Army (2-3) at Boston College (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 5, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Stadium (44,500) -- Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Army 1-2, BC 2-1. Away Record: Army 0-1, BC 0-1. Neutral Record: Army 1-0, BC 0-0. Conference Record: Army 0-0, BC 1-1. Series Record: BC leads, 24-13.
GAME NOTES: In a battle of teams from the Northeast the Army Black Knights will march up to Alumni Stadium to face off with the Boston College Eagles on Saturday.
Army put an end to a three-game losing streak its last time out, as it ran to a 35-16 victory over Louisiana Tech in Dallas. Saying the Black Knights ran to the win isn't just a turn of phrase, as they totaled 414 yards on the ground. The win moved the Black Knights to 2-3 on the campaign and ended a 14-game losing streak for them away from Michie Stadium.
The Eagles came close to stunning the college football world on Saturday but collapsed in the final three quarters to suffer a 48-24 loss to Florida State. The Eagles led 17-3 just before halftime, but a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes before the break sparked the Seminoles to the victory. Boston College is an even 2-2 on the season.
If the most recent meeting between these teams is any indication, this will be a good one. Last season Trent Steelman scored on a rushing touchdown with 45 seconds to play to carry the Black Knights to a 34-31 victory at home. Even with the win by Army, the Eagles still lead the all-time series by a convincing 24-13 margin.
It is not news that Army will rely heavily on the run game as it did against Louisiana Tech. Other than Oregon, no other team in the nation is picking up more yards on the ground than the Black Knights (325.4 ypg).
The triple-option attack that the Black Knights use requires a wealth of ball- carriers. Army already has six different players who have rushed for over 100 yards on the season. The leader among those ball-carriers is Terry Baggett, who has piled up 401 yards and two touchdowns on just 49 carries. His 8.2 yards per carry average is more than a yard better than any other player on the team. Larry Dixon (312 yards, three TDs) is another strong option to take hand-offs, while Trenton Turrentine (168 yards) and Hayden Tippett (120 yards) have also topped the century mark. Raymond Maples, who has 123 yards on the season, is out indefinitely with a groin injury.
At the center of the triple-option scheme the Black Knights utilize is the quarterback. Angel Santiago has thrown for just 209 yards on 14 completions but he is second on the team in rushing yards (348), while leading the team in touchdowns (four) and carries (83). With backup A.J. Schurr, who is a better passer and has seen time this season, listed as questionable, Santiago will be relied on even more heavily.
As defenses go, Army is solid. The team is letting up 376 yards and 25.4 points per game, though those numbers are a bit diluted by the enormous amount of time the Black Knights eat up on offense by constantly running the ball.
The defense could be at a bit of a disadvantage this weekend as Geoffery Bacon, who is second on the team in tackles (30), is listed as questionable with a wrist injury. Leading tackler Thomas Holloway (38 tackles) will still be out to make stops. Holloway has one of 10 sacks by the Black Knights this season.
Despite playing a team ranked in the Top 10, Boston College had its best offensive game of the season against Florida State. Although the Eagles picked up 397 yards, fewer than the 413 they had against Villanova in the season opener, Boston College's 34 points were a season-high and the most in the last 14 games.
Chase Rettig has continued to be solid under center. The senior is certainly not posting overly impressive numbers each week but he has limited turnovers and been an efficient passer. Rettig has completed 61.5 percent of his pass attempts for 688 yards and eight touchdowns to just three interceptions.
Rettig could stand to spread the wealth a bit more. Alex Amidon has brought in 27 passes for 304 yards and two touchdowns and is by far Rettig's favorite option. In fact no other player on the team has reached double-digits in receptions.
Head coach Steve Addazio has instilled a reliance on the running game and Andre Williams has been the benefactor. Williams has tallied 515 yards already this season, while scoring a pair of touchdowns on the ground. He is currently the ACC leader in rushing yards.
There is a lot of work to be done for the Eagles on the defensive side of the ball. Boston College is allowing 413.8 yards and 26.8 points per game. Each of those marks is among the four worst in the ACC. Boston College is near the middle of the league in sacks (12) and tackles for loss (31). Kasim Edebali (4.5 sacks) and Kevin Pierre-Louis (32 tackles) are the biggest difference makers on defense.
It will be interesting to see if the Eagles can rally after such an emotional letdown against Florida State. Odds are the Black Knights will be able to move the ball on the ground, so it will come down to whether or not Boston College can do the same.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boston College 24, Army 17
10/02 10:39:28 ET