Players to Watch: Army Black Knights
This Saturday Penn State will be welcoming the Army-West Point Black Knights to town as both teams look to build on week four wins. Army started off the season with three straight losses to Fordham, UCONN, and Wake Forest, losing by a combined 10 points. Army was able to turn things around last week, however, when they beat Eastern Michigan 58-36 to secure the Black Knights’ first win of the season. Army, who runs the triple option offense, hasn’t played Penn State since 1979. Since there has been some turnover on the roster since the last time these two teams met, here’s an update on some players to look out for on Army’s squad:
A.J. Schurr- QB
After starting quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw went down with an ankle injury last week, Senior quarterback A.J. Schurr stepped in and led Army to its first win of the season against Eastern Michigan. Bradshaw is questionable for this weekend and may not play, so I expect Schurr to take over the starting job for this week again. Schurr has had limited playing time over the past four years but knows the system well and has show that he can have success with the triple option offense. After taking over for Bradshaw last week, Schurr rushed the ball 10 times for 67 yards and scored two touchdowns while throwing the ball seven times and completing three of those passes for 70 yards. Army runs the triple option on offense, so don’t expect more than 10 passing attempts, but look out for Schurr to be running the ball plenty when he takes the field on Saturday.
Aaron Kemper- RB
The junior running back has finally taken over the feature role in 2015, already receiving more touches through four games than he had all of last season. Kemper has 33 carries for 216 yards and one touchdown, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Kemper had a rough start to the season as he only had 76 rushing yards on 21 attempts through three games. Against Eastern Michigan, however, Kemper finally broke out, rushing 12 times for 140 yards and a touchdown. The undersized running back, listed at a height of 5’6 and weighing 212 lbs., runs hard and is difficult to tackle due to his low center of gravity. Expect Kemper to be a big part of the Black Knights offensive game plan on Saturday.
Matt Giachinta- RB
Another running back? Well when you run the triple option, your impact players better be at running back. The senior tailback is already on pace to surpass his carry total from a season ago, and Army is going to need the Cold Spring, N.Y. native to keep up the solid numbers when they take on Penn State this weekend. Similarly to fellow running back Aaron Kemper, Giachinta started the season off slow before running the ball 14 times for 95 yards last week against Eastern Michigan. Giachinta is a nice change of pace back for Army as he has more of a prototypical running back build, coming in at 6’1, 224 lbs. The senior is more of a bruiser compared to the smaller Kemper, and the Nittany Lions should expect a heavy dose of both running backs come Saturday.