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The fighting Jeff Monken’s don’t try to fool anybody when they play them. Well, technically they do when they’re running their triple-option offense and try to use disguises, deception, and misdirection to keep the defense off balance – but on the whole, it’s very straightforward what the Black Knights are going to do.
They will start by running. Then once they’ve done that they will run some more. And as soon as the team is dedicated to stopping the run – they will still continue to run.
With maybe a pass or two sprinkled in. And that’s exactly what Army wants to do – just like the actual army. Execute. Strategize. Out X’s and O’s the opponent. Be disciplined. Be tough. And use your chemistry and brotherhood as an advantage by minimizing mistakes and making all the right decisions in the most critical moment.
It’s why the Black Knights don’t have a single rusher who has accumulated more than 610 yards this season yet as a team they have run the ball more than 700 (!!!) times in just 12 games (that’s an average of almost 60 rushes per game).
Not counting the punter, 21 different players for Monken’s team attempted at least one rush this year, but five of them clearly rose above the rest – all rushing 65 times or more and tallying 340 yards or more.
Tyrell Robinson: 66 rushes for 606 yards and three touchdowns
Christian Anderson: 100 rushes for 586 yards and seven touchdowns
Tyhier Tyler: 122 rushes for 478 yards and seven touchdowns
Jakobi Buchanon: 115 rushes for 436 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns
Anthony Adkins: 75 rushes for 347 yards and three touchdowns
That doesn’t bode well for a Missouri defense that was legitimately bad. The Tigers ranked 111th (out of 130) teams in total defense and what makes matters worse is their rush defense was bottom-six in the nation. The Tigers surrendered 30 rushing touchdowns on the season and allowed more than 228 rushing yards per game.
If you’re the Tigers, you know the Black Knights have a goal of possessing the ball, controlling the clock and limiting posessinosio. If you’re the Tigers that means you have to capitalize on your possessions.
That shouldn’t be too difficult – because even though Missouri as a team is mediocre, itss offense is capable of moving the ball.
That all starts with running back Tyler Badie who was arguably the top rushing threat in the SEC this year, became the first Tiger back named to an All-American list in more than 30 years and was a Doak Walker Award finalist.
The senior more than matched his output from the previous three years combined, rushing 268 times for 1,604 yards (6.0 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns. He also was a true threat out of the backfield, catching a team-high 54 passes for 330 yards and four monroe scores.
The Tigers certainly leaned on Badie this year, but quarterback Connor Bazelak, just a sophomore, also demonstrated why there’s reason for optimism moving forward in Columbia.
In his second season as the starter, Bazelak didn’t become a star, but he completed more than 65 percent of his passes and racked up more than 2,500 passing yards. That said his ratio of touchdowns (16) to interceptions (11) gives reason for turnover concerns.
The X-factor for Army is the quarterback, Christian Anderson. He was on the list above as one of the teams leading rushers – nearly 600 yards and seven touchdowns – but he can pass just enough to make teams worry.
Anderson went 28-of-59 throwing this season for 653 yards, five scores, and no interceptions. If he once again can avoid the big mistake.
For Missouri, keep an eye on Keke Chism, the team’s top pass catcher, and a true mismatch. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Chism is a nightmare to handle one on one, which is why he had 447 yards and two scores this season.
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|Army Black Knights vs Missouri Tigers Information|
|Teams||Army Black Knights vs Missouri Tigers|
|Location||Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX|
|Time||Wednesday, Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||ESPN|
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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