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Key Matchups: Army vs. Tulane

The tenth game of the year matches the Army West Point Black Knights (Sagarin 136, 2-7) and the American Athletic Conference West Tulane Green Wave (Sagarin 128, 2-7.). 

Background

The all-time series is tied 9-9-1, with Army winning the last two and four of the last five meetings.  The last victory came in 2011 when Army rolled 45-6 as Trent Steelman scored three touchdowns.  Both teams are among the worst performers in the nation having tough years, and this game offers the best chance for a victory in the remaining schedule.

Last Week

In Colorado Springs, Colo., the conservative Army offense was completely throttled by Air Force in a 20-3 drubbing.

Brent Davis’ strategy in the game was to limit turnovers, keep the game close and see if a big play could turn the game.  While we felt that turnovers would be key, the conservative approach to the game limited Army’s chances.

Army punted twice on the first two possessions, first on a fourth and one on the 42 yard line and again on a fourth and two from the 37 yard line.  It turned out that Army would only get this deep in Air Force territory one more time in the game.  It seemed as though the Falcons knew what play was coming to the point where Army’s limited production seems inflated.

On the day, Army had 169 yards of total offense.  Army’s most successful rusher was Junior Fullback Aaron Kemper, who gained 47 yards on 14 carries.  Sophomore Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw ran into a blue wall as he only gained 42 yards on 20 carries.  He was also 2 of 8 for 45 yards in the air.

Air Force had a typical day, 352 total yards of total offense, 196 rushing and 156 passing.  The Army Defense kept the team in game, but a shutout was not in the cards.  Junior Linebacker Andrew King had 11 tackles and Junior Linebacker Jeremy Timp had 10, but the real problem was that the lineman with the most tackles was Sophomore John Voit with four tackles.  The difference in this game was the size on both lines.  The Army linebackers needed to make most of the tackles well after the line of scrimmage, whereas the leading tackler for Air Force was Senior Defensive Lineman Alex Hansen.  The second through fourth top tacklers for the Falcons were Defensive Backs – meaning that there was no pass threat, which gave them the ability to cheat and eliminate running lanes close to the line of scrimmage.  Army had no sacks.

As a bright spot on special teams, Senior Placekicker Dan Grochowski drilled a 47 yard attempt.

In New Orleans, LA, The Connecticut Huskies used a first quarter pick six by Jamal Summers to beat the Green Wave 7-3.  The Husky defense limited Tulane to 34 yards on 25 carries. Sophomore Quarterback Tanner Lee was only 13 of 40 for 106 yards.  Tulane gained nine first downs, but the longest play was a 22 yard pass.

Who is favored?

Army is favored by 3 points

What to look for?

Tulane is 0-4 on the road this year, however each of these games were against teams that were in the top 20 at one point this season.  Their two wins have come against the FCS Maine Black Bears and the winless Central Florida Knights.

Tulane’s offense averages only 16 points a game, which ranks 125th in the FBS.  Tulane averages 346.8 yards per game (145.5 rushing, 201.2 passing).  Tulane has committed 18 interceptions and 8 fumbles lost on the season.  They move the ball fairly well, but have a difficult time in the red zone.

The Green Wave defense allows 157.9 yards rushing per game and 387.8 total yards per game.  Their opponents average 34.4 points per game, which is 102nd in the FBS. 

This is a great match up.  Army averages 257.4 yards rushing, but in the match up with Navy earlier in the year, Tulane stacked the line and limited the Middies to 133 yards on 54 carries.  Junior Quarterback Keenan Reynolds was 7/11 for 134 yards.  Will Brent Davis be willing to pass the ball?  If he is, will Bradshaw be effective? Talk about question marks!

This will be a game that will be determined by turnovers, as most football games usually are.  An effort similar to last week will yield a win for the Black Knights.  Expect Tulane to put the ball up for grabs in the air and/or on the ground, with at least one turnover setting up an Army score.  This game will be low scoring, close, and most likely very poorly played.

Final Score – Army 17 – Tulane 10 (predictions in 2015, 4-4-1)

Game will be shown on CBSSTV @ 12:00 PM EST.


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