Key Matchups: Army vs. Tulane

The fifth game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (Sagarin 107, 1-3) and the Conference USA Tulane Green Wave (Sagarin 139, 2-2.) Tulane leads the all-time series 8-9-1, but Army won last year's contest, in New Orleans 41-23.

Background

Army looks to right the ship after being blown out by Ball State, and Tulane looks to jump over the .500 mark after a disappointing loss to Duke.

Last Week

At Ball State, Keith Wenning was 24/30 for 324 yards and 3 TDs as the Cardinals dominated the Cadets 48-21. "We saw their secondary had a couple of weak guys, so we wanted to take advantage of it," said Wenning.

Ball State amassed 545 total yards and did not have a turnover. Ball state won the game at the line of scrimmage. They gave Wenning plenty of time to throw and opened huge holes for the rush. Ball State rushed for 162 yards and could have probably run for considerably more if they desired. "Their quarterback had a hot hand, and we couldn't get close enough to cool it off. I was disappointed to see how effective they were with some real basic run plays against our base defense. They pushed us around," said Coach Rich Ellerson.

On paper, the loss does not look nearly as humiliating as it was in real time. Army kept their first string in the game through most of the fourth quarter and was able to amass 402 total yards. Maples had 125 yards on 16 carries, Hassin had 111 yards on 17 carries and Steelman had 81 yards on 11 carries. Steelman was 0-3 in the air, with a horrible interception. "We don't expect to be that one-dimensional, but we didn't stay on the field long enough," Ellerson said. "If we're going to be effective throwing the ball, it's not going to happen on third-and-long. If we're going to challenge people throwing the ball, it's going to be in early downs or either-or situations. It's not like we didn't call any (passing) plays; we just couldn't complete any," he added. "We completed one, but it was to them," said Ellerson after the game.

We are not sure that Ball State is a MAC front-runner or that Army is destined to win only one game this year. We think that Ball State was a bad match-up for Army. They were just too big in the trenches and just fast enough to thwart the Army offense and defense. There was a suspect chop block called on Will Wilson in the first quarter that called back a game tying touchdown, followed by another missed FG attempt by Alex Carlton. We are not sure if that killed any potential momentum, but it certainly did not help.

In Durham, Duke put up 48 points on 484 yards and blew right by Tulane, 48-27. Everything that Duke did seemed to work as quarterback Sean Renfree completed 21-of-30 passes for 278 yards and a touchdown for the Blue Devils. His 7-yard scramble late in the third quarter gave Duke a 45-13 lead. Tulane scored 14 fourth quarter points to make the game seem much closer than it really was.

Tulane Quarterback Ryan Griffen was 14-of-29 for 188 yards. Tulane ran the ball 22 times for 55 yards (3 sacks for -17 yards). The prior week however, the team produced 540 total yards and 49 points against UAB (0-3).

Who is favored?
Army is favored by 6.5 points.

What to look for? Army should run effectively and, if they do not commit too many turnovers, should have another 400+ yard rushing effort. Given their recent history against Tulane, and given Tulane's current defensive woes, Army should not have too much trouble moving the chains and controlling the clock in this game. The real difference in this game will be how the Army Defense will match up against the Tulane Offense. We have seen Army play very well defensively in two games, and we have seen Army's defenders get thrown around like rag dolls in the other two games. Which will it be this Saturday? We think that Army will have a very solid bounce back effort, and that their defense will match up much better against Tulane's offense. Look for the defense that played so well against San Diego State and Northwestern to show up for this game. We do not expect Tulane to dominate the line of scrimmage, grind it out on the ground, and obliterate Army's 235 lb defensive linemen like Northern Illinois and Ball State did. Look for Army to play enough good defense to put Tulane away in a game they absolutely must win if they are going to keep any realistic hope of a 2nd consecutive bowl appearance alive.

Final Score – Army 41 – Tulane 28 (predictions 2011, 1-3)


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

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