Date/Time: Saturday, November 26, 12:00 PM ET/11:00 AM CT
Location: McGuirk Alumni Stadium - Amherst, Massachusetts
Betting Line: Army -19.5, O/U 45
All-Time Series Record: Army have won all four of their meetings with UMass, including a 33-17 win in West Point in 2021. This will be Army’s first ever game in Amherst.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
With a current record of 4-6, this season hasn’t quite been what the Black Knights and their fans were hoping for. Of their four wins, only two have been against FBS opponents. Their most recent one came last week against another FBS Independent in the bowl eligible Connecticut Huskies.
Running back Braheam Murphy put up a career-high 124 rushing yards on seven carries in that UConn game for his first career 100-yard performance. QB Tyhier Tyler rushed for two touchdowns, his third game of the season with multiple rushing touchdowns.
“A victory always adds positive momentum,” Jeff Monken told reporters this week. “You never lose momentum if you continue to believe.”
On the other side, three of their losses have been by just one score. They’ll need to maintain that momentum that they have set for themselves to win their last two games of the regular season and qualify for the postseason.
As usual, the Army offense is fueled by the run game. West Point is one of two teams in the country with two games of over 450 yards rushing this season. Army is averaging 301.9 rushing yards per game, which is second best in FBS. They’ll need that group to continue to play well to get another win over the Minutemen.
“That was a tough, hard fought game a year ago and I think that they’re a much improved football team,” Monken said of his opponents this week. “Their third down defense is as good as anybody’s. They’ve got a lot of guys that are new faces. Some veteran players that have played at other colleges, including Power Five schools, that are on their roster. And they’re well coached. Just watch their special teams and the techniques and fundamentals that they play with on special teams. Don Brown is...as good a coach as there is anywhere.”
The 1-10 Minutemen find themselves at #129 in the FBS in terms of total offense with 268.5 yards per game. Only Iowa and New Mexico have been worse, in that regard.
Defensively, the Minutemen are, statistically, significantly better. They are 57th in total defense with 367.7 yards per game and 4045 yards total. The issue, however, is points allowed. The Minutemen have allowed 42 touchdowns this season with an average of 29.1 points per game.
Head coach Don Brown is currently in the first year of his second stint as the leader of the Minutemen. Brown was also the head coach in Amherst from 2004 to 2008 and led the program to their winningest five-year stretch in that time period.
In what will be their final game of the year, UMass has the potential to finish what could be their second consecutive season with only a single win. Since the start of the 2019 season, the Minutemen has won three games total. Their only win of 2022 thus far came against FCS Stony Brook back on September 17. Their most recent loss came against Texas A&M with a 20-3 result in College Station.
“It was a hard-fought game, no question,” Brown said of his team’s most recent loss. “This was the toughest trip that we’ve had...I thought are guys handled [everything] really well, and based on how they handled them, it gave us a chance to play well in the game. And I don’t think there was a lack of effort, energy, in any shape, manner or form, and that’s kind of been the theme of this football team over the last several weeks...the reality is, I see tons of improvement in our team, and obviously, we just have to have it translate to wins.”
Even with Army’s struggles this year, it is hard to imagine them having much trouble with a 1-10 UMass team. Army wins 31-6.