ARMED FORCES BOWL
San Diego State (10-2) vs. Army (9-3)
Saturday, Dec. 23, Fort Worth (ESPN)
San Diego State -6.5, O/U: 46
HOW THESE TEAMS GOT HERE
San Diego State: A two-game losing streak in the middle of the season cost the Aztecs a shot at the Mountain West’s West Division. SDSU jumped into the top 25 after wins over Arizona State, Stanford and Northern Illinois. But losses to Boise State and eventual West champion Fresno State meant SDSU was not ending its season with a Boise rematch in the MWC title game.
Army: The Black Knights have a two-game win streak over Navy following a win over the Midshipmen two weeks ago. After consecutive losses to Tulane and Ohio State, Army reeled off six-straight wins before losing to North Texas. The Mean Green was Army’s bowl opponent a year ago in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State: If you’re a regular reader of this blog on Yahoo Sports dot com, you’ll know we’ve been touting Penny’s excellence all season. Penny has 2,207 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. He’s averaging 7.4 yards a carry and his best work has come against teams outside the Power Five. That’s good news for the Aztecs given Army’s status as an independent.
Ahmad Bradshaw, QB, Army: The Army QB one-ups Penny in the yards per carry department. Just barely. Bradshaw has 210 carries for 1.566 yards and 12 scores. That’s an average of 7.5 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Bradshaw has thrown just 40 passes in Army’s option-based offense. He’s averaging less yards per attempt (6.98) passing than he is rushing.
WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH
If you’re a football traditionalist who thinks the evolution of the passing game and spread offenses have been bad for college football and skip this game, you get your football fan credentials revoked for life. San Diego State has rushed the ball 554 times and thrown 242 passes. Army has rushed the ball 698 times and thrown it 61. If the Birmingham Bowl is going to take four hours, this may take two and a half.
WHAT’S ON THE LINE
Army hasn’t lost a bowl since the 1996 Independence Bowl. Granted, this is just the third bowl appearance since then, but it sounds good, right? A win for the Black Knights would be the team’s first 10-win season since 1996. San Diego State is making its eighth-straight bowl appearance and looking for a third-straight win. A win for the Aztecs would also be a third-straight 11-win season.
Nick: San Diego State 20, Army 17
Sam: San Diego State 31, Army 21
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