Key Matchups: Army vs. San Diego State

The second game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (Sagarin 122, 0-1) and the Mountain West Conference San Diego State Aztecs (Sagarin 71, 1-0.) This is the first time these two teams have met.

Background

Army returns to Michie for their first home game of the season after being completely embarrassed in Dekalb, IL, and San Diego State makes a rare trip to the East Coast after a rout of Rich Ellerson's former Cal Poly team.

Last Week

In Dekalb, Il, Chandler Harnish threw for 220 yards, 4 touchdowns and ran for another as the Huskies thoroughly dominated the Black Knights 49-26. It was ugly, and not totally unexpected. All off-season we were concerned about how Army's defense could possibly hold up with such a tiny defensive line. Against NIU, it didn't. Army's D was pushed around all night long. Many of us hoped that this unit would compensate for a stunning lack of size with quickness, but there was no evidence of any quickness on this defense, either. NIU ran for 289 yards, led by Jasmin Hopkins who had 138 yards on 14 carries. If NIU had played their first team for the entire game, they could have scored 70 points.

Army's offense was completely unimpressive. They were able to put together one 7 play, 63 yard drive in the first quarter. The other 3 touchdowns were earned in 4th quarter garbage time against the NIU second team. Malcolm Brown and newcomer Trenton Turrentine looked good as they ran for 92 and 68 yards respectively. However, the offense as a whole was completely ineffective. Trent Steelman was 5/11 for 86 yards and 1 INT and had great difficulty throwing. Actually, his throwing seems to have gotten a lot worse. Jared McFarlin looks to have good hands, great size and good speed, but someone has to get him the ball. Jarrid Hassin had 16 yards on 7 carries.

The good news is it can't get any worse. The bad news is, unless they are able to recruit some heavyweights from the wrestling team, or they are able to beef up their current group of defensive linemen a lot in the next few weeks, it doesn't figure to get any better any time soon. So we are looking at a season here where we are unlikely to see our Black Knights stop anybody. This is going to mean that for Army to win games, this offense is going to have to be highly efficient and supremely effective. Not exactly how we would describe their performance last Saturday. Incredibly dreadful and utterly pathetic would be more like it. What happened? Who knows...all we know is if that is going to be the normal week in, week out performance on offense, all those three and outs, penalties, fumbles and interceptions will certainly result in a 1-11 season. There are die hard Army fans out there who think this upcoming game against San Diego State is a winnable game. At this stage, we don't think so.

Thank goodness Fordham is on the schedule.

In San Diego, SDSU amassed 492 total yards, 289 on the ground as the Aztecs routed FCS Cal Poly 49-21 in Rocky Long's coaching debut. QB Ryan Lindley threw four touchdowns and became the Aztecs' all-time leader in touchdown passes with 71. Dylan Denso caught two TD passes in the second quarter and Ronnie Hillman ran for 189 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. The Aztecs ran the ball 49 times and held the ball for 36 minutes. The defense gave up 284 yards.

Who is favored?

San Diego State is favored by 10 points

What to look for?

Look for a game that looks and feels a lot like last week's. SDSU is very good. They thrashed Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl and easily stopped Cal Poly last week. This will be the third game in a row versus an option offense.

We expect Army to be much better prepared for this game. But preparation will only stall the beat down. The Aztecs will soften up our tiny defensive front by running behind their huge offensive line, and then they will hit some big plays in both the running and passing game. The only way that Army will be able to stay in this game is if they are able to control the ball for at least 35 minutes and be at least plus four in turnover ratio. Not very likely, unless the Aztecs are hit with the worst case of jet lag in college football history.

SDSU, even more so than NIU, is a legitimate top 20 team and Army is just not ready for this level of competition yet.

Final Score – Army 14 – SDUS 48 (predictions 2011 0-1)

Game will be shown on CBSSTV, 12:00PM EST.

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