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at Army 45 … Tulane 6

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 1, 2011


Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Tulane at Army


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 5 - Tulane at Army

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Oct. 1 at Army 45 … Tulane 6
CFN Analysis: After clunking against Ball State, Army needed to turn things around in a big hurry to get back into the bowl hunt. The Knights couldn’t have come up with a stronger performance with one of its best defensive games so far after struggling so much in the first month. Trent Steelman connected on all three of his passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, and the ground game pounded out a game-controlling 353 yards and five scores. Now it’s about consistency with three road games in the next four with a date at Miami University up next. A loss could mean big trouble with Vanderbilt and Air Force coming up soon.

Tulane didn’t have to be perfect to beat Army, but it at least had to keep the mistakes to a minimum. Instead, with ten penalties and four turnovers, it got ugly. Even the special teams struggled missing on the conversion after a nice Orleans Darkwa touchdown run for a 6-0 lead. The run defense allowed 353 yards on the ground, while the offense only came up with 199 yards against a defense that’s one of the worst in America against decent passing teams. This was as big a clunker as Tulane could’ve come up with, and things don’t get much easier with Syracuse and UTEP up over the next two weeks.

(AP) WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Quarterback Trent Steelman threw for 70 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more touchdowns as Army routed Tulane 45-6 on Saturday.

Raymond Maples had a career-high 141 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Larry Dixon and Kelechi Odocha ran for their first-career touchdowns as the Black Knights (2-3) beat Tulane for the fourth time in five meetings.

Tulane (2-3) needed just three plays and 66 seconds to score the game's first touchdown, a three-yard run by Orleans Darkwa that followed his 67-yard sprint the play before.

But Army, taking advantage of 10 Tulane penalties for 92 yards and four turnovers, found its first real success through the air in a month and surged past Tulane, highlighted by Steelman's 40-yard TD pass to Davyd Brooks to make it 28-6 with 9:54 remaining in the third quarter.

Tulane quarterback Ryan Griffin was 10 for 19 for 74 yards and an interception, as the Green Wave was held to a season-low 199 yards of total offense.

Army's win evened the all-time series between the one-time Conference USA rivals at 9-9-1.

Tulane (2-2) at Army (1-3) Oct. 1, 12:00, CBS Sports Network

Here’s The Deal … Tulane and Army are set to renew a series that’s been played every year except 2005 since 1996. Both programs will be looking to rebound from road routs. The Black Knights put their lack of stability on display in Muncie, Ind., losing 48-21 to Ball State just a week after shocking Northwestern on the Hudson. The Academy has two well-defined goals this season—snap its nine-game losing streak to Navy and qualify for a second straight bowl game. The former won’t be possible until Dec. 10, but the latter will be impacted by every regular season game going forward.

The equally sporadic Green Wave failed to build on its own impressive Week 3 win either, getting dumped by Duke, 48-27, in the wake of a thorough blowout of UAB. Erratic behavior has been one of the trademarks of head coach Bob Toledo’s five teams in New Orleans, a disturbing reality that the entire staff has been trying to reverse.

Why Tulane Might Win: In light of the way that Ball State was able to run roughshod on the Army D, racking up 545 yards and six touchdowns, the Green Wave should be able to keep the sticks moving on Saturday afternoon. It’ll bring a desired level of balance to West Point, mixing in the passing of Ryan Griffin with the determined running of Orleans Darkwa. When the defense is making stops and getting the ball back in its hands, this attack can be potent, producing at least 27 points in three of the first four games. It’s also done a nice job of protecting the ball, throwing just two picks and losing only two fumbles.

Why Army Might Win: Tulane knows exactly what Army wants to do on offense, yet that doesn’t make stopping the triple-option any easier. For the Green Wave defense, this is one of its toughest weeks of the season as it attempts to prepare for the forceful and relentless Black Knights ground attack. The running game ranks third in the country, and is getting steady contributions from QB Trent Steelman, FB Jared Hassin, RB Raymond Maples and slotback Malcolm Brown. Venue apparently will be a big deal for the cadets this fall. While they’ve been bombarded on the road by MAC teams, they’ve upset Northwestern and nearly knocked off San Diego State at Michie Stadium.

What To Watch Out For: Wherever Darkwa travels this weekend, Army LB Steve Erzinger won’t be far behind. The senior is using his final year with the program to step outside of the shadow of graduated teammate Stephen Anderson who was the defensive star of last year’s team. Erzinger has tremendous instincts to go along with the quickness and range to make stops in pursuit. The sparkplug of the Black Knights D leads the team with 51 tackles, 5.5 stops for loss and a pair of sacks.

What Will Happen: Playing at home versus a mealy defense will be just what Army needs to get back on track this weekend. The Black Knights will ram the ball down the throats of the Tulane defense, wearing it down with at least 60 carries spread out among a half-dozen players. The Green Wave will have its own success on offense, but not quite enough to overcome the power and discipline of the Army option.

CFN Prediction: Army 31 … Tulane 27
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Army -7.5   O/U:54.5

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