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    UConn Football
    Sunday, October 02, 2022

    Army's triple option will be a challenge for UConn on Saturday

    Army quarterback Christian Anderson runs the option during last Saturday's 35-28 win over West Kentucky in West Point, N.Y. The Black Knights host UConn on Saturday at noon. (AP Photo/Vera Nieuwenhuis)

    Facing Army and its unusual triple option requires a lot of preparation in the days leading up to the game.

    The UConn football team put in extra work this week to game plan for Saturday's test against the Black Knights at noon (CBSSN)at Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y.

    "I stopped in a meeting (Tuesday) and they're watching Army's offense and they're all into it," interim head coach Lou Spanos said on Tuesday. "I was very appreciative of what they do to make our defense better."

    The Huskies won't face another opponent like Army (2-0) on their schedule this season. And they haven't had success stopping Fresno State, Holy Cross and Purdue in their previous three games, giving up an average of 44 points in the losses.

    To end the losing streak and avoid the program's first 0-4 start since 2013, they'll have to find a way to slow down Army's punishing running game.

    The Black Knights rank seventh in the nation in rushing yards per game (298.5). They've thrown the ball only 10 times.

    "It's going to be a physical game with the triple option," redshirt junior linebacker Ian Swenson said.

    There isn't just one featured rusher to worry about. Four players have carried the ball at least 10 times this season, with quarterback Christian Anderson leading the way at 87 yards per game.

    This is a significant challenge for UConn's defense, which has allowed 189.7 yards rushing per game.

    "We have to do a better job as a D-line defeating blocks and stopping the run," Spanos said. "They were good in the beginning of the game (last week against Purdue), but we have to be more consistent. Also, that Army offense, they do a tremendous job running the ball and they've got dual threats and several players get their hands on the ball."

    Army's player to watch on the defense is junior outside linebacker Andre Carter II, who has a team-high 4.5 sacks. Carter played at Cheshire Academy.

    In the past, UConn has had success against Army, leading the series 5-2. The Huskies won the last meeting, 22-17, in 2015 at homes. They held the Black Knights to 180 yards on the ground.

    So far, Army won at Georgia State, 43-10, and defeated Western Kentucky, 38-35.

    The Huskies have yet to score against an FBS opponent in two tries this season. There may be a change at quarterback. Steven Krajewski started last week against Purdue after Jack Zergiotis was at the helm for the first two games.

    The lack of success on both sides of the football hasn't beaten down the Huskies.

    "I feel like the team has high energy," running back Nate Carter said. "What happened last week, happened last week. We put that behind us. ... Spanos has been really great so far. He's made a lot of connections with the players. He adds a lot more energy and a little more positivity to our team. We're able to come together more as a team.

    "... So, overall, I feel like team spirit is very high. We're really excited to get back out there Saturday and play Army."

    g.keefe@theday.com

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