The sixth game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (2-3, Segarin #112) and the Conference USA Green Wave (1-3, Segarin #144). This is a revival of a conference USA match-up. Tulane leads the all time series 8-5-1, and has won the last three meetings (2003, 2004 & 2006.) These games have been very high scoring with the least having a combined 70 points. In recent history, Army could not stop the pass and Tulane could not tackle – making for interesting contests.
Army won! The cadets compiled 329 yards in offense, scored twice on special teams and recovered a touchdown in the end zone. The offense had a few bright spots. A 69 yard touchdown pass from Carson Williams to Jeremy Trimble and a 39 yard scamper by Tony Dace were the notable plays on offense. Discouraging were the three turn-overs that Army committed. Two of them were in the red zone, which allowed Temple to stay close in the first half. The make shift offensive line performed admirably, not allowing a sack, and giving Carson Williams time to step up into the pocket and throw. Although Williams did not have a good game, he certainly showed some blue chip ability. Williams and the Army offense are much more effective when he can make a five step drop and step up into the pocket. Williams usually can find an open receiver and advance the ball. This is much more effective than the three step drop pass to the flat (that every defense expects). The running game was still sub par. Occasionally Tony Dace and Patrick Mealy can hit the hole. But rarely is there a hole present and the Army corps of running backs are really too small to do anything on their own.
The defense was very good – clearly their best performance of the year. They scored once and caused 5 turn-overs. Army did give up 463 total yards, which, on the surface, does not sound good. Army special teams scored twice and the offense had three turn-overs, which gave Temple 5 more opportunities with the ball. Army constantly pressured the Temple Offense – however there is a significant difference when DT Ted Bentler is in the game (can we get that year of eligibility back?) Army was physically superior to Temple and the Owls had to gamble to move the ball – that resulted in the turn-overs. Caleb Campbell and Jordan Murray hit hard. In the second half, the Owl receivers wanted no part of them. This was the first time that Army was physically superior on defense.
Special teams were special. Owen Tolsen is earning himself a spot on an NFL roster. His punting is fantastic. Corey Anderson and Jeremy Trimble returned kicks for touchdowns. This is certainly needed by the Army Offense.
Tulane fought valiantly against their cross town rival #1 ranked LSU and was winning well into the first half. Unfortunately, LSU woke up in the second half and scored 24 unanswered points to win 34-9. Tulane gave up 391 yards and forced one turn over.
What we Learned
If Army could consistently move the ball, they could be a winning football team. Their defense is stellar and special teams can keep them in games. They need to find a way to consistently move the ball. Sweeps and dives to undersized backs has not worked thus far. I am sure Coach Walsh sees this – it will be interesting to see how he adjusts in the coming weeks.
Tulane is going to have a long year. They are giving up 450 yards a game and scoring a couple of touchdowns. They will probably have a game or two where they will put it all together and have a chance to win. Army, Rice and UTEP will probably give them their best chances at victory.
Who is favored?
Army is favored by 6 points.
What to look for?
Look for a lot of scoring and a lot of turn-overs. Army may be able to run the ball, which will open up the pass. Army should be able to amass 400+ yards in offense. Look for Tulane to throw the ball often with 4 or 5 wide-outs. They will score, but they will also commit turn-overs. Also, look for Army's suddenly dangerous pass rush to harass Tulane's diminutive QB Anthony Scelfo all night long, especially when Bentler and super-plebe DE Joshua NcNary are on the field at the same time. The Campbell/Murray team should make ESPN highlights. I would look for a game very similar to Temple, without Army having to rely on Special Teams scores. I expect a fired up Army Team – striving for a .500 record and a disenchanted Green Wave Squad.
Final Score – Army 42 – Temple 21 (Predictions versus the spread this year 1-4)
Game will be televised on ESPNU 7:00PM EST.
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