September 21, 2011

Army vs. Ball State: The GBK Crystal Ball

The Black Knights have faced two game situation that they needed to rebound after losing a ball game. Well this weekend they visit Ball State and look to maintain their momentum and keep their edge after defeating Northwestern last Saturday, 21-14.

That means that it is time once again for GoBlackKnights.com writers A.M. Allan and Bobby Caldwell to look into the future and make their predictions about Saturday's game.

Who will score the first touchdown for Army?
A.M.: I am going to go out on the limb with this one {LOL}. Army's first series will result in a long drive and inside the red zone, a well executed option fake will net QB Trent Steelman posting his 10th rushing touchdown on the season.

Bobby: Can't argue with A.M.'s answer. Steelman has scored the Black Knights' last six touchdowns. However, I see this one being a none red zone score where slotback Malcolm Brown on the tailend of a perfectly executed option and solid downfield blocking breaks off on a 35 yard touchdown.

How much of an impact will playing on the road at Ball States' Scheumann Stadium crowd have on the Black Knights?
A.M.: Zero. Even with a capacity crowd of 22,500, this team has mutured since their season opener on the road. Two weeks of home cooking (@ Michie) has prepared them for Saturday's game away.

Bobby: I don't anticipate the crowd having that big of an impact. My gut tells me that Ball State will have a difficult time stopping the Army offenses' sustained drives, which will take the crowd out of the game early on in the contest.

Who will have the biggest hit of the game?
A.M.: The safe bet has always been linebacker Steve Erzinger, but there are a few others who can get my nod and this weekend I'm going with Justin Trimble. It is obvious that he is now playing more instinctively, where the evolution of this game is becoming more apparent each week.

Bobby: Strong safety Hayden Pierce on a blitz that results in a sack and force fumble. You heard it here first.

Which true freshman will have the biggest impact?
A.M.: Slotback Trenton Turrentine has been my pick throughout the year and I am going to stay with little Trent on this one. I think he is prime to start strong early, where he will get more 2nd half reps then in the previous three games.

Bobby: I will stay with Hayden Pierce. Although there is still plenty of room for the freshman safety to develop, his reads and reactions are night and day compared to his first outing against Northern Illinois.

Who will get the first quarterback sack?
A.M.: Defensive endZach Watts gets my vote.

Bobby: Trifecta ! I can see Hayden Pierce being very active against SDSU, so I am going with the plebe strong safety again

Who will get the first INT?
A.M.: Well, it is not like we haven't had our chances in this area, but we just need to hold onto the ball. Cornerback Josh Jackson is a primetime kind of player and he will have plenty of opportunity to step in front of one on Saturday.

Bobby: I you can see, all my picks aren't Pierce. I think free safety Tyler Dickson will step in front of one this Saturday

Will the Army offense continue its rushing dominance?
A.M.: Army leads the nation in time of possession (TOP) margin, where the hold the ball an average of 38 minutes per game. That will continue against Ball State.

Bobby: Yes and as the stats reflect, the distribution of the ball will leave the Ball State defense uncertain and playing on their heals throughout the game.

Which offensive player will have the biggest game for Army? A.M.: It will be the most underrated player on the team, Malcolm Brown who surpass the 100 yard mark on Saturday.

Bobby: I will go with fullback Jared Hassin, who will hit the century mark for the first time this year.

Which defensive player will have the biggest game for Army? A.M.: Steve Erzinger, who is 11th in the nation in total tackles will pick up where he left off against Northwestern.

Bobby: Hayden Pierce will have a well rounded game at strong safety.

Who will have the biggest impact on special teams?
A.M.: It's the new kid on the block and so I am going with Scotty Williams. Look for the shifty kick returner to provide the Black Knights with quality field position after each return opportunity.

Bobby: I think kicker Alex Carlton shakes off last game's performance against Northwestern and is consistent throughout Saturday afternoon.

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