Bye Week…Bye Week Complete: San Jose State Preview
Finally our beloved Army Team is set to take the field of friendly strife again! Two weeks without Army Football felt like an extended AMI session through Dean’s Hour when you wanted to be curled up taking a slug nap. This week the Black Knights square off against 0-5 San Jose State, a much different opponent from our three previously undefeated teams. This game is actually the first time this season the Cadets are not facing an undefeated opponent. Although there are no College Football Playoff implications involved in this game, it is being played at Levi Stadium, which is where the National Championship game will be held this year. Last week with nothing better to watch, I scouted our opponent during their home game against Colorado State. To put it lightly, the Spartans are absolutely terrible. The most difficult part of this game should be the fact the we are double digit favorites (+15) on the road 2,946 miles from Michie.
Why Army will Win:
Out of 130 Division I Schools, San Jose State’s defense is in the bottom 15 in almost every major statistical category. They give up 39 points and an absurd amount of passing and total yards each game. The announcers this Saturday will be quick to talk about Spartan run defense that is ranked 58th nationally at 150 yards/game, matching up with our prolific rushing offense. Don’t believe the hype, because their rush defense is not actually good. The simple fact is that their opponents so far this season have chosen to pass. Let’s take a look at the Colorado State game. On Colorado’s first three drives, they ran the ball eight times for 87 yards. In their previous five games, the Rams were averaging less than 100 yards/game. They ended the game with 219 rushing yards.
The Black Knights Offense is ranked nationally in the following categories: #1 in Time of Possession, #1 in 4th Down Conversions, #3 in Rushing Yards, and #5 in 3rd Down Conversions. We will score more points than them. DOUBLE UNDERLINE.
Why San Jose State will Win:
There are not a lot of reasons to believe they can or will. ESPN is giving the Spartans 11.6% chance of defeating the Cadets. Part of the problem is that San Jose State’s offense is very streaky, partly because they rank 113th nationally in third down conversions at 30%. Combine that dismal conversion rate with the fact that the Spartans will have limited opportunities with long stretches of time in between each possession. Now that is not to say that the Spartans can’t score points. After watching the lousy Colorado State Rams offense score 28 first half points, San Jose State rallied to score 30 unanswered points in the third quarter. They are one of only two teams in the country to score that many points in a quarter. Part of the fuel for the San Jose State offense is their talented tight end. For the fifth consecutive week, Josh Oliver is the leading pass receiver among Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) tight ends. He is averaging 6.20 receptions a game and has 31 catches so far this season. For the same odd reason that you can’t explain the Bay Crane’s greatness to your hometown friends, I can not figure out how the Spartans average +0.40 turnovers a game while remaining winless. For reference, the Black Knights are even on the year with 5 turnovers and 5 take aways. After our first game against Duke, ball security has been tighter than your Plebe Year Issued Trousers. We haven’t generated that many turnovers because our defense only averages 19 min on the field each game. In order to upset the Cadets, San Jose State will need a few turnovers and some production out of there offense.
Final Word and Prediction:
Now that the Bye Week and our Extended AMI is over, it’s time to curl up with our green girls and watch Army beat San Jose State. This could be the UTEP 66-14 beat down of 2016. As long as the offense doesn’t turn the ball over and wins the time of possession battle, Army will win this contest easily. If we fumble the ball a couple times and let the Spartans get their passing game going, San Jose State could cover the spread. In other good news, we are scheduled to play a home-and-home series with the Spartans through the 2021 season. Chalk those W’s up!