Rice vs. Army Prediction, Game Preview
Campus Insiders - 1 day ago
Rice has had issues stopping the run this fall, yielding more than five yards a carry.
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Driphus Jackson, senior quarterback: Jackson, a dual threat, has thrown 18 passes of at least 20 yards this season. He also has a 43-yard touchdown run. Jackson started off fast, completing 13 of his first 14 passes against Army in a 41-21 win at West Point last October.
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Alex Lyons, junior linebacker: Lyons is the leader of a defense that could start four freshmen. He tops Rice with 32 tackles, and had five tackles and a sack at Army last season.
Inside the huddle
Air West Point
Don’t be surprised if Army throws the ball more against a Rice pass defense that has allowed 278 yards per game. Defenses are daring Army to put it up by clogging the middle in an effort to slow Army’s triple option and fullbacks. Senior quarterback A.J. Schurr worked this week on throwing away passes if the coverage is tight. Schurr, who likely will start for the injured Ahmad Bradshaw, forced passes early against Bucknell last week, resulting in two first-half interceptions. He is looking to become Army’s first quarterback with consecutive 100-yard passing games since Carson Williams in 2007.
Running back by committee
Four different Rice running backs – Darik Dillard, Jowan Davis, Samuel Stewart and Austin Walter – have rushed for at least 100 yards in a game this season. Army will remember Dillard and Davis, who combined for 150 yards in Rice’s win at Michie Stadium last October. All four backs are capable of big plays on option pitches. Dillard, whose brother Jarrett owns the NCAA record for career touchdown catches (60), also is a good receiver out of the backfield.
Senior Luke Turner is listed as a tight end on Rice’s depth chart. But Turner is Rice’s primary ball carrier inside the 5-yard line. Turner has scored four rushing touchdowns off direct snaps this season. He’s also caught a 14-yard touchdown against Texas.
Army, coming off a 21-14 win over Bucknell last week, has not posted back-to-back victories in 64 games (Sept. 25, 2010). Rice was outgained 1,297-568 in losses to Baylor and Western Kentucky earlier this season. Army has not defeated Rice since a 14-7 win on Nov. 8, 1958, though they have met just five times. Army and Rice tied 21-21 in 1995. Rice has won 13 of its last 15 games at Rice Stadium. The Owls have gone 177 games without being shut out.
Army blocked two kicks – John Voit (field goal) and Jordan Smith (his second extra point of the season) last week. Senior punter Alex Tardieu needs to improve on his 35.2 average against Bucknell. Tardieu has had only one punt of at least 50 yards this season. Rice kickers Hayden Tobola and Jack Fox are a combined 3-for-7 on field goals with a long of 37 yards. The Owls don’t cover kicks exceptionally well, allowing 25.1 yards per kick return and 21.6 yards per punt return.
Quick hits with Army freshman fullback Spencer Sheff
Sheff, who plays special teams, was among four Army players wearing Ranger jerseys in practice this week for perfect effort against Bucknell. He earned the award for his energy and winning one-on-one battles in blocking and covering kicks, coach Jeff Monken said.
Army assistant coach Jovan Dewitt showed up unannounced at Sheff’s high school in Elk Grove, Calif., in December 2014. Sheff always dreamed of playing for Army and picked West Point over Air Force.
Sheff started playing football at age 7. He was a right guard until moving to running back at 11.
Sheff drinks a gallon of milk a day to help him gain weight. He entered training camp at 189 pounds and is up to 203.
Sheff likes to play PlayStation 4 in his spare time. The Panthers are his Madden team. He's a Cam Newton fan, and Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson is from the
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