Key Matchups: Army versus Kent State

The seventh game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (Sagarin 142, 2-4) and the Mid American East Kent State Golden Flashes (Sagarin 189, 0-6.) Army leads the all times series 2-1, but the Golden Flashes won the last contest at West Point in 2012, 31-17.

Background
The seventh game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (Sagarin 142, 2-4) and the Mid American East Kent State Golden Flashes (Sagarin 189, 0-6.) Army leads the all times series 2-1, but the Golden Flashes won the last contest at West Point in 2012, 31-17. This is an interesting game as it could not have come soon enough for both sides. Army desperately needs a win to gain some momentum going into the Air Force rivalry game. For Kent State, Army represents their best chance of victory in the remainder of their season.

Last Week
In Kent, Ohio, UMass used a blocked field goal and a pick six in the fourth quarter to break the longest FBS losing streak at 12 as they beat the Golden Flashes in a MAC pillow fight, 40-17.

The Minutemen gained 482 total yards and 196 on the ground. In their previous six losses, the Minutemen gained an average of 408 yards and scored 29.4 points. The UMass defense gave up 341 yards on the day, but averaged 475 in their six losses.

Senior quarterback Blake Frohnapfel (6-6, 229lbs) was 23/38 for 286 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Lorenzo Woodley rushed for 160 yards on 23 carries and scored one touchdown. The Golden Flashes converted 2 of 3 field goals and did not fumble the ball.

At West Point, a 2-3 Rice Owl team out played the Cadets and coasted to an easy 41-21 victory. The Owls gained 391 yards, but scored on seven of 11 drives. Army gained 341 yards, but fumbled twice and only scored on three of 11 drives.

The Army linebackers had a good days statistically. Senior Stephen Ricciardi had 10 tackles, but missed a couple of tackles in the backfield. Sophomore Jeremy Timpf had six tackles and seemed to make every play that came his way. Junior quarterback Driphus Jackson had a career day completing 15 of 21 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns. He completely stayed away from Josh Jenkins and Steven Johnson and they went after Hayden Peirce and Chris Carnegie. Defensive Coordinator Jay Bateman began moving Jenkins to the other side of the field, which allowed him to make four tackles. The Black Knights really missed senior Geoferry Bacon. Overall there was very little pressure on the quarterback and nearly every Owl score was the result of several broken or missed tackles. The Owl scouts might have read this column as they easily exploited the Cadet weaknesses.

On offense, the numbers looked as though the Cadets had a good day, but they were completely contained. The Owls followed the prescription to beat Army – they focused on senior Larry Dixon and senior Terry Baggett and allowed the quarterbacks room to run. Senior quarterback Angel Santiago rushed for 106 yards on 23 carries. Dixon had a couple of nice runs to gain 86 yards on 13 carries. Offensive coordinator Brent Davis, tried to get Terry Baggett the ball more often, but these were often rushing attempts between the tackles and he was unable to break into the open; he gained 41 yards on 9 carries. Rice put eight in the box and Santiago was unable or unwilling to pass over it. Army will continue to lose against capable teams that stack eight men in the box. They must pass more often and downfield to force opposing defenses out of the eight man look to be successful.

Who is favored?
Army is favored by 5 points.

What to look for?
The only thing better than an FCS team is an FBS team that is worse than the average FCS team. The Golden Flashes are a bad football team. They have not won this season against opponents Ohio, South Alabama, Ohio State, Virginia, Northern Illinois and UMass. Unfortunately against the same schedule Army would probably have their same 2-4 record. The Golden Flashes did play a competitive game against Northern Illinois, who are battling for a MAC championship.

Kent State has difficulties on offense as they have only scored 71 points on the season. Something has to give as Army has given up 212 points. The Kent State opponents have averaged 212 yards rushing and 34.7 points per game.

Army has not won a regular season road, non-neutral site, football game since they beat Kent State on November 13, 2010. Can Army beat a winless team? If we were cynics, and often times we are, we would point out that Army had similar opportunities last season to beat winless teams on the road, and failed to do so. Although we have heard that this is a new era, it is still the same players who tend to lack the composure and the discipline necessary to win on the road. However, this does not seem to be the kind of opponent with the talent or the confidence necessary to win. It appears that Army is catching a huge break facing Kent State at this time.

We believe that the Golden Flashes will score the most points of the season. Blake Frohnapfel will have a career day and throw for 300 yards and Lorenzo Woodley will gain more than 100 yards on the ground. However, the Army Offense will have enough to outscore the mighty Golden Flashes. Angel Santiago, Larry Dixon and Terry Baggett will have big days, while the Cadets will complete fewer than five passes. The Cadets will win Saturday and hopefully gain some confidence going into the Air Force game.

Final Score – Army 27 – Kent State 21 (predictions in 2014, 2-4)

Game will be shown on ESPN 3 @ 3:30 EST.

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