The Army Black Knights began their 2015 season with an upsetting defeat at the hands of the FCS-level Fordham University Rams.
Also having issues with a fellow FCS team were the University of Connecticut Huskies, who managed to actually win their game, 20-15.
Now both teams will meet at Pratt and Whitney Stadium's Rentschler Field in East Hartford, CT.
The Huskies will be looking to avenge their 35-21 loss to Army last November when they allowed 325 rushing yards to the Cadets.
Still, the Huskies had a chance to tie the game at 28. Late in the fourth quarter, UConn recovered an onside kick and drove the ball down to the Army six yard line. But Huskies QB Chandler Whitmer was picked off by Army cornerback Chris Carnegie, who returned the ball 99 yards for the game clinching touchdown.
Both teams have a different look for this season and new players and aspects to watch. Let's take a look.
What to Watch
Army's special teams were brutal against Fordham while UConn had some issues of their own as well. Army's mishaps led to a safety for Fordham and Edgar Poe's fumble at Army's 35 yard line denied the team a much needed late game possession.
The Huskies had an extra point blocked and gave up a big kick return late in the contest against Villanova.
Needless to say, whoever makes the least amount of mistakes on special teams will probably come out of this game with a victory.
Huskies head coach Bob Diaco believes his team needs to take Army's fullbacks out of the triple option equation. It's a good strategy to have as Fordham limited the fullbacks to 46 yards on nine carries and walked away with a win.
Army quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw needs to spread the ball out to his slotbacks and the fullbacks to keep the Cadets' triple option attack effective. If not, he'll be forced to carry the ball 20 times again and the offense will become one-dimensional for the second straight week. Though with the way Bradshaw played, that may not be the worst thing in the world.
On defense, Huskies redshirt sophomore lineback Junior Joseph and Army junior linebacker Jeremy Timpf each led their teams with nine tackles.
They'll each have to contend with young quarterbacks as Bradshaw made his impressive debut against Fordham while redshirt sophomore Bryant Shirreffs put up 202 passing yards with two touchdowns and an interception against Villanova.
The Army secondary will have to do a much better job in coverage this week against the Huskies than they did against Fordham. The Black Knight defense allowed 322 passing yards last week and face a match-up disaster against redshirt sophomore tight end Tommy Myers. At 6'5, Myers towers over Army's starting linebackers Timpf, Alex Aukerman, Andrew King, and Bayle Wolf. Each of those players stand at either 6'1 or 6'0.
How to Watch
The game is slated for a noon kickoff this Saturday (9/12). For those of you not in the Hartford area and therefore cannot make it to the game, the contest will be broadcast nationally on the CBS Sports Network.
If you cannot watch the game, there are many radio options. Knight Vision subscribers can listen to the action (no stream) via the website, while Sirius will carry the game on channel 118 and XM will carry it on channel 202. WBNR 1260AM in the Beacon, N.Y. area will also have the action.
If you have the TuneIn App, you can listen to the game on WBNR or UConn's broadcasts on WTIC Newstalk 1080, Willimantic's WILI 1400-AM, New Haven's WAVZ 1300-AM and WGCH 1490-AM in Greenwich.
If you are in the area, UConn is giving out discounted prices for veterans. Enter the promo code "USA" when purchasing the tickets at uconntickets.com. Although, you'll be quarantined to the 200-level corner seats by doing so.
As of the writing of this post, there are no publicized (legal) streams to watch.
UConn is favored by 7.5 points against Army and it's hard to argue that point.
Army's defense was a train wreck against Fordham. They also made more mistakes than the Rams, who made plenty of errors themselves, and it cost the Cadets the game.
The over/under is 47, with the way Army's defense played last week taking the over is a sure thing. The Black Knights should be able to move the ball on the young Huskies defense as well.
The key here will be Army's coverage and Bradshaw continuing to develop into a triple option quarterback and therefore spread the ball out to his backs more often.
Army 35, UConn 34