Key Matchups: Army vs. Louisiana Tech

The eighth game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (2-5, Sagarin 137) and Western Athletic Conference, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (3-3, Sagarin 105). This is the first meeting between the two teams. Army is coming home after a disappointing overtime loss and the Bulldogs come north for their last out of conference football game if the year.

Background

The eighth game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (2-5, Sagarin 137) and Western Athletic Conference, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (3-3, Sagarin 105).  This is the first meeting between the two teams.  Army is coming home after a disappointing overtime loss and the Bulldogs come north for their last out of conference football game if the year.

 

Last Week

Army lost in overtime to the Buffalo Bulls 27-24.

 

Collin Mooney carried the ball 16 times for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Chip Bowden was 4 for 6 passing for 52 yards and ran 13 times for 47 yards.

 

The defense played very well, only allowing 320 yards, 279 yards coming through the air.  Their blitz packages and solid tackling have made this defense equal to the better defenses of recent history.

 

The most disappointing thing about this loss is that the team played well enough to win.  They lead by 14 points in the fourth quarter and gave up a score to bring the Bulls within a touchdown.  Mooney for the second straight week fumbled the ball while Army was trying to protect the lead.  His fumble, inside Army territory, gave the Bulls the opportunity that they needed to take the game into overtime.

 

Army held the Bulls to a four play – three point overtime drive.  Then Army unraveled, a procedure penalty, a Mooney dive, two incomplete passes and a delay of game penalty created a 51 yard field goal attempt that went wide right.

 

A good game, just disappointing.

 

Daniel Porter ran for 145 yards on 23 carries  and scored two touchdowns to help Louisiana Tech rout Idaho 46-14. The Bulldogs scored 30 unanswered points over the first and second quarter, sparked by a 7-yard touchdown run from Ross Jenkins.  Louisiana Tech amassed 556 yards and limited the Vandals to 249.

 

What we Learned

Army is definitely improving.  They played well enough to beat a team that Vegas had deemed a 10.5 point favorite.  You have to love Mooney's running ability – he is the most prolific offensive player since Carlton Jones – however he must learn to hold onto the ball.  Army would not have been leading the game without his offensive ability, but they would not have lost the game if he had not fumbled midway through the fourth quarter.

We learned that Bowden can not throw a good pass when needed.  He had a couple opportunities in overtime and missed his targets.  Perhaps if he threw more often, he would be more comfortable when the game is on the line.  We learned that our coaches are also learning as poor clock management did not force a punt at the end of regulation.  The Bull's snapper was having problems all day – forcing the punt would have only cost time outs that Army took to over-time.

 

In Ruston, LA, we learned that the Bulldogs can put up points and pile up yards if given enough time.  They are a run first offense and Daniel Porter is a real threat.

 

Who is favored?

Army is favored by 1.5 points

 

What to look for?

Army's game plan is sealed in cement; Run Run Run.  Army will run directly at the Bulldog defense.  The most yards that they have given up on the ground is 171 to Hawaii.  We don't know if this is because their secondary is so porous that it is easier to pass than run or if the pass is the only option.  The Bulldogs give up 400 yards per game.  If Army can move the ball, they should be in a position to win.  They will probably throw a few down field attempts early because there will be great opportunity there.

 

The Bulldogs are a balanced team.  They rush and pass for about 200 yards, respectively, per game.  Expect them to try to establish the run early on Army.  I would expect more unpredictability from Army's blitz packages, which has worked very well to keep the defenses off guard.

 

If Army can keep the ball for 35 minutes and win the turn-over battle, they should win by a touchdown.  A Mooney fumble or special teams error could make this very interesting.

 

Final Score – Army 24- Louisiana Tech 21 (Predictions this year 4-3)

 

The game will not be televised, but will be available on ESPN 360 (Internet)@1:00PM EST. 

 


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