Last season the Army Black Knights made a habit of letting the FCS teams do a little too much. They were dominated by Yale and then allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter against Fordham.
Army prevailed 42 to 31, but the frequency of the Rams scoring was certainly alarming for the Cadets.
Now Army begins their 2015 campaign against the same Fordham University Rams at the friendly confines of Michie Stadium's Blaik Field. However the team will look completely different than from the last time the two schools clashed.
What to look for
The Rams feature running back, sophomore Chase Edmunds, will be the Fordham offense this year. Especially the first few games of the season. After his 1,838 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns 2014 campaign, Edmunds received the Jerry Rice award as the most outstanding FCS player. So expect Edmunds to get the ball early and often.
Not only will Edmunds get more carries because of his skill, but also because the Rams lost practically all of their wide receivers. Their leading returning wideout, Robbie Cantelli, mustered only 37 yards on two catches last year. So the aerial attack will be a work in progress for Fordham.
To hurt the passing game even more the offense also lost quarterback Mike Nebrich. However, head coach Joe Moorhead will go with 2014 Marshall-transfer Kevin Anderson at quarterback. Moorhead compares Anderson with Nebrich and had a season to study under the former starter.
So while Army will want to shut down Edmunds, they'll have Anderson to keep the defense honest. This is where Army's secondary, chiefly Chris Carnegie, will play a big role in keeping the Rams one dimensional.
If the Black Knights can keep Anderson from making any unexpected big plays then all they'll have to worry about is Edmunds, who Army will have to focus on all night.
On defense, Fordham lost 10 of 11 starters. However, linebacker Stephen Hodge returns after missing all of last season with a knee injury. In 2013, Hodge made 124 tackles, 16 of which for a loss, en route to winning the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year.
With a brand new defense, Army can take advantage of the Rams inexperience by establishing the option early and going for some deep passing plays to keep the defense off guard.
The forecast is calling for some rain early on with a temperature of 77 degrees, and winds up to 8 mph from the northeast. This will aid in more ground work but likely result in some early turnovers if the weather is as predicted.
How to Watch
If you don't have a ticket for the game. CBS Sports Network will air the contest tonight at 7. The game will also be broadcast on the Army Sports Radio Network.
As far as streams go, Knight Vision will stream every home game. If you are currently active or reserve duty military with a still active .mil e-mail you can get the subscription for free. Otherwise, it's $6.95 for a 24-hour subscription, $9.95 for a monthly, and $79.95 for a yearly pass.
If you are a cord-cutting Army football fan and not interested in the yearly expenditure, get the monthly and cancel after the Nov. 21 contest against Rutgers at Michie. The subscription automatically renews and will cost you $29.85 for their five home games (about $4.97 a game, nearly two dollars cheaper than the 24-hour pass).
Since there isn't a spread to go along with this game, I'll make a prediction.
Both teams have had their share of turnover, but Fordham's may just be too much to overcome. With Edmunds at running back the Rams should be able to control the ball some and rack up some points.
However, it may not be a cakewalk, especially early, since Ahmad Bradshaw is playing in his first NCAA college football game so he may have some jitters that the offense will have to iron out.
I expect that this will be a close game in the first half and then Army will pull away after halftime
Army 35 Fordham 21