Duke vs. Army prediction and game preview. The Blue Devils and Black Knights face off in a non-conference matchup on Saturday in Durham, NC.
Duke vs. Army Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 8 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC
TV Broadcast: ACC Extra
Just one week after Duke (2-3, 0-2 ACC) traveled into South Bend and stunned Notre Dame, the Blue Devils struggled mightily in a home loss to Virginia. Duke turned the ball over six times in a 34-20 loss to the Cavaliers, as Daniel Jones threw five interceptions and fumbled in his own end zone.
Meanwhile, the Black Knights (3-1) had an extra week to prepare for the Blue Devils. The last time we saw Jeff Monken’s squad, it fell to Buffalo 23-20 after blowing a 10-0 halftime lead. The Black Knights’ triple-option attack seemingly stopped working in the fourth quarter, and a turnover led directly to a Buffalo touchdown.
These teams met last year, when the Duke defense forced Army into several mistakes en route to a 44-3 win. The Blue Devils were able to thwart the triple option, and the Black Knights had three bad pitches that the Devils converted into scores. Duke has won eight of the last 10 meetings with Army.
What To Know About Duke
The Blue Devils may have celebrated too hard after their victory over Notre Dame, because last week’s effort against Virginia was very underwhelming. David Cutcliffe’s squad still faces road games at Louisville, Miami and Pittsburgh, so the UVA loss really hurts the Blue Devils’ bowl chances. The team remains susceptible to the big play, as it allowed Cavs quarterback Kurt Benkert to pass for 336 yards last week.
What to Know About Army
The Black Knights allowed Buffalo to score two touchdowns in the final nine minutes of the fourth quarter to force overtime and eventually come out a three-point winner. The Black Knights were previously unbeaten and had not allowed any of their first three opponents to score in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for a season-high 126 yards on 22 carries and led a rushing attack that had 396 yards on the ground. But kicker Blake Wilson missed a 34-yard field goal attempt with three seconds left in regulation, and the Knights fell in OT. Despite the loss, Army has a chance to win six games this year. A victory over Duke would be huge to that cause.
Offense: Even. When Army’s option game is clicking, it’s beautiful to watch. Duke’s offense is solid, as well, but it has to be better at protecting the football.
Defense: Army. The Black Knights’ defense was just as big a reason for the team’s hot start as the offense.
Special Teams: Even. The Black Knights have employed two kickers, and each one has missed two field goals this year. However, the Blue Devils have suffered special teams woes throughout the year as well.
Coaching: Duke. What Cutcliffe has done in Durham is outstanding, but Monken has a chance to take Army bowling. Still, the edge goes to the veteran Blue Devils head coach.
Intangibles: Army. The Black Knights had an extra week to prepare, while the Blue Devils are coming off of a bad loss.
Matchup To Watch
Army’s triple option vs. Duke’s defensive front
In last season’s meeting with the Black Knights, the Duke defense held the option in check, limiting Army to 44 rushing yards on 26 carries in the first half and 113 for the game on 49 tries. Heading into that game, Army was averaging 287.8 rushing yards per game and 5.6 yards per carry. So it was an outstanding defensive effort – an almost stunning performance. If Duke could perform even half as well against the Army option this week, the Blue Devils will be in good shape. Of course, Jones and that offense need to protect the football better than it did last week.
Spread: Duke -7
Duke vs. Army Prediction
This is a tough one to project, but I think the Black Knights’ option attack will be much more successful this time around than it was a year ago. Still, Jones and the Blue Devils’ offense will play a cleaner game and be able to make big plays through the air. The Blue Devils win, but the Black Knights hang around into the last quarter.
Duke vs. Army Score Prediction: Duke 34, Army 27