Head-to-head: Army vs. Rutgers

Army visits Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the new Meadowlands Stadium. Army had an impressive 41-23 victory on the road over Tulane last Saturday. After suffering two straight losses Rutgers beat UConn, 27-24. Rutgers may have found a new star in freshman quarterback Chas Dobb who passed for 322 yards against the Huskies. Last year Rutgers defeated Army at Michie Stadium, 27-10.

ARMY
EDGE
AREA
Rutgers
EDGE
COMMENTS
EVEN
Army rushing offense
vs.
Rutgers rushing defense
EVEN  
Army dominated a solid Tulane front line as they rushed for 317 yards, averaged five yards a carry and scored four rushing touchdowns. Army currently ranks ninth in the country in rushing yards. Tulane tried to take away the perimeter running game and force the game between the tackles. "B" back Jared Hassin benefited from the defensive scheme and rushed 25 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Hassin needs to do a better job protecting the ball as it was knocked loose a few times but recovered by Army. Trent Steelman rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown. Trent's 22 yard run set up his own touchdown run from the one-yard line on the next play. He lost one fumble during the mesh but did a terrific job reading the midline option all game. Slot backs Malcolm Brown (260 yards, 3 tds) and Brian Cobbs (204 yards, 3tds) continue to show terrific speed on the fly sweep and consistently turn the corner for positive yards. Raymond Maples had his first start against Tulane and ran 10 times for 37 yards. The Black Knights hope that Pat Mealy who didn't play from scrimmage due to an injury last week will be able to play this Saturday. Rutgers is ranked 10th in nation in rushing defense. Greg Schiano's has produced physical defenses. The Scarlet Knights have allowed only one 100-yard rusher in the last eleven games. Last year the Scarlet Knights led the Big East in total defense. Senior linebacker Antonio Lowery has sideline to sideline range and leads Rutgers with 46 tackles. Army will have to do a better job of blocking strong safety Joe Lefeged than they've done the last two years. Lefeged has taken the motion back against Army and has posted eleven tackles, forced a fumble and returned a fumble for a touchdown. Lefeged has 33 tackles this year. Up front DE Scott Vallone (16 tackles), DT Charlie Noonan (14 tackles), Alex Silvestro (20 tackles) and end Jonathan Freeney (15 tackles) are very physical at the point of attack. Army needs to block sophomore middle linebacker Steve Beauharnais who has 31 tackles and is a very good tackler.  
 
Army passing offense
vs.
Rutgers passing defense
 
Trent Steelman on the season has completed 55.8 percent of his passes for 388 yards and 4 touchdown with no interceptions. Austin Barr has emerged as the favorite receiver of Steelman with 9 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns Wide receiver Davyd Brooks scored his first touchdown of the year against Tulane. Brooks also drew a key pass interference penalty that set up a touchdown. Brooks is Army's most talented receiver and needs to be involved. Rutgers has an excellent secondary ranked 29th in pass defense despite not generating a lot of pressure on the quarterback this year. The Scarlet Knights are very difficult to convert against on third and long. The Scarlet Knights allowed UConn to convert only 3 of 14 on third down. For the season RU has allowed its opponents to convert just 15 times in 65 attempts. Brandon Bing is a very good cornerback with 31 tackles and an interception. Rutgers safeties have cornerback like speed. The previously mentioned Joe Lefeged has an interception this year. Free safety Khaseem Greene has posted 27 tackles and an interception. Surprisingly Rutgers has only five sacks on the year. Defensive end Jonathan Freeny who split time last year and recorded 9.5 sacks has only been credited for a half a sack this year.  
 
