Army looks to up­set 8th-ranked Ohio State

Un­beaten, im­proved Black Knights set to face No.8 Buck­eyes’ squad com­ing off smok­ing loss to Ok­la­homa

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mitch Stacy

COLUM­BUS, OHIO » Ohio State play­ers likely will be a lit­tle cranky when Army vis­its for the first time on Satur­day af­ter­noon. The No. 8 Buck­eyes were smoked by Baker May­field and Ok­la­homa at Ohio Sta­dium last week and will be look­ing for an out­let for their frus­tra­tion.

Not to say Army (2-0) isn’t ca­pa­ble of giv­ing the Buck­eyes (11, 1-0 Big Ten) some headaches. It has been one of the most im­proved teams in the na­tion un­der coach Jeff Monken, who was re­warded with a multi-year con­tract ex­ten­sion on Thurs­day.

“Ev­ery­one is say­ing we’re go­ing to get our butts whipped,” said Monken, who led the Black Knights to an 8-5 record last year and the first win over Navy in 15 years. “I’m not walk­ing in here telling the guys to start pre­par­ing for (the fol­low­ing game against) Tu­lane be­cause we’re go­ing to get our butts whipped.

“That’s not the way we’re wired. We’ve got to look at their team and find the things we can do to be suc­cess­ful.”

Army runs a con­found­ing tri-

ple-op­tion at­tack cen­tered on quar­ter­back Ahmad Brad­shaw, who is av­er­ag­ing 162 yards rush­ing af­ter two games to rank sixth na­tion­ally, and 9.5 yards per carry with three TDs.

He has seven 100-yard games in his ca­reer.

Un­for­tu­nately for the Black Knights, the Ohio State de­fen­sive line spe­cial­izes in stuff­ing the run. The Buck­eyes de­fense is No. 13 na­tion­ally, al­low­ing just 60.5 rush­ing yards per game.

It has al­lowed just one rush­ing touch­down.

“There’s just some times where you are go­ing to face peo­ple who are go­ing to do a good job de­fend­ing you,” Monken said. “We’re go­ing to play a team this week­end that is go­ing to be re­ally good at play­ing blocks and at run­ning peo­ple down.”

Keep it on the Ground

Don’t ex­pect to see an aerial show from Army, the worst pass­ing team in the na­tion.

The Black Knights at­tempted just 10 passes in the first two games, com­plet­ing two of them. They av­er­aged less than five com­ple­tions per game for all of last year, with Brad­shaw com­plet­ing 40 of 91 at­tempts.

On the other side of the coin, the Black Knights rank se­cond na­tion­ally in rush­ing with an av­er­age of 417.5 yards per game af­ter home vic­to­ries over Ford­ham and Buf­falo.

Brad­shaw and full­back Dar­nell Wool­folk are a tough 1-2 punch in a scheme de­signed to keep de­fenses guess­ing.

Buck­eyes’ Of­fen­sive Prob­lems Per­sist

Ohio State’s pass­ing game is be­ing plagued by the same prob­lems that tripped it up against bet­ter de­fenses last sea­son: Quar­ter­back J. T. Bar­rett’s lack of ac­cu­racy and re­ceivers un­able to get sep­a­ra­tion, not to men­tion some sus­pect play-call­ing.

Bar­rett missed re­ceivers just about ev­ery way pos­si­ble last week, over­throw­ing them and chuck­ing the ball at their feet. At least two passes were dropped.

A new of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, Kevin Wil­son, and a whole off­sea­son didn’t seem to pro­duce im­prove­ment, so the ques­tion is not a new one: Can Bar­rett get bet­ter or has he reached his peak?

So­cial me­dia is abuzz with calls to re­place Bar­rett with Dwayne Hask­ins, the cur­rent No. 2 quar­ter­back while Joe Bur­row re­cov­ers from a bro­ken hand. But coach Ur­ban Meyer said that’s not go­ing to hap­pen.

Wil­son, who calls the of­fen­sive plays, took much of the blame for de­ba­cle this week.

“I was aw­ful Satur­day,” Wil­son ac­knowl­edged. “At the end of the day, I think I just got to do a bet­ter job of piec­ing it to­gether, an­tic­i­pat­ing and some prac­tice things to get us in rhythm and what we’re go­ing to em­pha­size and gain some con­fi­dence and gain some mo­men­tum and ef­fi­ciency as an of­fense, in­stead of be­ing all over the place.”

Ohio State is still sting­ing from the thump­ing by Ok­la­homa at home last week and try­ing to solve some prob­lems with its pass­ing game and de­fense. Army is much im­proved un­der coach Jeff Monken and even came from be­hind to beat Buf­falo last week, but the Black Knights will have trou­ble be­ing com­pet­i­tive with the Buck­eyes. Keep­ing the score close would be a moral vic­tory. Af­ter the hu­mil­i­a­tion of last week, Ohio State can use a solid, feel-good home win. Key Matchup Army’s triple-op­tion against the Ohio State de­fense. The Black Knights are the worst pass­ing team in the na­tion but rank se­cond na­tion­ally in rush­ing with an av­er­age of 417.5 yards per game af­ter home vic­to­ries over Ford­ham and Buf­falo. Se­nior QB Ahmad Brad­shaw and full­back Dar­nell Wool­folk are a tough 1-2 punch and dif­fi­cult to con­tain. With one of the best de­fen­sive lines in the na­tion, the Buck­eyes spe­cial­ize in stuff­ing the run. Play­ers To Watch Army: Brad­shaw is op­er­at­ing at a high level, av­er­ag­ing 162 yards per game to rank sixth na­tion­ally, and 9.5 per carry with three TDs. He has seven 100-yard games in his ca­reer. Ohio State: RB J.K. Dob­bins ran for 181 yards in week one and an­other 72 yards last week split­ting time with Mike We­ber. The true fresh­man is spe­cial, pos­sess­ing slick moves and break­away speed. We­ber’s ham­string con­tin­ued to bother him last week and he’s still not 100 per­cent.

Army has not de­feated a ranked team since a 17-14 win over No. 15 Air Force on Nov. 4, 1972 . ... The Black Knights have at­tempted just 10 passes in the first two games and com­pleted two . ... The Ohio State de­fense is al­low­ing just 60.5 rush­ing yards per game and has al­lowed just one touch­down on the ground. ... Ohio State QB J.T. Bar­rett needs 670 pass­ing yards to become the school’s all-time leader . ... Ohio State WR Austin Mack is prob­a­ble af­ter suf­fer­ing an ap­par­ent con­cus­sion last week against Ok­la­homa. His head banged off the turf when he came down with a side­line catch.

AP FILE

Army quar­ter­back Ahmad Brad­shaw, cen­ter, drops back from the line of scrimmage in the first half against Navy last sea­son. Army runs a con­found­ing triple-op­tion at­tack cen­tered on Brad­shaw, who is av­er­ag­ing 162 yards af­ter two games to rank sixth na­tion­ally, and 9.5 yards per carry with three TDs.

DARRON CUMMINGS — ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ohio State quar­ter­back J.T. Bar­rett runs dur­ing the se­cond half of game against In­di­ana.

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