The Army Black Knights (1-0) return home this weekend to take on the Rice Owls (0-1) in West Point. The Black Knights have a shot at their first 2-0 start since forever against a team that, on paper at least, they match up well against. A win in this one would set up Army to have a big season, while a loss would be extra disappointing after the win last week.
Here are the three keys to Army taking down another set of Owls:
1) Pound away with the option
The opponent changes, but the game plan (outside of a few tweaks) should not. Army was successful against Temple because the running game was established early, with fullback Andy Davidson and his 121 rushing yards giving Army the inside presence that was lacking at times last fall. The unheralded star here though was an offensive line that opened up running lane after running lane for the Army skill position players to take advantage and control the game. Keeping time of possession on the Black Knights side will also be important.
2) No big plays early for Temple
Temple only ran up 251 yards of offense last weekend in a rather dispiriting loss at the hands of Western Kentucky. it is not nice to beat a team that is down, but if Army can get a lead and, importantly, stop Rice from hitting any confidence building big plays, then the Black Knights will have a rel shot at a victory. Owls quarterback Tyler Stehling threw for 183 yards against the Hilltoppers, but the sneaky good Army defensive back seven will be looking to pounce on any mistakes and add to the three interceptions from the Temple game.
3) Better special teams play
This speaks for itself, but the Army special teams unit was anything but special against Temple. It says a lot about the rest of the team that Army was able to win so convincingly while missing two field goals and having a punt blocked. Against Temple, the Black Knights were able to cover their mistakes. Against Rice, the squad would be better served not making those mistakes in the first place.