Army @


Fri, Sep 2
CBS Sports Network
4:00 PM Pacific
Rotation: 147
Odds: Temple -15, Total: 46

Game Analysis

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Army (+15)  17   TEMPLE  27 (adjusted from 17-28 due to RB Thomas being out)

Army’s offense fell off a bit last season but the emergence of freshman quarterback Chris Carter in the final two games of 2015 give the Cadets hope of improvement this season. Carter was the presumptive starter this season, especially when it appeared as if Ahmad Bradshaw had left the academy. However, Bradshaw returned and won the starting stop. Carter is billed as a much better passer than recent Army quarterbacks, although his ability to make the correct reads in the option is what likely kept him from starting this season as behind center. I think the offense would have been a bit better with Carter, who’s big play potential through the air makes their attack more dangerous, and I don’t see much improvement in the overall Army attack unless Bradshaw becomes more efficient as a passer (only 48% completions last season).

Temple’s defense was not as good last season as the 20.1 points per game allowed suggests. In fact, the Owls were only 0.4 yards per play better than average defensively, allowing 5.2 yppl to teams that would combine to average 5.6 yppl against an average team. That defense has a ton of experience (10 returning starters) and this year’s unit is not going to be as good without Nagurski and Bednarik awards winner Tyler Malakevich, who had 138 tackles, 15 total tackles for loss and 10 passes defended (5 interceptions and 5 broken up), which is incredible for a linebacker. Temple has pretty good talent returning but losing Malakevich to graduation will make it tough to improve upon the solid defensive numbers of the last two seasons and I rate that unit as 0.2 yppl better than average this season (0.2 yppl worse than last year).

Having a good defense does not necessarily equip a team to stop an option attack. In fact, Temple’s defense, led by Malakevich, was even better than last year’s edition, and that unit gave up 517 yards at 7.3 yards per play to Navy’s option. I think Army will be able to move the ball at a decent clip in this game, even if Temple’s defensive coaching do a better job at prepping their team for the option than they did two years ago.

Temple’s offense may also take a step back due to less experience even with starting quarterback P.J. Walker back under center. Walker’s numbers improved significantly last season (from bad to just shy of average on a compensated yards per play basis) but losing favorite target Robby Anderson and 4 of the top 6 in receiving yards will impede any progress Walker might have made as a senior. The Owls do have top running back Jahad Thomas back but while 1252 yards may seem impressive, I am not impressive by his 4.6 yards per rush average. Temple was 0.6 yards per rushing play worse than average last season (4.6 yprp against teams that would allow 5.2 yprp to an average team) and don’t figure to be any better with a less experienced offensive line. Overall, the Temple offense figures to be a bit worse than last year’s sub-standard attack (5.5 yards per play against teams that would allow 5.8 yppl to an average team).

Temple, however, will have the advantage in this game against an Army defense that has been consistently horrible in recent years. The Cadets do have 9 returning starters on defense, which is the most I can recall a military academy having back (just 4 returning starters on defense last year), so I expect significant improvement. Army actually had a pretty decent run defense last season (5.1 yards per rushing play allowed to teams that would combine to average 5.0 yprp against an average team) but they gave up too many big plays via the air (13.6 yards per completion is very high). Six of the front seven return so the run defense should be decent and an experienced secondary (3 returning starters) should lessen the number of big pass plays. Army will still have a bad pass defense and my ratings project 7.9 yards per pass play for Walker in this game. However, Temple tends to run the ball more than they throw it and Army’s run defense is actually better than the Owls’ rushing attack, so the match up suits the Cadets.

Temple is projected to average 6.2 yards per play overall, with Army projected at 5.1 yppl, but that is not enough of a difference to justify a spread of more than two touchdowns in a game in which there will be a low number of possessions. Army runs the ball 80% of the time and Temple has also played at a slow pace in recent years and figures to continue that trend under their new offensive coordinator. The fewer possessions per team the tougher it is for the favorite to pull away. My ratings only favor Temple by 10 ½ points now that Temple’s top running back Jahad Thomas (1262 yards at 4.6 ypr and 17 TD last year) is listed as out, and I’d certainly prefer to take the points with pesky Army squad that 7 games by 7 points or less last season and had just 2 losses by more than 10 points in 2015.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Army
  • Temple


  • Run Plays 67.0 22.5
  • Run Yards 376.3 87.5
  • YPRP 5.7 4.4


  • Pass Comp 4.3 15.0
  • Pass Att 7.3 27.8
  • Comp % 58.6% 54.1%
  • Pass Yards 75.8 177.3
  • Sacks 0.8 2.0
  • Sack Yards 4.8 11.5
  • Sack % 9.4% 6.7%
  • Pass Plays 8.0 29.8
  • Net Pass Yards 71.0 165.8
  • YPPP 8.9 5.6


  • Total Plays 75.0 52.3
  • Total Yards 452.0 264.8
  • YPPL 6.0 5.1


  • Int 0.3 1.5
  • Int % 3.4% 5.4%
  • Fumbles 0.3 0.5
  • Turnovers 0.5 2.0
  • Points 36.3 16.0
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