West Virginia Mountaineers (5-4) at Army Black Knights (9-2)
College Football: Thursday, December 31, 2020 at 4:00 pm (Liberty Bowl Memorial)
The Line: Army Black Knights +7 -- Over/Under: 44 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Army Black Knights square off with the West Virginia Mountaineers in college football Bowl Season action in the Liberty Bowl at Memorial Stadium.
The West Virginia Mountaineers will come into this bowl game with a 5-4 record this season after alternating wins and losses in each of their last six games and posting back-to-back wins just once all season. Jarret Doege has thrown for 2,428 yards, 13 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on 64.2% passing while Leddie Brown leads the Mountaineers in rushing with 945 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns. Alec Sinkfield also has 327 rushing yards with 3 TDs while Winston Wright Jr. leads WVU’s receiving group with 45 grabs for 528 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Bryce-Ford Wheaton had 23 catches for 365 yards and 3 scores and T.J. Simmons had 345 receiving yards and two scores while Sam James, Sean Ryan and Leddie Brown all had 200+ receiving yards this season. On defense, Tony Fields II led the Mountaineers with 88 total tackles including 34 solo tackles while Akheem Mesidor has a team-high 5 sacks and Derius Stills and Jared Bartlett each have 3.5 sacks this season. Tykee Smith and Alonzo Addae each had 61 total tackles and a team-high 2 interceptions this season.
The Army Black Knights will look to finish off yet another solid season, finishing 9-2 overall and taking home the Commander-In-Chief’s trophy with their wins over Air Force and Navy. The trio of Christian Anderson, Jemel Jones and Cade Ballard combined to throw for 420 yards, 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions while Tyhier Tyler led the Black Knights with 502 rushing yards. Jakobi Buchanan had 474 rushing yards and 6 TDs while Tyrell Robinson added 424 yards and the aforementioned Anderson had 401 rushing yards with 4 TDs. Anthony Adkins had 278 yards with 4 TDs while Sandon McCoy had 250 yards and a team-high 10 touchdowns and Jemel Jones chipped in 238 rushing yards this season. Tyrell Robinson led Army’s receivers with 8 catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns while Michael Roberts had 7 grabs for 106 yards and a score. On defense, Jon Rhattigan led the Black Knights with 78 total tackles along with 2 interceptions while Marquel Broughton had a team-high 35 solo tackles while Arik Smith had 3.5 sacks and Jabari Moore led Army with 3 interceptions.
West Virginia is 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games overall and 5-16 ATS in their last 21 neutral site games while the under is 7-1 in their last 8 games against a team with a winning record. Army is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against the Big 12 and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record while the under is 36-15 in their last 51 games as an underdog.
On the surface, a 9-2 team in a bowl game getting a free touchdown against a 5-4 team would sound like a steal. The issue with Army is that they didn’t play the toughest schedule, with wins against three non-FBS teams and their other six wins came against teams with a combined record of 24-35 so not the toughest schedule to go through either. West Virginia battled through the Big 12, and while it wasn’t their strongest asset, the Mountaineers still own a top-25 run defense, so stopping the option isn’t out of the question for the Mountaineers. On the other hand, Army’s numbers are solid defensively as well, so in what I’m expecting to be a smash mouth style of game, I’m going to side with the under.