San Diego State vs. Army: Armed Forces Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

San Diego State vs. Army: Armed Forces Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Army West Point

San Diego State vs. Army: Armed Forces Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


Three reasons why you should watch the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.

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Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
San Diego State (10-2) vs. Army (9-3)


Date: Saturday, Sept. 23
Game Time: 3:30 pm
Venue: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
Network: ESPN

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The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 
12 out of 39

2017-2018 Bowl Central: Schedules, Picks, Love
CFN Expert Consensus Confidence Picks

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

You like running games? No, do you really like running games? Army leads the nation with 355 yards per game on the ground, San Diego State has the nation’s leading runner – Rashaad Penny – on display for a ground game that finished 12th in the nation. Enjoy.

Oh yeah, Rashaad Penny. Yes, he’s playing. He shouldn’t, he has nothing left to prove and everything to lose, but he’s playing. And now you have a chance to watch an amazing all-around player who ripped through the college season and was, arguably, the best running back in college football. His Aztecs beat Bryce Love’s Stanford.

Bowls aren’t necessarily a regular thing for Army, historically. It’s one of the great programs in the history of college football, but this is just the seventh post-season appearance in program history – it didn’t go to one until 1984. It’s just the third bowl game since the 1996 Independence, winning last year’s Heart of Dallas against North Texas, and the 2010 Armed Forces over SMU. Army will always care and bring the effort, but this is a big deal.

Here’s Why Army Will Win The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Yeah, in theory you can stop this offense with time to prepare, but not really. There’s absolutely no passing game for the Aztecs to worry about – even if they get hit by one big play out of the blue – but the attack is so precise and so effective that it really is impossible to practice for.

Adaptable, it almost never went outside in the snow against Navy, and yet it’s at its best when it’s getting the speed outside of the hash marks. Averaging over six yards per carry with 45 scores, this thing is fantastic.

As fantastic as the San Diego State run defense is, it doesn’t attack into the backfield. Not having a pass rush doesn’t matter against Army, but there aren’t any regular tackles for loss. It hasn’t mattered so far this year – for the most part – but it would be nice to be able to stop the O before it can dictate what it’s going to do.

Air Force was able to run okay on the Aztecs. Army’s ground game is much, much better than Air Force’s, and yet the Falcons ran for 220 yards and three scores against the SDSU D in a 28-24 loss. They were able to keep the game close. Army beat Air Force 21-0.

Here’s Why San Diego State Will Win The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Again, Rashaad Penny. He’s just that good to make a statement in his final game and go off. Army has a nice run defense, but Penny comes into the game on a roll, hitting the 200-yard mark in each of his last four games go close out with a 2,027-yard, 19 touchdown season. The Black Knights have allowed 200 yards or more on the ground five times. Give that up against Penny and the Aztecs, and they’re not going to win.

How do you stop the Army offense? Keep it on the sidelines. Yeah, duh, but San Diego State is every bit as good when it comes to dominating the clock, holding on to the ball for 33:24 a game. San Diego State has a bit of a passing game, too. It’s not just Penny; the offense can hit the Black Knight defense in a variety of ways to keep the chains moving. But more than anything else …

San Diego State’s run defense has had time to prepare. Yes, again, it’s hard replicate what the Army option attack does over a few weeks of practice, but the Aztecs led the Mountain West and are eighth in the nation against the run. Air Force might have run well – but it lost. That’s the only team to hit the 200-yard mark against a defensive front with a fantastic group of heady linebackers who should be able the handle what’s coming.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl

Penny might just go off. Not only is he not sitting out the bowl game, he didn’t even make it a thought. He appears to be very well motivated to make a massive statement in his final game, and the coaching staff will feed him until he’s stopped. Again, Army can be run on.

The lack of any semblance of an Army passing game is going to be painful. How magnificent is the San Diego State run defense? Over the last four games of the regular season, the Aztecs allowed a grand total of 184 yards, with 82 of them coming against the run first, run only New Mexico attack.

Obviously, when you have a history of national titles, great seasons are relative. However, with a win, this would be Army’s best season since the 1958. The 1996 team went 10-2 with a win over Navy, but it lost its bowl game to Auburn after fattening up on a whole slew of bad teams along the way. This would be a real deal 10-3 run with some real deal wins.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl?

Army’s offense has a way of negating all logic and reason, but San Diego State should be able to take this game down without a problem if it does the things it does well.

The run defense is too good, Penny is too good, and if the team comes out like it did in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl win over Houston, the attitude will be too good. The Aztec D will hit the curve, and Army won’t have any answers.

Final Score

San Diego State 31, Army 17
More Bowl Info & Get Tickets


San Diego State -7, o/u: 46.5

ATS Confidence: 4.5
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 3
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

Armed Forces Bowl History, Results

Dec. 23, 2016 Louisiana Tech 48, Navy 45
Dec. 29, 2015 California 55 Air Force 36
Jan. 2, 2015 Houston 35 Pittsburgh 34
Dec. 30, 2013 Navy 24 Middle Tennessee 6
Dec. 29, 2012 Rice 33 Air Force 14
Dec. 30, 2011 BYU 24 Tulsa 21
Dec. 30, 2010 Army 16 SMU 14
Dec. 31, 2009 Air Force 47 Houston 20
Dec. 31, 2008 Houston 34 Air Force 28
Dec. 31, 2007 California 42 Air Force 36
Dec. 23, 2006 Utah 25 Tulsa 13
Dec. 23, 2005 Kansas 42 Houston 13
Dec. 23, 2004 Cincinnati 32 Marshall 14
Dec. 23, 2003 Boise State 34 TCU 31


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