Army- 5 players to watch

Four years. Four straight blowout losses to Navy. Something has to give this year, at least, Army fans hope so. So what will it take to beat Navy this season? A near perfect game. Some luck. Big plays. But who is going to come up with them? Here are five players that we think need to step up if the Black Knights, 20-point underdogs, are to upset Navy Saturday in Philadelphia.

1. David Pevoto, quarterback: For all we know, he might already be lost. But let's think positive.

Forget about the 14 interceptions this season and all the short passes. You have to figure Pevoto has learned something from being benched. It's made him hungrier.

Expect Army coach Bobby Ross to give him the starting nod against Navy. And with a good game against the Midshipmen all is forgiven. That's the power of Army-Navy.

Pevoto is better than what he's shown this year. Here's to him having the game of his life.

2. Jordan Murray, strong safety: He's moved to strong safety since Caleb Campbell tore his knee up against Tulane on Oct. 28.

And Murray is finally living up to the hype we heard about him during preseason. Slowed by a hamstring injury for most of the year, Murray had the game of his life against Notre Dame on Nov. 18. He even intercepted a Brady Quinn pass. Murray has made 23 tackles since returning. He will play a big part in trying to stop Navy's option and powerful fullback Adam Ballard. Expect a big game from Murray.

3. Cameron Craig, defensive end: Let's face it, Craig hasn't been the same since injuring his ankle against Connecticut on Oct .14 But Craig had two weeks in between the Air Force and Notre Dame game and two more weeks to rest for Army. He's ready to go. Craig has 55 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

With Navy running the option, he won't get any sacks. But he can make the plays at the line of scrimmage, before Navy gets to the corners and the open field.

4. Cason Shrode, linebacker: Another player that made Army fans proud during the Notre Dame game. He led the team with 11 tackles, including one for a loss, against Notre Dame. Shrode ranked third on the team with 69 tackles last year, but leads the team with 96 this fall. He's had double-figure tackle totals five times this seasons.

That's a key phrase: Double-figure tackles. Shrode has to put up that kind of performance against Navy. He won't disappoint.

5. Wesley McMahand, running back: He hasn't had a bad year in his first season as a starter: 633 yards and four touchdowns.

But he's slumped in recent weeks: Notre Dame (41 yards), Air Force (41 yards), Tulane (33 yards). He hasn't hit the 80-yard mark since Oct. 7 against Virginia Military Institute.

No Army player has hit 100 yards this season. The Black Knights need to run the ball to keep Navy off the field. Wesley has to be the "Mac" against the Midshipmen.

Other key Army players

"Touchdown" Tony Moore, running back: He hasn't scored any touchdowns lately, but this kid is still gritty. A hard-running freshman.

The entire offensive line: Fifth-year senior Pete Bier (right guard) leads the way on a unit that still hasn't reached its full potential. Not a problem. See Pevoto. Bier, right tackle Jonathan Connon and the rest of the gang up front can make everything all good with a big performance against Navy.

Austin Miller, kicker: He's going to be the guy to kick the game-winning a la Patmon Malcolm, right? Let's hope so.


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