Army (0-2) at Wake Forest (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 22, 12:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: BB&T Field (31,500) -- Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Television: ACC Network. Home Record: Army 0-1, Wake Forest 2-0. Away Record: Army 0-1, Wake Forest 0-1. Neutral Record: Army 0-0, Wake Forest 0-0. Conference Record: Army 0-0, Wake Forest 1-1. Series Record: Wake Forest leads 7-4.
GAME NOTES: Coming off a trouncing in conference play last weekend, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons will try to regroup as they host the Army Black Knights in Saturday afternoon action at BB&T Field.
Through the first two games of the season Army has been unable to get in the win column. The Knights were routed 42-7 on a west coast trip to face San Diego State and this past weekend fell in a 41-40 thriller at home to Northern Illinois. The loss to the Huskies ended a three-game home winning streak by the Knights and came despite a +3 advantage for Army in the turnover department. Not really known for a high powered offense, the 81 combined points in the game were the most for Army since 2003.
Wake Forest managed to secure victories in each of its first two games but that momentum was put to a halt in week three. The Demon Deacons traveled to Tallahassee and were thrashed 52-0 by a nationally ranked Florida State squad. The Demon Deacons are now 6-25 all-time against ranked opponents under head coach Jim Grobe. The last time the Demon Deacons were shutout occurred in 2010, also against the Seminoles.
These teams have matched up 11 times since the first meeting during Army's 1945 national championship season. The Demon Deacons hold a 7-4 edge in the series and have won five straight, including a 21-10 win during the 2007 season, the last time these squads squared off in Winston-Salem.
Though it has only played two games so far this season Army has still managed to be one of the top rushing offenses in the country. A squad that relies on an option scheme, the Black Knights have rushed for 768 yards through the first two games, which is the second only to Air Force among teams with only two contests and 13th among all teams.
That impressive rushing attack was on display against Northern Illinois with three different players rushing for over 100 yards and the team racking up a total of 486 yards on the ground. It was the first time since 1996 that Army had three different players reach the century mark on the ground in one game. Raymond Maples was the lead back in the game, finishing with 159 yards and a score. Larry Dixon (136 yards) and Trent Steelman (129) also piled up the carries and yards while scoring a combined five touchdowns.
Steelman is also the squad's quarterback though the passing game is severely limited in Army's offense and was so again against the Huskies. Steelman threw the ball only three times for one eight-yard completion. Those eight yards were the entirety of the Black Knight's aerial attack.
Even without much of a passing game Army still managed to find success converting on third down (9-for-17), fourth down (3-for-5) and inside the red zone, where the Knights scored four touchdowns in four trips.
Army's defense was not able to hold up well enough to stop Northern Illinois. The Knights surrendered 515 total yards, including 342 through the air. Army was also unable to get much pressure going without a sack in the game while allowing the Huskies to convert 8-of-9 attempts on third down.
Despite those shortcomings the game remained close with Army dominating time of possession, holding the ball for 42:33 as well as forcing three turnovers on defense while committing none as a team.
Nate Combs forced a fumble and had the team's only tackle for loss and Tyler Dickson had an interception. Geoffery Bacon led the team with nine total tackles.
After being shutout by Florida State, Wake Forest is now the lowest scoring team in the ACC with the squad averaging 16.0 points per game. The Demon Deacons, who were held to just 126 yards in the loss, now rank above only Maryland in the conference in yards per game (281.7).
Before he was sacked three ties and constantly under pressure against the Seminoles, quarterback Tanner Price was having a solid season. The signal caller completed only 8-of-22 passes for 82 yards in the loss, but has still thrown for 604 yards. Price has only thrown one touchdown on the season, though and has been picked off twice and his 58.0 percent completion percentage is seventh in the ACC among quarterbacks who have at least 59 attempts.
Junior running back Josh Harris rushed for 51 yards, which was a team-high, in the loss to Florida State though the majority of that came on a 34-yard run in the first quarter. Overall the Demon Deacons had only 43 yards on the ground with a number of negative rushing plays. Wake Forest's 205 total rushing yards this season is at the bottom of the ACC.
Getting lit up for 52 points clearly isn't a positive sign for the defense. The unit allowed 612 total yards to the Seminoles, giving up 27 first downs while the offense managed only seven. Wake Forest is now allowing 467.7 yards and 32.0 points per game which are both the worst marks in the conference.
Brandon Chubb led the unit on the day with seven total tackles, including one for loss. Kris Redding forced a fumble and had a pair of sacks as well.
Despite its low ranking among the statistical leaders in the ACC, Wake Forest is not nearly as bad as the Florida State loss would indicate. Against a one- dimensional Army team, especially one that has lost nine straight road games, the Demon Deacons should be able to improve their defensive numbers and open up offensively.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wake Forest 28, Army 20
09/19 10:42:47 ET