San Diego State and Army are set to match up in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. Both teams sport great running games, which should create a great matchup to watch. Here is the 2017 Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl preview:
San Diego State Aztecs (10-2)
San Diego State had a great season that saw them get to double digit wins. They beat three bowl eligible teams this season. Two of their wins were big ones for the program. The Aztecs upset both Stanford and Arizona State and proved they can play with most FBS teams. Their only losses came to the representatives in the MWC Championship game, Fresno State and Boise State.
The offense scores 30.4 points per game and is led by a great rushing attack that ranks 11th in the country at 252.3 yards per game. They lost Donnell Pumphrey to the NFL, but Rashaad Penny has taken over and done well. He has rushed for 2,027 yards and 19 touchdowns. When he produces, the Aztecs win. The two losses were the only games where he didn’t gain 100 yards on the ground.
Quarterback has been a question for the Aztecs. Junior Christian Chapman has been the starter and has done a good job of managing the game for San Diego State. He has 1,848 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions. Mikah Holder is the top receiver for the Aztecs and the only one who consistently produces. He has 602 receiving yards on 43 receptions for two touchdowns.
Their defense has also been great, in part because of the running game’s ability to control the clock. They rank 15th in the country in scoring, allowing 18.4 points per game. San Diego State ranks ninth against the run and 27th against the pass. Freshman defensive back Tariq Thompson has chipped in with five interceptions on the season, but overall this is a great team defense.
Army Black Knights (9-3)
Army beat three bowl eligible teams, while losing to one team below .500 on their way to one of the best football seasons they have had in recent memory. They won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy for the first time since 1996 and had the most wins since that season as well.
The Black Knight offense scores 29.3 points per game and does almost all their damage on the ground with their triple option attack. Quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw leads the team in rushing with 1,566 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns. Other names that will be called often are: Darnell Woolfolk, Kell Walker and Andy Davidson. They all have been able to supplement Bradshaw with over 500 yards rushing.
Passing is not something Army focuses on, with only 29.6 passing yards per game. Bradshaw completes just 32.5% of his passes and has 279 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on the season. Army will hope it doesn’t come down to them throwing the ball. If they do throw, Walker is the likely target with five receptions and 111 receiving yards on the year.
The defense isn’t quite as good as San Diego State’s, but they are solid. They allow 20.9 points per game, which ranks 28th in the country. Army is 67th against the run and 24th against the pass. Linebacker Alex Aukman has six sacks on the season.
San Diego State has the better runner in Penny and the better defense, so they should be able to win the game. If it comes down to throwing the ball the Aztecs also have the advantage. This will be a quick bowl game with so many runs, but San Diego State should be able to win comfortably.
San Diego State Aztecs 29 Army Black Knights 20
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