Key Matchups: Army vs. Miami (Ohio)

The sixth game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (Sagarin 103, 2-3) and Mid-American Conference East Miami Ohio Redhawks (Sagarin 168, 0-4.) The all-time series is tied 2-2, however Miami has won two in a row, the last one coming in 1998 with a 14-13 thriller @ Michie Stadium.

Background
Army looks to move to the .500 mark for the first time this season and make it two in a row. Miami looks to win their first game of the season.

Last Week
Army completely dominated a very sloppy Tulane team @ West Point, 45-6. This was unquestionably the most impressive all-around performance by an Army team in the Rich Ellerson era.

The game had a very inauspicious beginning as Tulane sprinted 80 yards on three plays, highlighted by a 67 yard run from Orleans Darkwa. From that point forward Army dominated with strong defense and tremendous ineptitude from Tulane.

Trent Steelman had a very good day. He had 54 yards and 2 touchdowns on 8 carries and was 3 for 3 for 70 yards in the air with a 40 yard TD pass to Davyd Brooks. Raymond Maples has taken over as the leading rusher for the Black Knights as he has shown significant power and speed, developing into a star right before our eyes. He gained 141 yards and a TD on 15 carries. He had long runs of 23 and 39 yards. Freshman Larry Dixon (220 lbs.) and Kelichi Odocha also had touchdowns. Freshman Hayden Tippett (234 lbs.) showed a lot with 37 yards on 7 carries. Jarred Hassin had 20 yards on 6 carries and another fumble. We would not be surprised to see Tippett quickly become the featured full-back if Hassin continues to have issues holding onto the football. The offensive line, reorganized because of injuries, played very well. Freshman Center Ryan Powis was surprisingly good and the six Black Knight linemen, many playing in new positions, proved very effective in opening big holes all day. In all, Army had 423 total yards and held the ball for 35:30

The Defense was great. After that initial drive, they only allowed 119 yards for the remainder of the game. The Tulane offense was riddled with turn-overs and penalties. After Army recovered a Tulane fumble in the 3rd quarter and went ahead 31-6 on an ensuing field goal, the defense pinned their ears back and were merciless. They earned 5 sacks (Colin Linkul (2), Clayton Keller, Kyler Martin and Jacob Drozd) and 2 interceptions (Josh Jackson and Tye Shrader).

Army Special teams were drastically improved. Chris Boldt had one of the better days punting in recent memory – averaging 55 yards in his two kicks. Eric Osteen showed great leg, getting the ball close to the goal line each time. Alex Carlton was back to his old form, making his 23 yard field goal and all 6 extra points.

In Oxford, Isaiah Pead ran for a pair of touchdowns Saturday, and Cincinnati's dominating defense overcame 4 turn-overs and beat Miami Ohio 27-0. The game was 6-0 at the half and Cincinnati turned back Miami on a goal line stand/missed field goal on the first drive of the second half. Momentum completely changed after that drive and Cincinnati slowly pulled away in the 3rd quarter.

On the day, Zac Dysert was 19 of 33 for 267 yards. However the Miami rushing attack was limited to -3 yards. The Miami defense performed admirably, allowing only 398 total yards and forcing 4 turn-overs. Cincinnati gained only 147 rushing yards on 40 attempts.

What to look for?
This will be a very interesting game. Miami defends well against the run, giving up only 168 yards per game. On offense, they average 311 yards and only 13 points a game. Miami is one of the worst rushing teams in the nation statistically, but they do pass well. Army is exactly the opposite.

We expect a defensive struggle, where turnovers will most likely determine the winner. We are very concerned that Army has played downright horribly on the road this year, in nearly every aspect of the game. In particular, they have been thrown around like rag dolls on defense against the run. Fortunately, despite playing a very difficult schedule so far, the Redhawks do not seem to have the personnel or the production out of the backfield to hurt the Army defense like NIU and Ball State did. Of course, if this game unfolds with Miami grinding it out early and successfully, the Black Knights could be in danger again. We do not see that happening in this game. Miami has turned the ball over 8 times in 4 games this season and Army has turned the ball over 10 times in 5 games. The team whose defense can put the most pressure on the other team's offense will certainly win this contest. We think that Army's defense, coming off their best performance of the year, and facing a pass-happy offense, has a better chance to do this.

They better do this, because on paper, this is by far the easiest of their six remaining games away from Michie Stadium. They will need to win at least three of these games to make the post-season. If they don't get this one, it is hard to figure where those three wins will come from.

Expect Army to play well and conservatively and fight for field position the entire game.

Who is favored?
Army is favored by 2 points. Miami opened up on Sunday night as a 1.5 point favorite.

Final Score – Army 17 – Miami Ohio 10 (predictions 2011, 2-3)

Game will be shown on ESPN 3 @ 1:00 PM EST

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