Publish date:

The Citadel vs. Army West Point Football Prediction and Preview

The Citadel vs. Army West Point Football Prediction and Preview

The Citadel vs. Army West Point Football Prediction and Preview

The Army Black Knights improved to 3-1 with a 55-23 victory over Abilene Christian last week and look to continue their winning ways Saturday against The Citadel Bulldogs on Saturday. The win helped Army move past the disappointment of its 24-10 loss to Cincinnati a week earlier. Meanwhile, The Citadel comes in with a 0-3 record following a 37-14 loss to Eastern Kentucky. The date with the Black Knights is the last game of a shortened fall season for the Bulldogs, which also lost to FBS opponents USF (27-6) and Clemson (49-0) in September.

The Citadel at Army West Point

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 10 at 1:30 p.m. ET

TV: CBS Sports Network

Spread: Army -30.5

When The Citadel Has the Ball

Much like Army, The Citadel likes to lean heavily on its running game. Three Bulldogs have surpassed 100 rushing yards this season, led by running back Keefe White's 150. White, who has carried the football just 23 times, has averaged 6.5 yards per carry and has also caught two passes for 40 yards. Fellow running back Emeka Nwanze has run for 134 yards on 33 attempts (4.1 yards per carry), and quarterback Brandon Rainey has added 127 yards on the ground and has scored the team's only rushing touchdown on a team-high 52 attempts.

Rainey has struggled as a passer, having completed just eight of 36 attempts (22.2 percent) for 158 yards (4.4 yards per pass attempt) and one touchdown. He has been intercepted and sacked twice apiece. Jaylan Adams, who could also see action against Army, is 0-for-2 as a passer and has been sacked four times, yet has still accounted for 79 rushing yards on 19 attempts.

Recommended Articles

Receiver Ryan McCarthy leads the Bulldogs with four receptions and 90 yards. Raleigh Webb, arguably the team's best all-around playmaker, was on the receiving end of Rainey's touchdown pass. Webb has also been a factor as a runner with 53 yards on three carries, including a 41-yarder that is the longest play from scrimmage for The Citadel this year, and a thrower, with a 38-yard completion to McCarthy the team's longest pass play.

When Army Has the Ball

Surprise, surprise: Army runs the football more than any other team in college football, having averaged an FBS-high 57.5 rushing attempts per game to date. The Black Knights lead the country with 16 rushing touchdowns and rank No. 2 nationally in rushing offense (350.5 yards per game) behind only Air Force (369.0), which has played just once. The Black Knights have averaged 6.1 yards per carry, which ranks fifth nationally.

Army starting quarterback Christian Anderson is questionable to play for the Black Knights this week after suffering a leg injury against Abilene Christian. Anderson ranks second on the team with 239 rushing yards and three touchdowns and has completed 11-of-28 pass attempts (39.3 percent) for 122 yards (4.4 yards per attempt) with zero touchdowns and one interception. If Anderson can't go, Jemel Jones would likely receive his first career start. Jones is 5-for-9 with 81 yards and one touchdown pass and has run for 188 yards (on 7.83 yards per carry) and two touchdowns — both coming in his 138-yard performance a week ago.

Though the Black Knights' triple-option offense runs through the quarterback, a deep stable of running backs boosts the attack. True freshman slotback Tyrell Robinson, who is also the team's kick and punt returner, sits atop the team leaderboard with 253 yards on the ground and an eye-popping 12.65 yards per carry. Fullback Sandon McCoy leads the team with five rushing touchdowns but ranks fifth in rushing yards (148), one spot behind Jakobi Buchanan (180 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns), and one spot ahead of Anthony Adkins (124 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns).

Final Analysis

With linebacker Jon Rhattigan and defensive back Cedrick Cunningham Jr. leading the way, the Black Knights have held opponents to just 13.5 points per game, which ranks No. 8 on the FBS leaderboard, and 4.95 yards per play, which ranks 17th. And given Army's knowledge of the triple option, the unit should continue to play well against the less talented Bulldogs. The Citadel has struggled to stop anyone to date, so even with the possibility of a backup quarterback under center, we can expect another easy Army victory.

Image placeholder title

Prediction: Army 37, The Citadel 7

— Written by Nicholas Ian Allen, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and managing editor of CFB Winning Edge. Follow him on Twitter @CFBWinningEdge.

(Jemel Jones photo courtesy of goarmywestpoint.com)