Head-to-Head: Army vs. Temple

The Army Black Knights (2-8) return home to West Point to play the Temple Owls (3-6). The Black Knights battled Rutgers deep into the fourth quarter but helped defeat themselves with three lost fumbles, a controversial dropped touchdown pass, two blocked field goals and a fumble returned for a touchdown.

The Army Black Knights (2-7) return home to West Point to play the Temple Owls (3-6). The Black Knights battled Rutgers deep into the fourth quarter but helped defeat themselves with three lost fumbles, a controversial dropped touchdown pass, two blocked field goals and a fumble returned for a touchdown. Army made four trips inside the red zone and came away with no points. Temple enters the game with a four game losing streak. The Owls lost 34-10 to Cincinnati on Saturday. Last year the Temple Owls ran wild over Army's defense. The Owl running backs combined for 290 yards and five touchdowns in an easy 42-14 victory over the Army.

Army's Rushing Offense
Temple's Rushing Defense
Edge: Army

Army enters the Temple game leading the nation in rushing, averaging over 366 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Trent Steelman (576 rushing yards, 11 TDs) ran for 102 yards last game. Steelman broke the thousand yard barrier (1,013) for the first time in a single season last week.

Trent scored his 41st career rushing touchdown, second only to the legendary Army "Mr. Outside" Heisman Trophy winner leader Glenn Davis. Fullback Larry Dixon's (672 yards, 5.8 avg., 6 TDs) 26 yard run set up the Black Knights only touchdown against Rutgers. After Dixon left the game for a while with an ankle injury the Black Knights lacked explosiveness between the tackles. Junior A-back Raymond Maples (965 rushing yards, 5.3 avg., 2 TDs) hasn't been the same since limping off the field late in the game winning drive against Boston College. Maples ran for at least 107 yards in four of the first five games this year. Since getting banged up against Boston College Maples has averaged just 59 rushing yards and 3.8 yards per carry over the last five games. Malcolm Brown (368 yards, 7.2 avg., 3 TDs) returned to the lineup last week after missing the Air Force game with an injury.

Temple's 4-3 defense is ranked 77th in the nation. The Owls lost most of their impact players on defensive line that ranked 27th in the nation against the run last year. Freshman outside linebacker Tyler Matakevich leads Temple with 74 tackles. Redshirt freshman Mike linebacker Nate D. Smith has made some rookie but has recorded 62 tackles. The interior of the line is anchored by junior nose tackle Levi Brown (6-2, 300) who has started the last two years.

Army's Passing Offense
Temple's Pass Defense
Edge: Even

Senior quarterback Trent Steelman threw a season high 17 times against Rutgers. Steelman's favorite target Chevaughn Lawrence (17 rec, 266 yards 15.6 avg.) looked like he caught a touchdown pass against Rutgers but it was ruled incomplete when he was hit and the ball came loose after he fell to the ground. Wide receiver Patrick Laird (10 att., 115 yards, 1 TD) had trouble creating separation from Rutgers secondary. Army has done a solid job in pass protection.

Temple's defense is ranked 117th in the nation in pass defense. The Temple defense has struggled covering receivers this year. The Owl's secondary allowed seven plays of 20 yards or more against Cincinnati, including touchdown passes of 75-yard and 65-yards. Senior strong safety Justin Gildea (49 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass def.) is the only experienced player in the secondary. He led the team with three interceptions last fall. Seniors defensive end John Youboty, who has five sacks, provides the pressure up front. Youboty had career highs with two sacks and seven tackles last week against Cincinnati.

Temple's Rushing Offense
Army Rushing Defense
Edge: Temple

Temple's Matt Brown has been limited this season by a sprained ankle but looks to be getting healthy. He returned a kickoff for a touchdown two weeks ago against Louisville. Brown would contend for the Heisman Trophy if he played against the Black Knights every week. Brown has run for 367 yards, averaged 9.9 yards per carry and scored six times against the Black Knights in his career. With Brown missing three games, Montel Harris leads the Owls in rushing with 597 rushing yards. Harris averages 4.6 yards per carry and five touchdowns. Harris left the game early in the second quarter against Cincinnati after injuring his left knee. Quarterback Chris Coyer is a big fast runner. Coyer has rushed 111 times for 444 yards, averaging 4.0 a carry, and has scored two touchdowns. Temple's offensive line is big and averages 6-4, 297 pounds.

Army's run defense enters the game after back-to-back performances. They entered last year game at Temple off three straight similar excellent performances. Last year Temple dominated Army's front seven up front by Temple huge, physical line. It was simply a mismatch as Temple ran for 335 yards, averaged eight yards a carry and scored five rushing touchdowns. Army is ranked 105th in the nation against the run but the defensive line has upgraded their play over the last month. After being a non-factor the first month of the season the light has come on for defensive tackle Bobby Kough (34 tackles, 9 TFL, 1½ sacks) has played well. Mike linebacker Geoff Bacon leads the Black Knights with 112 tackles. Defensive tackle Richard Glover (20 tackles, seven TFL and two sacks).is expected to return from an ankle injury.

