Army head coach Jeff Monken has been on the job for less than 10 months, but he’s already facing his first losing streak after the Black Knights lost to Yale 49-43 on Saturday.
Since opening the season with a win over Buffalo, Army lost road games at No. 14 Stanford, Wake Forest and Yale, but a favorable schedule should make October less scary for the Black Knights.
Led by the backfield trio of quarterback Angel Santiago and running backs Larry Dixon and A.J. Schurr, the Black Knights face Ball State, Rice and Kent State this month, teams with a combined 2-7 record.
Dixon, Santiago and Schurr combined to rush for 809 yards and five touchdowns on 133 carries. The Black Knights are ninth nationally in rush offense.
Army opens October on Saturday by hosting Ball State (1-3). The game kicks off at 11 a.m. and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Though Ball State is a primarily running team, it was balanced last week in a 34-23 loss to Mid-American Conference member Toledo. Protection has been an issue for the Cardinals as quarterback Ozzie Mann has been sacked six times.
Rice (1-3) comes into Michie Stadium on Oct. 11 at 11 a.m. on the CBS Sports Network.
Though both teams have strong run games, this could come down to which squad can make a play through the air, move the chains and keep possession. Both Army and Rice are among the nation’s worse passing defense as the Black Knights allow 287 passing yards per game while the Owls are giving up 329 per game.
Army does go on the road to Kent State (0-4) on Oct. 18 for a 2:30 p.m. kickoff. Though nothing at the Football Bowl Subdivision is a guarantee, that matchup is the closest Army will have in the month against a Golden Flash team that doesn’t do a lot well.
Kent State’s pass offense is ranked 97th nationally with 200 yards per game, it’s rush offense is ranked 127th with only 44 yards per contest, its scoring offense is ranked 127th with a mere 10 points per game and its scoring defense is 114th nationally allowing 37.8 points per game.
There should also be plenty of room at Dix Stadium, KSU’s home field, as the Golden Flashes had 22,754 fans at their home opener on Aug. 30 and saw that crowd drop to 15,355 a week later. It’s a strong possibility that Kent State will enter the Army game 0-5, which will do nothing to boost hometown fan morale.