The Michigan Wolverines and the Army West Point Black Knights haven’t squared off since 1962, but that will change on September 7th when Army heads to The Big House.
Army is coming off an impressive 11-2 season and this game will be far from a “gimme”.
With that in mind, here are some players to watch on Army.
Quarterback Kelvin Hopkins
Army runs a ton of triple option sets, but they passed the ball more with Kelvin Hopkins last season, a trend that should continue in 2019.
In 2018, Hopkins rushed for 1,017 yard, 17 TD’s while passing for 1,026 yard with 6 TD’s and 3 INT’s. Michigan has had their fair share of issues bottling up scrambling QB’s the past few seasons, and this will be an early test in September that could prove useful further down the road for U-M.
Hopkins has the ability to freeze defenses momentarily (suspecting a run) and find open receivers. The 5-foot-10 quarterback accounts for more than 50% of Army’s total offense, so how he performs will likely decide if Army wins or loses on a given week.
Cornerback Elijah Riley
Riley is a defender who can fly all over the place and is a willing tackler with savvy instincts that lead to penetration behind the line of scrimmage. In 2018, Riley had 55 total tackles, 6.5 for loss, which are impressive numbers for a corner. Further, Riley had 10 pass breakups, which is an elite number.
Inside Linebacker Cole Christiansen
Army has lost most of their depth at linebacker, but Christiansen is the exception and he’ll need to perform at a high clip this season. In 2018 Christiansen was second on the team in tackles with 77 to go along with 1 sack and 11 tackles for loss. The team captain was a 2018 All-Independent First Team selection and is going to be a headache to gameplan against.