Army vs. Rice - 9/10/16 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Rice Owls (0-1) at Army Black Knights (1-0)
College Football: Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm (Michie Stadium)
The Line: Army Black Knights -9 -- Over/Under: 51 See the Latest Odds
TV: CBS Sports Network
The Rice Owls will travel to Michie Stadium to take on the Army Black Nights this Saturday in College Football action.
The Rice Owls (0-1; 0-0 C-USA) opened their 2016 season with a 46-14 blowout loss to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers this past Thursday. Rice really struggled on the defensive end as they gave up 649 total yards to the Hilltoppers which included 552 yards through the air. Rice was expecting to get a bit more production out of their offensive however, couldn’t get anything rolling as the Owls gained just 291 totals yards (186 passing; 105 rushing) while losing the turnover battle by a 2-0 margin. Leading the way for Rice was QB Tyler Sterling who basically accounted for the entire Owls offensive as he had 251 total yards in the game (186 yds passing, 85 rushing yards, 1 TD). Rice came into the season needing to find ways to improve on a defense that allowed opponents in 2015 to average 7.1 yards per play, however, looked as if they had made little improvement as the Hilltoppers were able to average almost 10 yards per play in the loss. Rice will need to find more ways to get WR Zach Wright involved in the offensive as the explosive WR only gained 16 yards on 3 catches. In 2015 Rice average 26.1 ppg on the offensive end however, allowed their opponents to average 35.8 ppg and although they did return 9 starters on the defensive side, the Owls will need to find some answers in the secondary as they allowed Western Kentucky average 15.8 yards per pass.
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The Army Black Knights (1-0) looked impressive in their opening game of 2016 and used a strong 4th quarter to get a 28-13 upset victory on the road against the Temple Owls. Army got a big performance by RB Andy Davidson and used a strong defensive effort in which they outgained Temple by a 344-251 margin to get the victory. Army’s triple-option rushing attack was in full-force in the season opener as the Black Knights only attempted 5 passes throughout the game and was led by Andy Davidson’s 22 carries, 121 yards, and 2 TD’s. Temple, who was coming off an impressive 2105 campaign, had little answers on the offensive end for the Black Knights as Army won the turnover battle by a 3-0 margin and was able to hold the Owls offensive to just 83 rushing yards. Army went with Ahmad Bradshaw at QB over Chris Carter, who is more of the passing threat, and the Junior QB played well as he rushed for 50 yards on 16 carries while gaining a TD. Army was only able to get in the win column twice last season, however, they played in a lot of close games in 2015 as seven of their losses came by a touchdown or less. Army had a solid defense last season that allowed just 22.1 ppg and is led by Jeremy Timpf who had 92 tackles last season and 8 tackles in the season opener.
The Owls are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games however, just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games. The Black Knights are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in September and 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. C-USA opponents.
Rice came out flat against the talented Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and although Army will be a tough test, will be happy that they don’t have to be overly concerned about getting beat in the air against the Black Knight’s triple-option rushing attack. Rice has some talent on the offensive end however, Army’s rushing attack should be able to once again control the time of passion like they did against Temple and as I’m still not sold on QB Tyler Sterling’s ability as a passing QB, I think the Black Knights will be able to run on an Owls defensive that allowed an average of 190.3 rushing yards/game in 2015. Take Army to cover this single-digit spread.