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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 13, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Michie Stadium (38,000) -- West Point, New York. Television: CBS Sportsnetwork. Home Record: KSU 2-0, Army 1-2. Away Record: KSU 2-1, Army 0-2. Neutral Record: KSU 0-0, Army 0-0. Conference Record: KSU 3-0, Army 0-0. Series Record: Army leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Army Black Knights look to make it two in a row as they host the Kent State Golden Flashes at Michie Stadium this weekend.
The Golden Flashes are going to be a tough opponent. Kent State comes in with a 4-1 record with the only loss coming on the road to Kentucky. It won its last three games, all against MAC opponents, by an average of 15 points.
It has been a little more difficult this season for Army which is 1-4 entering play. The Black Knights finally found their first victory of the season this past weekend as they took down Boston College, 34-31. Even with that three-point win, Army has been outscored 186-121 overall, with 40 of those offensive points coming in a 41-40 loss to Northern Illinois in the second game on its schedule.
This will be just the third meeting in history between these programs. Army won both previous encounters, but it has a current five-game losing streak against Mid-American Conference opponents.
Despite its strong record, Kent State has been a rather average offensive team posting 401.6 yards per game, which ranks just eighth in the MAC. KSU seems to be gaining steam as the season progresses. It put up 467 total yards and a season-best 321 rushing yards last week versus Eastern Michigan.
Darrell Hazel's squad has been scoring at will in recent weeks. In its past two outings, Kent State scored 45 points versus Ball State and 41 points against Eastern Michigan behind the arm of Spencer Keith and the backfield duo of Trayion Durham and Dri Archer.
Durham (460) and Archer (403) have each rushed for over 300 yards this season while averaging more than 80 yards per game on the ground. Archer is a bit more explosive with a team-best 8.7 yards per carry and four touchdowns. Archer is also a weapon in the passing game, ranking second on the team in receptions (14) and receiving yards (225), while pulling in three of only five passing touchdowns by Kent State this season. Archer is fourth in the FBS and first in the MAC in scoring with 13.2 ppg.
Keith has not been a prolific passer this season but has been serviceable, completing 55.8 percent of his pass attempts for 789 yards and only two interceptions to four touchdown passes. In the win over Ball State, Keith showed he could put up numbers by compiling a season-high in passing yards (295) and three touchdown passes. Keith has been able to accomplish those numbers despite facing a constant pressure due to KSU's suspect offensive line.
KSU has been improving defensively from week to week. After shutting down Eastern Michigan last week, the Golden Flashes are ranked third in the MAC, allowing 375.4 ypg. KSU has the best rush defense in the MAC statistically, which should be beneficial in this one.
Army is one of just a handful of programs in the country that still utilize a triple-option offensive scheme that relies almost exclusively on the run. The Black Knights have compiled 1,986 yards on the ground, which is the most in the nation, despite playing only five games. On the other side Army has only 271 passing yards.
With such a prolific rushing attack the Black Knights have had a stable of backs carrying the ball, led by Raymond Maples, who has 671 yards on 104 carries for a solid 6.5 yards per carry and 134.2 yards per game. Larry Dixon (460 yards, 5 TDs) and quarterback Trent Steelman (432 yards, 8 TDs) have been more frequently called upon when Army nears the goal line.
As a quarterback, Steelman has completed only 16 passes all season for 271 yards and one touchdown. No receiver has more than six receptions or 100 yards on the year.
On defense, Army has a number of prolific tacklers led by Geoffery Bacon, who has piled up 48 tackles. Brandon Fusilier-Jeffires has 32 total tackles, while Nate Combs has been a force on the line with six sacks and eight total tackles for loss.
Overall, Army is giving up 463.8 yards of total offense per game.
The Black Knights looked very strong as they took down an ACC foe last week, but Kent State has been impressive for a decent stretch of time. Army will need its rushing attack to be at its finest or the euphoria from last week's win will quickly dissipate.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 35, Army 34
10/10 10:51:28 ET
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