San Jose State Non-Conference Preview: Army
Another tough non-conference game for the Spartans.
During the 6th week of San Jose State’s season, they will play against FBS Independent Army. The game is on Saturday, October, 13th with the kickoff time still to be determined. The game will be televised on one of the ESPN channels.
Coach: Jeff Monken (24-26)
2017 Record: 10-3
2017 Season in Review: Last season was the second 10 win season of all-time for the Black Knights. They have now won two bowl games in consecutive years after beating San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl last season in what was a great game. Army runs the ball almost exclusively on offense as they ran the option very efficiently last year. Last season the defense was not outstanding but they were able to get the job done just enough combined with the fact that they normally do not have to be on the field too long because of the ball control offense. Army finished the year ranked 31st on offense and 80th on defense in S&P+.
Key Players Returning in 2018: QB Kelvin Hopkins Jr., RB Darnell Woolfolk, RB Andy Davidson, C Bryce Holland, LB James Nachtigal, CB Jalen Sharp, S James Gibson
2018 Strengths: When your whole offensive identity is tied to running the ball that has to be one of your strengths. The offense brings back 3,000 yards over the last two seasons from Woolfolk and Davidson. Although the only returning offensive line starter is Bryce Holland, I still believe that Black Knights rushing attack will be a strength for this team. The uniqueness of the offense creates a headache for other teams as they only have about a week to prepare for an offense that forces the defense to be very disciplined to there assignments.
The defense should also be viewed as a strength as they return the bulk of their production from last year. Specifically, the linebackers played great last year and with 3 of the 4 of them returning, including Nachtigal who lead the team in tackles, they should again be a force on the defense.
Army also has a favorable schedule for the 2018 season as only the games at Duke and at Oklahoma have small win probabilities. There are about 4 or 5 games on the Black Knights schedule that look to be toss-ups but at the end of the season, I would be very surprised if they do not go to a bowl game. If the Black Knights do make a bowl game this year, that would be 3 years in a row for the first time in Army football history.
2018 Weaknesses: Finding a replacement for former quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw could be the biggest weakness on the team if one is not found early in the season. Bradshaw was great for Army as he ranks fifth all-time on the career rushing list and had over 1,700 rushing yards last season. But unless a QB is found to replace him it could derail a possible great season for the Black Knights. Some of the options include Junior Kelvin Hopkins who rushed for 7.3 yards per carry and was last season’s back up QB or another option is Senior Luke Langon. Also on the roster is three-star recruit Christian Anderson and Cam Thomas.