The fifth game of the year matches the Army Black Knights (Sagarin 132, 2-2) and the Big Conference USA West Tulane Green Wave (Sagarin 131, 2-1). Tulane leads the all time series 7-8-1. The cadets have won the last two meetings and last year's game was Army's last win of 2008 when Army discovered Colin Mooney and beat Tulane 44-13. This is a big game for both teams as the loser of this game will fight for mediocrity, while the winner will have a shot at a winning record and bowl birth.
Army held the time of possession, limited Iowa State to 376 yards and only committed 1 turn-over and were still pounded, 31-10. I was in Ames and was able to take the game in first hand. The Army defense performed well enough to keep the team in the game. They were able to apply pressure and cover receivers well in the first half. Two long touchdown runs simply resulted from big holes and superior speed. Outside of the touchdown runs of 50 and 68 yards, the Cadets did a nice job against the run. In the second half, however, the pressure and coverage broke down and allowed the passing game of Iowa State to get in synch. Iowa State did not drop Austen Arnaud deep in the pocket very often. Most of his throws were three step drops and he was able to beat the pursuit whenever the Cadets did apply pressure.
The offense was horrid. As we suspected, Trent Steelman came out passing and actually looked good on the first couple of drives. He was 3-5 for 43 yards. He was hurt and replaced by Chip Bowden. Bowden was effective with the QB keeper, but the ball rarely went outside and when it did – three Cyclones were there to limit the gain. Overall, the Cyclones were just too big and fast on defense for Army, at this point in time, to have any chance to win. The Iowa State offense is not good, but they do have enough size and speed to create a few big plays against an Army.
Andre Anderson rushed for 4 touchdowns and Tulane beat McNeese State 42-32. Anderson gained 199 yards on 28 carries and scored on runs of 2, 11, 63 and 2 yards. Joe Kemp passed for two touchdowns and was 10-for-13 passing for 222 yards. Kemp connected with Jeremy Williams for touchdown passes of 34 and 40 yards. Williams had 10 catches for 222 yards. Tulane gave up 453 yards to McNeese, 252 coming on the ground.
What we Learned
We learned why Trent Steelman is the starting quarterback. Simply, he can get the ball to the outside on the option and he can throw much better than Chip Bowden. Steelman is still bothered by his ribs and he will probably only play partially until after the bye-week.
We learned that a quick stunting, double flex eagle defense can be contained with weight and speed.
We learned that Army is not ready for BCS conference teams.
We also learned that there are a lot of holes in the Tulane defense. They have given up nearly 475 yards per game…that is a lot.
Who is favored?
Army is favored by 6.5 points.
What to look for?
Look for the triple option to find some holes and score some points. Army must not forget about the pass and keep a balanced attack. If they complete a few passes early, they may have a big day offensively.
Look for Army to concentrate on the Tulane running game and contain Andre Anderson. They will blitz and challenge Joe Kemp and do their best to double cover Jeremy Williams. Army will get burned long once or twice, but they will also get their share of sacks and interceptions.
Army must win the turn-over battle. They must also convert on Special Teams and not give away 20 yards on punt exchanges.
If Army does not execute, Tulane will win. If Army is able to move the ball, limit turn-overs and get after the Tulane Offense – it could be a big day.
Final Score – Army 31 - Tulane 17 (predictions this year 1-3)
Game will be tape delayed on CBS College Sports Television @ 11:30 EST. Knightvision and Channelsurfing.net will carry the game live.