Army Black Knights vs San Diego State Aztecs Football Preview
The Rocky Long era began in solid fashion last week for San Diego State. A 49-21 win in a match with Cal Poly eased the new head coach into the season. Experienced signal-caller Ryan Lindley threw for 203 yards and four touchdowns to get the Aztecs in the win column. Ronnie Hillman began where he left off last year, rushing for 189 yards to get his legs ready for the rest of the season. The Aztec offense seemed to continue with the same efficiency as last season despite losing two talented receivers. It was a promising start for the Aztecs.
Army, on the other hand, didn’t fare nearly as well. The Black Knights were sliced and diced by a talented Northern Illinois offense. Even in a game where Army rushed for 303 yards and controlled the time of possession, they were still down 49-6 after three quarters. It was not the start Rich Ellerson wanted in his attempt to follow up a 2010 bowl win.
The Black Knights will face a similarly-talented offense this week as they host the Aztecs. While San Diego State runs a more traditional pro-style offense compared to the spread of Northern Illinois, it will be every bit as much of a challenge for Army. Lindley is a poised passer with an NFL-type arm, and Lindley is already breaking records set by Marshall Faulk. If San Diego State can limit Army’s option attack like it limited Cal Poly, it will be another long day for the Black Knights. Army will need to do better than its three turnovers last week to stay in this game.
What might be Army’s biggest ally this weekend at Michie Stadium is the reality of travel. San Diego State is making a cross-country flight to West Point, New York, and the campus of the United States Military Academy. This game is a noon Eastern time kickoff on Saturday, meaning that the Aztecs’ body clocks will be set to 9 a.m. If the Aztecs are foggy and groggy when this game starts, Army has a genuine chance to bolt out to a lead and set the tone for the rest of this tilt. So many teams in the college and professional ranks who travel east for an early kickoff find it hard to gear up for competition. The California Golden Bears experienced this problem a few years ago at Maryland, and in the NFL, the Arizona Cardinals had a particularly difficult time winning early games played in the Eastern time zone. San Diego State needs to get a wakeup call in this game – just not in the traditional sense of the term.
By: Matt Zemek
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