• Erin Summers

Army Drops Road Game to Wisconsin, Undefeated Wake Forest Next

by Erin Summers

The Army Black Knights visited Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin week seven for a match-up against BIG10 team the Wisconsin Badgers, in what Head Coach Jeff Monken said would be the toughest test all year.

Army came into the game expecting a physical battle at the line, as both schools are ranked top in the league in rushing on both sides of the ball. Army was ranked #4 in rushing defense, Wisconsin #3, and the Badgers were ranked in the top 25 in rushing offense, while Army held the #2 spot behind Air Force.

The Black Knights' defense welcomed the challenge, forcing a turnover on the Badgers' first drive -- the third time this season the Black Knights have forced a turnover on the opponent's opening drive.

Army Black Knights' senior linebacker Malkelm Morrison tackles Univ. of Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi during the college football game on October 16, 2021 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI
Army Black Knights' senior linebacker Malkelm Morrison tackles Univ. of Wisconsin Badgers running back Chez Mellusi during the college football game on October 16, 2021 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI

"I'm so proud of the guys and how they fought and battled," Army Head Coach Jeff Monken said. "I thought our defense played really, really well."

Wisconsin regrouped after Army linebacker Andre Carter's strip sack on the first drive, scoring twice in the second quarter, while at the same time shutting down Army's offense. The Black Knights only mustered 48 yards of offense in the first half, and the score was 13-0, Badgers, at halftime.

"There's no offense, and certainly not ours, that's gonna work if you don't block 'em," Monken said.

The second half was much different: Army's defense stopped the Badgers on three straight drives and allowed Wisconsin only 80 yards of total offense the rest of the game.

"That was right where we wanted to be with a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter," Carter said. "Playing against a team like this in the environment like they have, that's really all you can ask for, is a chance to win it at the end. But we weren't able to get that done."

Army found its running game too. The Black Knights scored on junior quarterback Tyheir Tyler's 5-yard rush to open the fourth, cutting the Badger lead to 13-7.

However, on the next Army drive senior quarterback Jabari Laws fumbled after being sacked and Wisconsin cashed in with an easy score from one yard out, a scoring drive that only took one play.

The Black Knights would score again on their last drive of the game, but it wasn't enough, as Army fell short 20-14.

"Our team kept fighting," said Marquel Broughton, Army's junior safety. "That shows that we can persevere and we can continue to love one another and trust one another and push each other to keep fighting 'til the end."

"Our guys expect to win the game," Monken added, "and that's just that's just the way they roll. They have a great trust in each other and a love for each other. They're committed and they believe that when we play a football game that they're going to win, and I believe that too. I fully believe we were going to win, and so we're disappointed, but that's a great mentality to have as a team."

Army held Wisconsin to 310 yards -- their second lowest offensive output this season -- with only Michigan holding the Badgers to less. The Black Knights' 179 yards rushing against Wisconsin is the most the Badgers have allowed on the ground since Week 12 of the 2019 season.

Despite the positives, the Black Knights aren't happy with the outcome and must now turn their focus to the upcoming game against Wake Forest.

The undefeated Demon Deacons are led by quarterback Sam Hartman, who is coming off his best game yet: 330 yards through the air and four touchdowns. Hartman continues to get better, increasing his passing totals in each game this season. Wake Forest is averaging 441 yards of total offense and out-scoring their opponents by 17 points per game.

The Demon Deacons are coming off a bye week, which has given Wake Forest extra time to prepare for Army and the triple option.

"When you play a top-25 team, a team that everybody's talking about -- and deservingly so -- is both a huge challenge and an opportunity for us," Monken said of Army's next opponents.

After starting 4-0 in conference play for the first time in program history, the Demon Deacons are the first ACC team to become bowl-eligible. The Black Knights will look to play the upset bid, taking down the No. 16 team in the country, and one of only 11 undefeated teams left in college football.

After two straight losses, the Black Knights are looking forward to being back home in Michie Stadium: a place they haven't lost in for almost two years.

Linebacker Andre Carter heads into the match-up as the nation's sack leader, with 8.5 total sacks through six games. We'll see if he can add to that total against the 6-0 Demon Deacons.

edited for web by Joe Harman