Army is an 18-point underdog at No. 24 Rutgers Saturday.
Rutgers (7-1) is coming off its only loss of the season. Kent State won 35-23 on Oct. 27 at Rutgers and also beat Army 31-17 on Oct. 13 at West Point. Army (2-7) defeated Air Force 41-21 for its first win over the Falcons since 2005 last week.
Rutgers had an extra week to prepare for Army’s triple-option offense. Army has lost eight games to Rutgers, dating back 1998. The last two games have been close. Army dropped a 23-20 overtime decision to Rutgers at MetLife Stadium in 2010. The Black Knights led 17-3 at halftime in that game. Army trailed 13-12 in the fourth quarter at Yankee Stadium last year. A tripping penalty brought back a Stephen Fraser run to Rutgers 1. Rutgers blocked the ensuing punt and returned it for a touchdown and added a 56-yard touchdown run by Jawan Jamison.
Army senior quarterback Trent Steelman and junior running back Raymond Maples, the team’s two leading rushers, didn’t play due to injury last year.
Army (2-7) has not beaten a ranked opponent since a 17-14 win over Air Force in 1972. The Black Knights have dropped 11 straight games away from Michie Stadium.
Army has the top ranking offense (375 yards) in the nation. Rutgers ranks fourth in stopping the run (88 yards).
Sal Interdonato (Times Herald-Record Army football beat writer): Rutgers 31, Army 24. Think a few big pass plays to Brandon Coleman or Mark Harrison will be the difference. If Army’s secondary can hold up and Nate Combs & Co. pressure Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova, this game will be decided in the fourth quarter.
Kevin Gleason (Times Herald-Record columnist): Rutgers 31, Army 10
Predictions from around the college football universe
Andrea Adelson (ESPN.com Big East blogger): Rutgers 23, Army 10. Adelson says on ESPN.com, ” Rutgers returns from its bye week with another nonconference game. I am pretty sure Army will have the Scarlet Knights’ attention because: 1. Rutgers lost its last non-conference game; and 2. Army looked impressive in a 41-21 win over Air Force last week. This one is your classic matchup between the No. 1 rush offense in the nation versus the No. 4 rush defense in the nation, but I am going to be more eager to see how Gary Nova responds after throwing six interceptions last time out. Will Rutgers go even more conservative and just rely on ball control to keep Army off the field? The Scarlet Knights have too many playmakers on defense and a good enough running game to win their ninth straight in the series.”
Matt Fortuna (ESPN.com Big East blogger): Rutgers 27, Army 13.
Athlon Sports: Rutgers 40, Army 10. Athlon Sports writes on its web site, “Army is the only team in the nation that has two players averaging over 100 yards rushing per game — quarterback Trent Steelman (101.2 ypg) and slot back Raymond Maples (100.8 ypg).
Phil Steele: Rutgers by 21
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