After fighting back from some illness in Ames, I’m back. If you want to check out my Iowa State recap, you can check it out here.
We are back in Norman for one last non-conference dance before we dive deeper into the meat of conference play. The opponent this week is a true throwback; the Army Black Knights.
Kickoff: 6 PM CT
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Radio: 107.7 The Franchise (OKC), 97.5 KMOD (Tulsa)
Meet the Black Knights
Army, as well as every US Service Academy, runs the triple option. Depending on how you feel about the triple option, this is either really exciting (the option back on Owen Field!) or very concerning (wait we have to tackle?). However it will lead to a completely different style of play than we are used to seeing in 2018 Norman.
I really don’t have a lot to say about Army other than the option is cool. I’m honestly just ready for conference season.
Who to Watch For:
#8 Kevin Hopkins Jr., QB
Honestly, it’s Army. This team plays system football, but does pretty good with it honestly. He leads the Black Knights in rushing and passing, with a surprisingly good ability to pass despite being an option quarterback. Look for him to have a good game for Army, but honestly he’s their best player by default.
Why You Should Be Excited:
There are a lot of non-conference games you’ll see in Norman; the marquee ones (Ohio State, Notre Dame), the good-name-bad-team ones (UCLA, Tennessee) and the random group of five ones (Akron, Louisiana-Monroe).
Army doesn’t fall into any of these. When one of the three service academy football teams come to Owen Field, what results is an experience that’s unlike pretty much anything you’ve ever seen.
Because Army is made up of members of, well, the United States Army, you can’t really heckle them like you would Baylor or Kansas State. I don’t even know if you can heckle them unless you have ties to Air Force or Navy and they are rivals and it’s just understood. Thus, from the get go there is a greater respect for your opponent than any other in the sport.
The respect goes to much higher levels than being friendly; the atmosphere in the stadium grows into a massive patriotic celebration that makes Captain America look subtle. Gameday turns into a crazy, beautiful combination of football, Independence Day and an air show.
How intense is it? OU’s new President, Jim Gallogly is planning on parachute jumping into the game. Honestly I should have just written that part and I would have done my job correctly.
Series History (OU Leads 2-1)
The Sooners and Black Knights don’t have a ton of shared history. The last game between the two was in 1961, long after the Army glory days and in the twilight of the golden Bud Wilkinson era. However, Army is one of the most storied teams in college football, with a tradition and history that most teams could only dream of having.
The peak of this era had to be in 1945, where in the year the US won World War II, Army dominated their competition on their way to a national title, going undefeated. The Knights beat two #2 ranked teams by a combined score of 82-13. They are considered to be one of the greatest teams in the history of college football. No rational person could claim that any other team deserved that season’s national championship.