3 keys for Army to beat San Diego State

Army kicks off their season with a trip out west to face a familiar opponent. Last year San Diego State University defeated Army in a closely contested match. A fourth quarter field goal put SDSU over Army 23-20, despite the fact that the Black Knights racked up 446 yards to SDSU's 292.

What will it take for Army to achieve a more favorable result this year?

Attack the Aztecs' offensive line

San Diego State enters the season with what appears to be a balanced offense, potentially dangerous both through the air and on the ground. However, their offensive line is still a work in progress. Three fifths of the line is new, as the Aztecs graduated three of their starting O-linemen. Defensively, Army needs to identify and target weak spots on the Aztec's offensive line to limit their rushing attack. Getting a good pass rush will be key as well: use the weakness of the line to stop plays before they begin. Considering this is game one, the five starters will not have had much of a chance to gel as a unit (not to mention, they're working with a new starting quarterback as well.)

Rush the ball

This is a good match up for the run-heavy Army offense. SDSU's secondary has four returning starters and is the strongest unit on their defense. Meanwhile, the defensive line enters the season without any of their 2011 starters. The Black Knights led the nation in rushing yards in 2011 and bring back their top seven rushers from last season. Look for quarterback Trent Steelman and running back Raymond Maples, the two leading rushers for Army in 2011, to bring on a heavy dose of ground and pound. If Army is going to have success against SDSU, there running game will need to be in top form.

Game-plan for wide receiver Colin Lockett

Army can't expect to neutralize the speedy junior, but to win, they will have to minimize the damage done by Lockett. Double teaming Locket might not be advisable, however, considering the Aztec's sure-handed number two, Dylan Denso, and their experienced tight ends corps. Co-defensive coordinators Chris Smeland and Payam Saadat will need to enter the game prepared to make adjustments in terms of match-ups with Lockett and the possibility of double coverage.

Army was hardly outplayed in last year's loss to SDSU. This year, if the Black Knights can take advantage of holes in the Aztecs' offensive line, run the ball effectively, and limit Lockett's touches, they'll enter week two 1-0.

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