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Today at No. 112: ARMY Coach: Jeff Monken (4-8, entering second season; 42-24 overall record) 2014 record: 4-8, Independent Look back: Army opened its...

college football pickToday at No. 112: ARMY

Coach: Jeff Monken (4-8, entering second season; 42-24 overall record)

2014 record: 4-8, Independent

Look back: Army opened its first campaign under Jeff Monken with a win over Buffalo. It was the second straight season the program opened with a victory. However, that success was short-lived as Army dropped three in a row — all on the road. Wins over Ball State, UConn and Fordham were overshadowed by double-digit losses to Rice, Kent State, Air Force and Western Kentucky. Army wrapped up the season with a tough loss to Navy, marking the 13th straight time Army has lost to the Midshipmen.

Offensive starters returning: 5

Offensive starters lost: 6

Defensive starters returning: 4

Defensive starters lost: 7

Key losses: QB Angel Santiago, FB Larry Dixon, RB Terry Baggett, RB Ramond Maples, RB Terry Giovannelli, DE Joe Drummond, NG Richard Glover, DT Mike Ugenyi, DE James Kelly

Top returnees: OL Matt Hugenberg, OL Drew Hennessy, LB Jeremy Timpf, LB Andrew King, CB Josh Jenkins, CB Chris Carnegie, S Rhyan England

Strengths: Army returns a wealth of experience on the offensive line, but the group lacks consistency. Injuries forced the program to use 11 different players on the line and that bench participation that could come in handy in 2015. Center Matt Hugenberg anchors the group after starting all 12 games in 2014. He’ll be joined by Justin Gilbert, who missed all of last season while recovering from a knee injury, plus Drew Hennessy, Corey Hobbs and Ryan Alexander, along with Stefan Moreau and Colby Enegren.

Linebackers Andrew King and Jeremy Timpf will roam the middle of Army’s defense. Timpf led the team in tackles (117) and tackles for loss (14.5). Cornerbacks Josh Jenkins and Chris Carnegie return to solidify a secondary that allowed 237 yards per game last season.

Weaknesses:
A.J. Schurr missed the spring while nursing a shoulder injury, but the senior is expected to replace departed starter Angel Santiago at quarterback. Schurr saw limited action last season as a backup, accounting for just 562 yards of total offense with four total touchdowns. Sophomore Ahmad Bradshaw, who is listed as Schurr’s backup, could see action as well.

A key piece of Army’s triple-option attack is the running back, which makes the losses of Larry Dixon, Raymond Maples and Terry Baggett so critical. The talented trio accounted for 1,784 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground and along with Santiago, made up the bulk of the Black Knights’ offense.

Monken and his staff must replace the entire defensive line with the exits of Joe Drummond, Richard Glover and Mike Ugenyi. The trio were a fixture up front, accounting for nearly 70 total career starts. Then there is the outside linebacker position, where James Kelly and Stephen Ricciardi combined for 91 total tackles before leaving the program.

Outlook: Last year’s four-win season marked the most victories by an Army team since 2010 as the program continues to search for just its second winning season in 19 years. It’s going to be difficult again this season as the team looks to replace major components on the offensive side of the ball.

2015 schedule

Sept. 4 Fordham

Sept. 12 at UConn

Sept. 19 Wake Forest

Sept. 26 at Eastern Michigan

Oct. 3 at Penn State

Oct. 10 Duke

Oct. 17 Bucknell

Oct. 24 at Rice

No. 7 at Air Force

Nov. 14 Tulane

Nov. 21 Rutgers

Dec. 12 Navy

Vincent Rizzo

College Football / College Basketball Handicapper. 2011 won 74%, 2012 won 72% 2015 SPECIAL. CALL, 877.WIN.ATS9 EMAIL,V@VincentRizzoSports.com

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