2022 Army Black Knights Preview

by Matt Fargo

Army Black Knights

2021-22 Season Record 9-4 (N/A) - 6-7-0 ATS - 5-8-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 6
Defense - 8

Overview

Head coach Jeff Monken took over in 2014 after Army had one winning record in its previous 16 seasons and following  two rebuilding years, the Black Knights have had winning seasons in five of the last six years including four bowl wins after having three in the history of the program before this. Army went 9-4 last season and it could have been better as the Black Knights lost focus in a loss at Ball St., lost by just six points to Wisconsin, fell in a shootout against Wake Forest and dropped its rivalry game against Navy by four points. Six of the nine wins were by double-digits and more of that can be expected against a fairly soft slate. Over the last three years, Army has improved in the final rankings, finishing No. 89 in 2019, No. 66 in 2020 and No. 43 in 2021 and the 2022 version is an all-around better team that should keep the program moving forward even more.

Offense

The Black Knights have been one of the most successful running teams over recent years and that is not going to change. They finished No. 2 in the country in rushing offense with 280.6 ypg on 4.8 ypc which was only No. 32 overall so they will look to improve that average. Army loses starting quarterback Christian Anderson, who was second on the team in rushing, but Tyhier Tyler takes over with plenty of experience and he led the team in rushing in 2020 with 502 yards. His backfield is fully intact led by slotback Tyrell Robinson and fullback Jakobi Buchanan. The offensive line brings back their left tackle and center but have to replace the other three positions which is not a big deal for a team that rotated in and out. The passing game is pretty much non-existent as it threw the ball only 110 times but averaged 20.6 yards per completion which was second highest in the nation.

Defense

After finishing No. 2 in total defense in 2020, Army took a slight step back last season, allowing 320.8 ypg which was good for No. 15 in the country which is still outstanding. The Black Knights bring back eight starters on defense including both ends, three linebackers and three from the secondary. Defensive end Andre Carter is the anchor of the unit and is a legitimate top NFL draft pick and the linebackers bring back a ton of experience and hard hitting tacklers. The weakness is in the secondary as Army finished No. 72 in pass efficiency defense and will be vulnerable against strong passing attacks but those will be few and far between in 2022. The biggest issue the Black Knights have to shore up is the red zone defense as they allowed 29 scores, including 22 touchdowns in 31 opponent trips and that 94 percent clip was No. 125 in the nation after finishing No. 2 in 2020.

2022 Season Outlook

Once a punching back as an Independent, Army has turned the corner under Monken as he develops players the right way and any gaps moving forward are usually replaced with players with at least some experience. Getting notoriety as an Independent is tough if you are not named Notre Dame but Army is now a noteworthy challenger on most opposing schedules. The slate this season has the potential for a double-digit win season as it is loaded with games Army will be favored in. It faces two FCS teams, Villanova will be a challenge, two poor Independents in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and of course Air Force and Navy, both on a neutral field. Four of the remaining six games are against the Sun Belt with UTSA and Wake Forest mixed in. As long as the Black Knights take care of what they should, the O/U win total of 8 -115 should be surpassed once again. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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