Rutgers rushing offense
vs.
Army rushing defense
 
Rutgers hasn't run the ball nearly as well this year as it has in the recent past. The Scarlet Knights rank 79th in the country in rushing averaging 133 yards a game. Rutgers leading rusher is star wide receiver Mohamed Sanu who has run for 272 yards and four touchdowns as a quarterback out of the Wildcat formation. Running back Joe Martinek 201 yards but has only averaged 3.9 a carry and scored one touchdown. Last year against Army, running behind a senior dominated line and a future first round draft pick Anthony Davis, Martinek carried 25 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Rutgers has attacked the Black Knights with its running game in the Schiano era. It will be important for Army to contain the Scarlet Knights who have averaged only 3.4 yards a carry and have just five rushing touchdowns for the season. Army has struggled containing physical running teams that have come right at them this year like Temple and Eastern Michigan. For the season the Black Knights rank 47th in the nation in rushing defense. Army did a solid job against Tulane allowing only 88 rushing yards, not including sack yardage, but they did allow 4.4 per carry. While the Black Knights were not quite as dominate as the numbers suggest they did a good job limiting Tulane's running game. Army made them one dimensional until the fourth quarter after the game had been essentially decided. Chad Littlejohn had his best game at whip linebacker since the opener. Littlejohn had six tackles. Stephen Anderson had five tackles and left the game after he was hit on his knee. Rover Steve Erzinger was in on six stops. A key matchup to watch is Army's defensive tackle Mike Gann against Rutgers' center Howard Barbieri. Army has to prove it can limit the Scarlet Knights running game. It has been overmatched in the five games against Schiano's Rutgers teams.
EVEN  
Rutgers passing offense
vs.
Army passing defense
EVEN  
Rutgers passing offense averages less than 200 yards a game. However they have a new starting quarterback in Chas Dodd. Dodd threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns in the win over UConn. Dodd replaces the injured Tom Savage who after a terrific freshman campaign didn't play well behind an offensive line that was unable to protect him. Dodd is more mobile and can buy time. He needs to since Rutgers has struggled with their pass protection this year allowing 18 sacks in five games. Dodd has plenty of targets. Mohamed Sanu is a talented receiver who has 23 catches and two touchdowns this year. Dodd, unlike Savage, was able to get more receivers involved in the offense. Mark Harrison had a career high with five catches for 112 yards against Connecticut. Freshman Jeremy Deering caught a 46-yard touchdown pass against UConn. Both Harrison and Deering are the type of receivers with the size and speed to exploit Army's Cover One packages. Dodd also utilized 6-foot-6 tight end D.C. Jefferson who caught four balls for 57 yards and has the speed to get open deep. Army best chance to deal with Rutgers is for the double eagle flex to create pressure against Rutgers' offensive line. Josh McNary had a tremendous game against Tulane with six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. He consistently generated tremendous pressure on the quarterback. However Tulane did complete 20 of 34 passes for 211 yards and three touchdowns. Cornerback Antuan Aaron rebounded from a tough game against Temple by leading the team with seven tackles, had a fumble recovery and a sack. He did a nice job in coverage. Josh Jackson replaced Richard King at boundary cornerback and did a fairly good job in coverage but missed some tackles. Jackson is a good athlete but needs to shore up his technique. Safety Donovan Travis had two tackles against the Green Wave but left the game after a tackle in the fourth quarter. Travis later returned but his physical woes that have limited his playing time has hurt Army's coverage. SAM safety Donnie Dixon doesn't match up well against 6-6 tight end D.C. Jefferson who is bigger and faster than him. It's real simple. Army needs to generate pressure and create negative plays and turnovers to win this matchup. If Dodd is able to get time and avoid the rush with his mobility he has receivers who can make plays against the Black Knights.  
EVEN
Special Teams
EVEN  
Rutgers kicker San San Te has hit 9 of 13 attempts this year. Te has limited range going just 5 of 15 the last two years from longer than forty yards. Teddy Dellaganna had one of the worst games of his career against Tulane. He rebounded against Connecticut and averaged 46.8 yards on eight punts. On the season Dellaganna 41.0 punts per game and has nine punts over 50 yards. Rutgers has blocked three punts this year. Joe Lefeged had a 75 yard kickoff return against UCONN and is a dangerous return man. Mason Robinson has averaged 6.2 yards on his eight punt returns. Unlike last year Rutgers coverage teams have struggled. They've allowed a 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown and are allowing 11.9 per punt return. Army's special teams had their best all round game last week against Tulane. The kickoff coverage was terrific allowing only 18.5 yards per return and forced two fumbles. Zach Watts had a tremendous game with four tackles on kickoff returns. Watts made the tackle on three consecutive Army kickoffs. Watts also forced a fumble and recovered it setting up an Army field goal. LB Brown forced a fumble on kick coverage that was recovered by Donovan Travis. Punter Jonathan Bulls had only one punt which traveled 41 yards and went out of bounds. Punt coverage has been outstanding the past month. Alex Carlton made two of three field goal attempts against Tulane. Carlton hit from 33 and 35 but missed from 40. Josh Jackson has showed reliable hands and good speed on returns. Jackson had a terrific 42 yard kickoff return against Tulane.  
EVEN  
Coaching
EVEN  
Greg Schiano has built a powerhouse at Rutgers with five consecutive bowl appearances. Rutgers leads the Big East with fourteen players being selected in the NFL draft the past four years. The Scarlet Knights are big, fast and talented. Schiano teams have historically done a good job defensively against triple option teams. Rich Ellerson and his staff do a tremendous job of teaching its tacklers to strip the ball. Army forced four fumbles and recovered three to play with a short field most of the game against Tulane. Army leads the nation in turnover margin. That's the sign of a well coached team. Ian Shields' offense once again impressed scoring a season high 41 points against Tulane on the road.  
EVEN  
Intangibles
EVEN  
Rutgers is coming off a big win and feels it found the offensive spark it needed in freshman quarterback Chas Dodd who directed the offense to 458 total yards. Rutgers has dominated the Black Knights in the Greg Schiano era. Schiano is 5-0 against Army. His teams have outscored the Black Knights 178-40. Rutgers had an extra day to prepare for Army. The Black Knights don't have to travel far from home and should have some support at the new Meadowlands stadium. Rutgers has hurt itself with penalties this year. Rutgers has been flagged 42 times this season while Army just 26 times. Army should feel positive about itself dominating a Tulane team on the road that beat Rutgers at home. Army new offense has been productive and features a triple option look that Rutgers hasn't played against.  

PREDICTION: Rutgers, 24-20. This will be the most physical and talented defensive team Army will face on its schedule. However, the game could be determined on the defensive side. Army needs to contain the Scarlet Knights running game while generating pressure when Rutgers passes the ball. The only big advantage Army has is their ability to generate pressure and Rutgers offensive line has been porous this year protecting their quarterback. If Dobbs is given, or can buy time with his feet, he has receivers who can make plays. While Rutgers fans rave about his maturity, the fact that Dodd is the son of a coach, the reality is he'll be facing a unique double flex defense that he's probably never seen before. While I'm predicting a Rutgers victory I believe that for the first time they've faced Schiano the Black Knights can win this game.

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