What We Know About San Diego State

After nine months without football last week was overly cruel to Army fans. While the vast majority of other FBS programs got their seasons underway with national TV dates and all the pomp and circumstance that greets the arrival of college football season, West Point remained quiet.

The only solace to Black Knight fans (other than Navy getting blown out in Ireland) is that the coaching staff will have had plenty of time to study the tendencies of San Diego State.

For the fourth year in a row the Black Knights must travel to open the season and this time they are traveling to the furthest possible BCS school on the mainland. Last weekend San Diego State was on the road team as they went north to take on Washington of the Pac-12. The Aztecs gave a pretty solid account of themselves in a 21-12 loss, especially when you consider that Huskies' QB Keith Price is coming into the season creating some minor Heisman buzz.

The first thing to note about San Diego State is that against Washington QB Ryan Katz was almost more effective with his feet than he was through the air. Katz rarely made plays running the ball when he was at Oregon State, but in this game he had 16 carries for 78 yards and made some big plays to keep the Aztecs within striking distance. This compares to his pedestrian 52 percent completion rate and 128 yards passing the ball. Army will have to make sure to keep Katz in the pocket and not let him keep drives going with third down scrambles.

Another stat that jumps out from the Washington game is that the Huskies were able to get to Katz for four sacks. Though Washington is a BCS team, it is hardly the Alabama or LSU front fours that were able to defeat the Aztecs pass protection teams. Army will be undersized up front, but if they can put Katz on his back a few times it will go a long way towards helping the Black Knights win.

The most interesting area to scout for Army fans is the Aztecs rushing defense, an area in which San Diego State was excellent on Saturday. Washington rushers combined for 31 attempts for 106 yards, that equals just 3.4 yards per carry. Army, of course, brings the best rushing attack in the nation from a year ago, and it will be interesting to see just how the coaching staff attack this rush defense. If Army is able to win this battle it will go a long way towards tilting the outcome of the game in the Black Knights favor.

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