Temple's Passing Offense
Army's Passing Defense
Edge: Even

Temple's spread passing game has been their Achilles' heel the past few years. Head coach Steve Addazio benched junior Chris Coyer who was ineffective last week. The mobile Coyer has completed 84 of 164 passes for 946 yards (51.2%) with eight touchdown passes and four interceptions. Clinton Granger ( 166 yards, 44.8% , 1 TD, 0 INT) took over for Coyer in the second half against Cincinnati. Granger gave the Owls' struggling offense a lift by directing an eight-play, 75-yard drive for Temple's only touchdown. He finished 7-for-15 passing for 86 yards.

Temple's leading receiver is Jalen Fitzpatrick who played three positions during the Cincinnati game and was used at wide receiver, running back, and quarterback. He rushed five times for 15 yards and had two receptions for 31 yards. Fitzpatrick has 24 receptions for 322 and two scores this year. Huge tight end Cody Booth (6-5, 255) has caught 17 passes for 137 yards and has a team leading four touchdowns. True freshman wide receiver Romond Deloatch made his first career start last week. Deloatch finished the game with a team-best four receptions for 42 yards.

Army's defense did a solid job against the Rutgers passing attack last week. While Nova completed 14 of 17 passes and threw a touchdown, he was kept in check. If you include Jamison's option pass touchdown the Army defense allowed just 139 passing yards, two touchdowns and picked off a pass. The Army front seven built off their great Air Force game and played well. Rutgers offensive line entered the game having allowed just six sacks all year. The Black Knights were able to generate pressure up front which often forced Nova to check down short as the Black Knights forced six punts. Colin Linkul and Holt Zalneratis teamed up for the Black Knights only sack which forced a punt. Nate Combs made 10 tackles, knocked down a pass that forced a punt and had a quarterback hurry. Cornerback Marques Avery fell in the end zone on his shoulder trying to stop Brandon Coleman's 16-yard touchdown catch off a Jamison option pass and left the game. Avery, who leads the team in passes defensed with six, is doubtful for the game. If unable to play Josh Jackson will move from safety to cornerback.

Special Teams
Edge: Temple

Brandon McManus handles both the kicking and punting duties. He is ninth in the country in punting with a 45.02 yards-per-kick average and is 12-for-15 on his field goal tries. Matt Brown is a dangerous return man. Brown averages 25.5 yards on his kickoff returns and 14.6 yards on his punt returns. Against Louisville, Brown returned The Opening kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown. Temple's special teams and coverage units have played well and made plays the last few years.

The Black Knights experienced a special teams meltdown against Rutgers which ended any hopes of an upset victory. Plebe kicker Dan Grochowski had two field goals blocked on low kicks against Rutgers. He will be replaced by kickoff specialist Eric Osteen this week. Punter Chris Boldt struggled last week and has averaged 39.0 per punt. Army long snapper Frank Ceva who was injured against Ball State returns this week. Julian Crockett (19.2 yard avg KOR) has shown good quickness. .Punt returner Josh Jackson (11.3 avg) returned a punt for 34 yards and made a nice move to break two tackles against Rutgers.

Edge: Even

Temple's new head coach Steve Addazio was on Urban Meyer's staff when Florida won two BCS National Championships. He served as the associate head coach and offensive coordinator for the Gators during the 2010 season before being named to replace Al Golden. In his initial season Addazio led the Owls to a 9-4 record a win over Wyoming in the New Mexico Bow. This year his young rebuilding team has struggled. Addazio had 22 players make their first start this year.

Rich Ellerson and his staff have been able to get their young team refocused and back on track after difficult losses this season. For the second straight game Army's defense did a nice job against the run after being run over most of the season. Coach Smeland and Saadat deserve a ton of credit for how they continue to coach up their young unit. The special teams breakdown need to be addressed.

Edge: Temple

Temple leads the all-time series against Army, 5-4. The Owls have won the last four meetings, including a 42-14 win at Lincoln Financial Field last season. The Owl's Matt Brown has averaged nearly ten yards a carry the last two years against Army. This is the last home game for Trent Steelman, Frank Allen, Nate Combs and Josh Jackson. The Black Knights should be primed for a big effort.

PREDICTION: Army, 31-28. Army offense should move the ball against this Temple defense which is young and undisciplined. Army's defense has played well the last few weeks but Temple size and running game pose challenges. The Owls have run straight at Army the last two years and overpowered them up front. Temple has struggled to score points averaging just 14 points per game over the last month. This Temple team isn't as big or fast as the last few years. I think the Black Knights prevail in their final home game.

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