Key Matchups: Army vs. Rutgers

Army's offense is improving. 461 yards should win a ball game. Turnovers and the inability to throw down field when needed limit the offense. We also learned that Army's defense, while having a tremendous year, may not be able to stop upper tier offenses.

Background

The eleventh game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (3-7, Sagarin 123) and Big East Conference Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-5, Sagarin 49).  Rutgers needs to beat Army to become bowl eligible.  Army is trying to get their offense settled as the season redeeming game with Navy approaches.

 

Last Week

Army lost to Rice 38-31.

Army moved the ball as we expected, 461 yards on 65 carries.  Mooney rushed for 207 yards, bringing him to 1,173 yards for the year.  The team fumbled three times and trailed 31-10 at halftime.  On a bright note, Mooney only fumbled once.

Army roared back in the second half, but ran out of time as the  Carson Williams one minute passing drill again came up short. 

 

The Army defense was torched for 517 yards.  Rice had touchdown passes of 80 and 54 yards.  The defense did play well enough to keep the team in the game however.

 

Army's punting average greatly improved at 44.5 yards.

 

In Tampa, Florida, Rutgers took advantage of six turn-overs and routed the Bulls 49-16.  QB Mike Teel threw for 294 yards and three touchdowns, but he did have two interceptions.  Rutgers ground game is showing signs of a renaissance as Joe Martinek gained 98 yards on 21 carries.

 

What we Learned

Army's offense is improving.  461 yards should win a ball game.  Turnovers and the inability to throw down field when needed limit the offense.  We also learned that Army's defense, while having a tremendous year, may not be able to stop upper tier offenses.  Army's speed, coverage and schemes are the best that they have been – however, they still are a step slow when covering first line DI receivers. 

 

In New Jersey, we learned that Rutgers is back on track.  After starting the year at 1-5 (including a loss to Navy), Rutgers has won four in a row over Big East contenders UCONN, Pitt, Syracuse and South Florida.  The team was largely reliant on the running game last year (Ray Rice) and it took half a season for QB Mike Teel to step up and lead the offense.  The offense is now pass first – which has been opening up the running game.

 

Who is favored?

Rutgers is favored by 17 points

 

What to look for?

Look for Army to have difficulty moving the ball.  Collin Mooney will face the best defense of the year and unless Army can keep the linebackers off of the line of scrimmage, there will not be very many holes.  Look for Army to try to take the corners with MacMahand and Smith, but they will look slow compared to the Rutgers linebackers…this is not Rice or Buffalo.

 

Look for a very good game plan from Army both on offense and defense.  Army will probably throw early and often to try to keep the linebackers and corners honest. Of course, with QB Chip Bowden throwing as poorly as he does, that could be a recipe for total disaster. Early success will dictate if Army is able to stay in this game.

 

Look for Rutgers to throw early to open up the Army defense.  This has been the winning formula and there is no reason to think why they will not try to do this against Army.  Army will need an effective pass rush to stay in this game.  They will need to dominate time of possession and most importantly, win the turnover battle.

 

Let's hope this is not a blow-out and that Army can take this game into the fourth quarter

 

Final Score – Rutgers 21 - Army 7 (Predictions this year 6-4)

 

The game will be televised on SNY, CST, Altitude and Gameplan early kick-off in Pascataway 12:00PM EST.

 


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