2016 Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl Preview

The Army West Point Black Knights beat their rival Navy and now find themselves in a rematch against North Texas in the 2016 Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl.

Army West Point Black Knights

The Black Knights started the season of hot with three straight wins and then finished the season with two wins to get to 7-5. They have quality wins over Temple, Wake Forest and Navy. Their bad losses are to Notre Dame, Buffalo and Duke.

Heart of Dallas Bowl

Ahmad Bradshaw (Photo courtesy: armytimes.com)

 

Army runs the triple option, which is led by quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw. He isn’t the greatest thrower, with four touchdowns and nine interceptions, so it his his job to make sure the team doesn’t fall behind, forcing him to throw. He is the second leading rusher on the team with 697 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns.

If Army does have to throw the ball, it will most likely go to someone with the last name of Poe. Edgar Poe leads the team with 321 receiving yards and three receiving touchdowns. Christian Poe is second on the team with 133 receiving yards, but is yet to score a touchdown.

A lot of ball carriers get a chance in the triple option offense, but Andy Davidson has been the most effective for the Black Knights. He has rushed for 905 yards and 11 touchdowns. Jordan Asbery has made the most of his 50 carries on the season with a 7.7 yards per rush average.

Army has one of the best run defenses in the country, allowing 123 yards per game. The good news is their pass defense is even better, giving up just 145 passing yards per game, which is good enough for fourth in the country.

Linebacker Andrew King has been a leader on the defense. He has had four games of over ten tackles. In addition to tackles he has added 5 sacks and a forced fumble.

North Texas Mean Green

North Texas finished the season at 5-7, but made it into a bowl game because of their good academic progress rate. They have two good wins, one against this Army team and one against Southern Mississippi. Their bad losses were suffered to UTEP and SMU.

Heart of Dallas Bowl

Alec Morris

Mason Fine had started most of the season, but then missed the last two games of the season with an injury. That means graduate transfer Alec Morris, from Alabama, will get the start. On the season he has six touchdowns and six interceptions for 822 yards. The coaching staff elected to go with Morris because of how well he has practiced.

North Texas has four receivers with over 300 yards receiving, but Thaddeous Thompson has been the best. He has 524 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns.

The Mean Green have two running backs that have gotten a lot of carries. Jeffrey Wilson has 855 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. Will Ivery has helped out with 490 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.

Run defense is not the forte of North Texas, as they allow 220 rushing yards per game, which can be an issue in this game. Their pass defense allows just 213 yards through the air, but Army isn’t likely to throw the ball in this game after throwing four interceptions in the first game.

Sophomore defensive back Nate Brooks has four interceptions on the season, one of which came against Army. If Army decides to throw he should shut them down. Kishawn McClain has 62 solo tackles on the season and is a player that plays sideline to sideline.

Prediction

Army will want revenge in this game. The Black Knights will protect the football and run all over North Texas. The defense may give up some yards through the air, but Army will be able to hang on for the win.

 

Army West Point Black Knights 34 North Texas Mean Green 26

 

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NFL Draft Prospects to Watch in the 2016 Heart of Dallas Bowl

The Heart of Dallas Bowl will kick off the bowl slate for December 27. This game doesn’t feature the most draft prospects, but scouts have to pay attention to all games that could provide players. With Army playing North Texas, a lot of the players won’t get a chance at the pros. Here are the ones who could have a shot:

Army West Point Black Knights

Andrew King, LB

Projected Draft Range: Seventh round-undrafted free agents

If King goes undrafted he will likely serve his tour of duty with the Army, which is admirable. Some team may take a chance on him though. He has two straight seasons of over 90 tackles. This season he has also added 10 tackles for loss four sacks and two forced fumbles. His productivity will be appealing to all NFL teams. At six feet one inch tall and 246 pounds he has a good base for the NFL. He will at the very least get a good look by scouts and could end up with a shot to make an NFL team.

North Texas Mean Green

Eric Keena, P

Projected Draft Range: Undrafted free agent

Heart of Dallas Bowl

Eric Keena (Photo courtesy: Alarmy.com)

Punters are hard to project on where they will be drafted. Keena will likely be an undrafted free agent with a shot to make an NFL roster. The past three seasons he has averaged right around 44 yards per punt, which ranks him near the top of college football. He has a long in his career of 71 yards, so he has the necessary leg power to make it in the NFL. Accuracy will be what he needs to show the most.

 

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