The second game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (0-1, Sagarin 163) and Division IAA Colonial Athletic Association New Hampshire Wildcats (0-0, Sagarin 99). The all time series is tied 1-1, but the teams have not played since 1922. New Hampshire is a pretty good football team in any respect and is definitely a IAA championship tournament team. Army is struggling looking for identity and really needs a win.
Army opened their season against Temple and lost 35-7. The media and fans of Philadelphia claimed that this year Temple would arrive and pushed the opening line from 2 to 7 points. They were right and I was wrong. Army looked just as you would expect, with a new offense and old players.
The new flex-bone offense was more of a full back dive offense. Collin Mooney had 26 carries for 81 yards. Carson Williams was 6-14 for 74 yards. The offense looked completely incapable. Carson Williams looked unsure and uncomfortable. However, it looked as though many of the plays were being called from the booth – which really is not any kind of option at all.
Even with such a pathetic offensive display, the defense only gave up 250 yards and two touchdowns. A fumble return and kick-off return gave Temple 2 touchdowns and a punt/fumble recovery set them up for a short drive and score.
Army controlled the ball for 37 minutes. If they could have eliminated the turn-overs, they may have been in the game.
This is New Hampshire's first game of the year. Last year, they made it to the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision Tournament and are currently ranked #16. They return 8 starters on offense and 7 on defense. They have won their last three games over FBS teams: at Rutgers, 35-24, in 2004; at Northwestern, 34-17 in 2005; and at Marshall 48-35 last season.
What we Learned
A rose by any other name is still a rose. Army's offense needs to improve a lot. Last week they were no better than the pro-set offense. Special teams must also improve.
The defense will be good, especially if they only have to defend 23 minutes a game.
Who is favored?
There is no line, but if there were, New Hampshire would be a slight favorite.
What to look for?
I would expect Carson Williams to start, but with a very short leash. Army's line will do much better against the Wildcats – Temple was very solid and will probably go to a bowl game this year.
Look for Army's defensive line to get a little more penetration than they did against Temple.
Look for New Hampshire to try to exploit Army's defensive backs.
Final Score – Army 21 – New Hampshire 17 (Predictions this year 0-1)
Game will be televised on ESPN Classic 1:00PM EST.