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Leopards Tackle FBS Opponent

Oct. 11, 2016

 Lafayette at Army
 Gameday Info  GoLeopards.com Gameday
 Date  Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016 at 12:02 p.m.
 Location  West Point, N.Y. | Michie Stadium
 Tickets  Lafayette Athletics Ticket Office
 Game Notes  Lafayette Get Acrobat Reader | Army Get Acrobat Reader
 TV  CBS Sports Network
 Play by Play: Ben Holden
 Analyst: Jay Feely
 Sideline: John Schriffen
 Satellite Radio  Sirius 134, XM 201, Internet 961
 Live Stats  Army Live Stats
 Social Media  Twitter & Facebook

 


The Match-up:
Lafayette travels to West Point, N.Y. to face Army on Saturday in a 12:02 p.m. kick off. The game is Lafayette's first against an FBS opponent since it played Army in 1997. The teams are scheduled to play again in 2018.

Mrazek Moves Up: With nine catches at Fordham, junior WR Matt Mrazek moved into Lafayette's top 10 for career receptions with 112, surpassing Mike Miller '70 and Brandon Stanford '05 for 10th place (each with 107 grabs).

Mrazek made 11 catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns (all career highs) vs. Holy Cross, the first time since 2014 that a Lafayette player had 11 or more catches (Ross Scheuerman, 11/8/2014 at Colgate). It was the second three-touchdown performance of the season for Mrazek who achieved the feat in the season opener at Central Connecticut State. His eight touchdown catches on the season rank him second in the nation and first among his conference peers. He leads the team with 42 receptions for 454 yards.

Mrazek was the team's wide receiver MVP in 2015, despite missing the final three and a half games after fracturing his clavicle. In the abbreviated season, he led the team in receiving yards (495) and was second with 44 catches.

Under Center?: Senior Drew Reed's head injury forced him to miss all but one series vs. Holy Cross and the entire Fordham game. His status is uncertain vs. Army on Saturday. Classmate Blake Searfoss has stepped in during Reed's absence. Searfoss completed 33-of-45 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns vs. Holy Cross, setting career highs for completions, passing yards and touchdowns. He had a 300-yard passing game at Fordham in the fifth start of his career, completing 25-of-41 for 325 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Limiting Penalties: Lafayette ranks first in the nation for fewest penalties per game (3.67), fifth for fewest penalties (22), second for fewest penalty yards per game (35.7), and 14th for fewest penalty yards (214).
It's a trend that started in 2015, as Lafayette ranked 11th in the nation in penalty yards (455) and total penalties (54), 12th in penalty yards per game (41.4) and 14th in the NCAA in penalties per game (4.91).

Staudle Homecoming: Senior Connor Staudle, a three-year starter at offensive guard, is playing a "homecoming" game on Saturday at Army. Staudle, who wears No. 67, is from Highland Mills, N.Y. and Cornwall Central High School, just 14 miles from West Point.

Coaching Reunion: Army safeties coach John Loose spent 14 seasons as defensive coordinator at Lafayette under Frank Tavani, winning four Patriot League titles. Loose and his wife, Marianne, started and continue to host Lauren's First and Goal Football Camp each summer at Lafayette, raising more than $2 million for pediatric brain tumor research.

Big Venue: Saturday's game at Army's Michie Stadium is the largest venue Lafayette will play in this season at a capacity of 38,000. It will be the largest crowd the Lafayette football program has played in front of since the 2014 Lafayette-Lehigh game at Yankee Stadium. The soldout crowd of 48,256 saw Lafayette beat its archrival 27-7 in the 150th meeting of college football's most-played rivalry.

Young Starters: Lafayette has seen 10 freshmen or sophomores start a game in 2016.

Ouch: In the span of one quarter against Holy Cross, Lafayette lost two of its marquee players when senior QB Drew Reed was knocked from the game with a concussion and junior LB Brandon Bryant left with a knee injury. Reed missed the Fordham game and is questionable for Saturday at Army. Bryant, an All-Patriot League selection in 2015, is out for the season with knee ligament injuries. He was 23rd in the nation in total tackles (114) last season, leading the Patriot League while finishing sixth in the nation in solo tackles per game (6.5).
Senior DL Matt Rothrock will miss the 2016 after suffering a preseason knee injury. He plans to apply for a medical redshirt to return for the 2017 season. Freshman Tre Jordan played in four games, starting two at free safety before sustaining a shoulder injury vs. Villanova that requires surgery.

Reed In the Record Books: Drew Reed continues to ascend the career passing charts at Lafayette. His 536 career completions rank him third all-time and his 5,929 passing yards place him fifth. He is the school record holder for single-season completion percentage (72.5% in 2013) and is second in career completion percentage (66%).
The Tennessee native was the Patriot League Rookie of the Year runner up and a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award (top FCS freshman) in his freshman season of 2013 when he threw for 1,887 yards, 17 touchdowns and five interceptions in eight games. In his first career start, he completed 21-of-22 at Holy Cross for 283 yards and five touchdowns, setting a school single-game record for accuracy while completing his final 20 passes (a Patriot League record). He was the first ever player to win the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week honors in the same week (doing it twice).

More Pressure: The Lafayette defense has been able to apply more pressure up front this season in comparison to last. Lafayette has sacked opponents nine times through six games, but did not reach the nine-sack mark until the final game of 2015.

About Army:

• Army enters Saturday's matchup with a 3-2 record. The Black Knights opened the season with three straight wins, beating Temple (28-13), Rice (31-14) and UTEP (66-14) before dropping games at Buffalo (23-20 in OT) and Duke (13-6).

• Army was 2-10 overall in 2015 and does not compete in a football conference. The Black Knights' wins came over Eastern Michigan (58-36) and Bucknell (21-14).

• Army returned five starters on offense and six on defense while welcoming back 39 letterwinners.

• The Black Knights lead the all-time series 17-1, with each of those games being played in West Point. The first meeting came in 1893. The teams met nine times from 1986-97, including a 38-36 final in 1992 in which Tom Kirchhoff '93 threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns as Lafayette scored 22 fourth-quarter points. Army kicked a field goal with five seconds left to seal the win, the closest decision in the series history. Lafayette's lone win in the series was Oct. 26, 1940, a 19-0 shutout.

• Sophomore Andy Davidson made the move from linebacker to fullback for the 2016 season and leads the team in rushing. Davidson, who is from Allentown, Pa. and attended Emmaus High School, has 96 carries for 534 yards and seven touchdowns. As a team, Army is running for 332 yards per game, gobbling up 5.2 yards per carry.

• In Army's triple-option attack, there isn't much passing. Accordingly, junior QB Ahmad Bradshaw is second on the team in rushing, keeping the ball 74 times for 295 yards and two scores. By contrast, Bradshaw has thrown just 29 times, completing 12 of those passes for 204 yards for an average of 17.0 yards per catch. The team averages 70 passing yards per game.

• Defensively, senior MIKE LB Andrew King leads the team with 43 tackles, while adding three sacks with 5.5 tackles for loss. King started every game in 2015 and 2016. Senior WILL LB Jeremy Timpf has 36 tackles with three for loss, one of six players with 20 or more tackles.

• Army is coached by Jeff Monken (Millikin '89) who is in his third season at the helm of the Army program. Monken spent four seasons as the head coach at Georgia Southern, racking up a 38-16 record. He studied the triple-option as an assistant coach under Paul Johnson at Navy and Georgia Tech.