Army Georgia St Football

Army running back Tyrell Robinson outruns Georgia State safety Chris Bacon during their game earlier this season in Atlanta. (Ben Margot, Associated Press)

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Army football is making the trip to Camp Randall on Saturday for the program’s first ever meeting with the University of Wisconsin. The Badgers are 14-point favorites against the Black Knights, who were undefeated before losing to Ball State last week. 

If the Black Knights (4-1) defeat UW, it will mark their first win against a Big Ten team in 10 years. 

Here’s five things to know about Army football.

State Journal beat reporter Colten Bartholomew and columnist Jim Polzin discuss Jalen Berger's dismissal and UW's matchup with Army

UW’s first game against Army

This is Army’s only game against a first-time opponent this season, but it was 4-0 last season against teams it never before had played. 

Saturday’s game will be the Badgers’ fourth time playing a service academy and their first since defeating Air Force 38-0 in 1979. Wisconsin is 2-1 all-time against service academies with a 1-0 mark vs. Air Force and 1-1 record against Navy. 

Army runs a triple-option offense 

Service academies often do not have the size that some of their big-time opponents do, but the triple-option offense helps Army control the clock and grind out games. Army runs a flexbone triple-option offense that features multiple players in the backfield. 

Army ranks second in the FBS in rushing with 318.2 yards per game, behind only Air Force. UW has the No. 1 rushing defense at 41.4 yards allowed per game. Army’s philosophy is to run the ball regardless of the situation, which it often is running even in long-yardage situations.

It’s likely to be a fast-paced game 

Both teams love to run the ball, Army with its triple-option offense and UW ranks 30th in rushing offense with 208.8 yards per game. The Badgers had 391 yards rushing in last week’s game against Illinois, but only 100 passing yards. Graham Mertz also has thrown more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (two) this season, so he may be more likely to pass the ball. 

Four different Black Knights have rushed for more than 150 yards this season — quarterback Christian Anderson with 431, running back Tyrell Robinson with 237, running back Jakobi Buchanan with 187 and running back Anthony Adkins with 185.

What will be interesting to see is how UW’s rushing defense, ranked No. 1 in the country, against Army’s rushing offense, ranked No. 2 nationally.  

The defense

The Black Knights finished the 2020 season with the best total defense in the FBS. They currently rank ninth, while UW ranks second. 

Army has recorded an interception in all but one outing this season. It also has limited opponents to 250 yards or less on three different occasions — 177 at Georgia State, 225 vs. Connecticut and 232 vs. Miami (Ohio).

Outside linebacker Andre Carter is the nation’s leader in sacks. He had a single-game high with three at Georgia State and has 7.5 sacks this  season. 

Special teams 

Army has given up two kickoff returns for touchdowns in its past three games, one in a 52-21 win against Connecticut and another in a 28-16 loss to Ball State. 

The Black Knights also are limited in the kicking game. They use two different kickers who are 4 for 4 on field goals this season, but neither has hit from longer than 31 yards. Cole Talley’s career long is 41 yards long and Quinn Maretzki’s is 40 yards.

This article originally ran on madison.com.

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