Rice vs. Army Preview

With a solid Option attack that grinds up a lot of yards and a lot of clock, the Black Knights of Army can throw opposing teams out of their rhythm. Just as disruptive, the Army Defense has done a great job of shutting down opposing Offenses...

At a glance, one might think Rice would have the upper hand against an opponent that utilizes a mostly ground oriented Offense. The Owls have been able to generate a lot of points in short spans of time this season with their potent Spread Offensive Attack.

So, seemingly a strategy of piling up a bunch of points against Army would be a sound plan for victory. The Owls have a scoring average of over 41 points a game - ranked 9th in the country; meanwhile Army plods its way to just under 16 points a contest - nationally, 116th out of 119 teams.

Look closer though and the averages aren't likely to be the deciding factor on Saturday. And thus, the game will be decided as always by the players, not statisticians.

The challenge for Rice will be to score as many points as it is accustomed to against a stingy Army Defense that yields only 20 points a game.

Here's a look inside the tough Black Knight defensive unit...

Pos ## Player

DE 44 Joshua McNary, 6-1 231

DT 99 Ted Bentler, 6-2 280

DT 98 Fritz Bentler, 6-3 235

DE 92 Victor Ugenyi, 6-3 253

SLB 42 John Plumstead, 5-10 222

MLB 46 Frank Scappaticci, 6-1 224

WLB 50 Stephen Anderson, 5-10 231

FC 1 Mario Hill, 6-0 182

SS 20 Lowell Garthwaite, 6-1 207

FS 6 Donovan Travis, 6-1 187

BC 27 Antuan Aaron, 5-9 192

Players To Watch - Middle Linebacker Frank Scappaticci has 63 tackles on the year, 3 interceptions, and 2 sacks. Josh McNary is a converted Linebacker now playing Defensive End. He's right behind Scappaticci in tackles, but leads the team in tackles for a loss and in sacks.

Rising Stars - Cornerback Antuan Aaron and Free Safety Donovan Travis are talented young defenders in the Army Secondary. Their athleticism has been key to the Black Knights' success in defending the pass.

Coming Home - Army has over 10 players on their roster hailing from the Houston area - including starters Collin Mooney (Katy Taylor) and Josh McNary (Clear Lake).

Army Player Quotes on Saturday's Game

Defensive End Josh McNary - "It's a spread offense they run and another one of those offenses my coach refers to as basketball on grass. We're looking at a lot of passing. They have proven to be an explosive offense. We have proven to be a stifling defense so we'll see."

Strong Safety Lowell Garthwaite - "Rice has a nasty passing game. They are really explosive with a quarterback that is accurate with a strong arm. They have three or four really good receivers who will try to spread us out out there."

First Dooooownnnn.... - Army freshman RB James Cashion from College Station is the grandson of former NFL referee Red Cashion.

Army Defensive Keys to Winning - Simple, keep Rice from scoring more than 21 points. If they can keep Rice off the scoreboard, or at least limit their points output, they can play "Army Football" - which is grinding out the clock and keeping the ball away from the other team.

Rice Offense - Though Army's Pass Defense has a gaudy ranking, they haven't exactly played a bunch of high-powered Passing Offenses. The highest ranked Passing Offenses Army has faced this season are Texas A&M (27th), Buffalo (42nd), and Akron (43rd). All were losses for the Black Knights. The Owls are currently ranked 7th.

Rice Offensive Keys to Winning - Score early and often to build a big lead, and force Army out of it's ground game. The Black Knights are not a "catch up" team.


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