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Previewing The Rice Owls at the Army Black Nights

Army enters the weekend with a chance to improve to .500 as they host Rice. The Black Knights seem to have rediscovered their mojo against Ball State and will look to continue to improve against the 2-3 Owls.

Army hopes to celebrate another home win as they host Rice.
Army hopes to celebrate another home win as they host Rice.
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Where: Michie Stadium, West Point, NY

When: Saturday, 12:00 PM EST

TV: CBS Sports Network

Vegas Odds: Rice -2.5

After ending their 3 game road skid against Ball State, Army will host a Rice program that has struggled this season. Both teams have respectable losses to national powers (Army to Stanford and Rice to Texas A&M and Notre Dame) and a terrible loss (Army to Yale and Rice to Old Dominion). Looking ahead, both teams still have a chance to make a bowl game, but this match up Saturday could serve as a huge momentum swing. Win, and your team starts building can build momentum to finish the year strong. Lose, and face an uphill battle to post-season eligibility.

Rice is riding a 2 game win streak against Southern Mississippi and Hawaii, far from quality wins. Offensively, the Owls are a middle-of-the-pack team. They average 227 yards in the air and 205 on the ground, scoring about 27 points a game. Led by Junior quarterback Driphus Jackson, who has 8 scores and 3 picks on the season, the Owl offense will need to establish the run on what has been a shaky Army defense so far. Army has still shown weakness in the 4th quarter when leading, so Rice should take some comfort in knowing that they will never be totally our of the game.

If Army wants to remain unbeaten at home, they will need to get their backfield of A.J. Schurr, Angel Santiago, Larry Dixon, and Terry Baggett firing on all cylinders early. Coach Jeff Monken has shown he is not afraid to use both quarterbacks throughout the game. While both have proven that they can run the triple option efficiently, Santiago has emerged as the primary thrower for the Army offense. If Rice can play honest defense and force Santiago to throw on long 3rd downs, Army may struggle moving the ball down the field.

Match Up To Watch: Owl Rushing Attack vs Army Front Seven

Rice has dual-headed backfield in Jowan Davis and Darik Dillard that will test the resilience of Army's defensive line and linebackers. Against Ball State, the rainy conditions forced Ball State to play a conservative game. The forecast Saturday, while a bit chilly, should be dry, which will allow Rice to open up the entire play book against a defense that has struggled in stopping long drives. If Rice is to hand Army their first home loss of Monken's reign, they will need their offense to dominate the time of possession.

Prediction: Army 34, Rice 28