ACU faces one of the biggest challenges in its program history as they head to West Point, New York to play one of the top teams in the nation, the Black Knights of Army.
“We are going to one of the most historic institutions in the United States to play a football game,” said head coach Adam Dorrel, “against a team I have the utmost respect for. We got to go up there and be aggressive and play hard. Our players are very excited and looking forward to the challenge.”
Army, who is 2-1 this season, lost its first game Saturday to No. 14 Cincinnati, 24-10. This caused the Black Knights to fall out of the Top 25, after being ranked number 22 the week before. Along with Army being one of the top teams in the nation, they rank first in rushing yards per game, fourth in total defense and fifth in rushing defense in the nation.
“Army is really aggressive on defense,” said Dorrel, “They did somethings they did not do in their first two games. They played a lot more man coverage and blitz a lot plus forced Cincinnati to feel uncomfortable in their run game. Then the diversity of their offense, throwing the ball more than what we have seen and some new formations.”
As for the Wildcats, leading the way on the on the offensive was senior quarterback Peyton Mansell, who threw for 197 yards on 13/20 passing. Some things that became problematic for ACU in its game against UTEP was turnovers and penalties, which ultimately led to lost possessions and the loss of the game.
One of the big focuses Dorrel has for the Wildcats this game is capitalizing on each snap on both sides of the football.
“I really try to get the guys in the mindset that every snap counts in college football, and it really does,” said Dorrel. “You cannot have negative plays, you need to get rid of penalties and take care of the football. Then on the flip side on defense, you have to try to create some negative plays and try to get them to put the ball on the ground. We have to go up there and be aggressive knowing we not going to have many snaps.”
Along with capitalizing on every snap, the Wildcats still have another setback to face. Injuries and sickness have been prevalent on the Wildcats roster. One of those injuries belonging to junior wide receiver Kobe Clark, and whether or not he will play is a game time decision. Clark missed the season-opener due to an undisclosed injury.
One player that has started to fill some empty roles is junior quarterback Sema’j Davis, who Dorrel has praised for his versatility.
“Unequivocally, he is the most gifted football player on our team from a football IQ standpoint,” said Dorrel. “He is able to play running back, quarterback, slot, wide receiver and special teams. He is one of the most diverse players we got, so when anyone goes down, he is the one that gets plugged in there. But he does not care, he is so selfless, and he just wants to play.”
The Wildcats and Black Knights will kickoff at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, and it will be broadcast through the CBS Sports Network.
“Anytime any sport gets on national television, it does more than just help the athletic department,” said Dorrel. “It helps our school in general. We are very excited to have that opportunity, and we want to represent ACU in a positive light.”