can still retain the prize if they beat Navy on Dec. 14. Army can still qualify for a bowl game by winning three of their final four contests, beginning with a winnable matchup this week against UMass.
- Minutemen are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Minutemen are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game.
- Minutemen are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games.
- Black Knights are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.