Week 5 Notre Dame, Navy, Army Predictions And Previews

    Army (1-2) at Yale (1-0) Sept. 27, 1:00 Here’s The Deal: Army needs this, but Yale is good enough to pull off the big win at home. The Bulldogs finally

    September 26, 2014

    Army (1-2) at Yale (1-0) Sept. 27, 1:00 

    Here’s The Deal: Army needs this, but Yale is good enough to pull off the big win at home. The Bulldogs finally kicked their season off last week hosting Lehigh from the Patriot League, and the offense went ballistic cranking out close to 700 yards in a 54-43 win. Can Army’s offense show the same firepower? The Knights started out the year with a convincing win over Buffalo, but two straight losses to Stanford and Wake Forest on the road suddenly make this a big deal. Every game left on the schedule is winnable, but first, the Knights have to prove they can get by the Ivy League. 
    Why Army Might Win: How do you possibly slow down an offense like Yale’s? Run the ball and run it some more to keep the attack off the field. The Bulldogs got bombed on by Lehigh, but they also allowed 210 yards on the ground and now have to deal with an attack that’s going to throw something totally different its way. Army is holding on to the ball for over 33 minutes a game, and it’ll have to keep it even longer. 
    Why Yale Might Win: Get ready for the air show. Yale ran for 327 yards and four scores with big play after big play, but it was Morgan Roberts who ripped up Lehigh last week completing 30-of-39 passes for 356 yards and three scores to go along with a rushing touchdown. Does Army have the pass defense to do anything to deal with what’s coming? Everyone is getting fat on the Army secondary that’s giving up over 250 yards per game through the air with 11 touchdown passes. 
    Who To Watch Out For: Army has to answer for the Yale offense, and it has to start with Larry Dixon, who has to dominate. The Army back tore up Buffalo for 174 yards and two scores, and ran well against Stanford and Wake Forest despite being keyed on. Lehigh was able to take off for over six yards per carry, and Dixon has to establish himself early so everything can work on the outside. 
    What’s Going To Happen: Yale’s offense will be too much for the Knight defense in what should be a fun and wild game with several twists and turns. Army will come up with over 400 yards on the ground to hang on just enough to survive. 
    Prediction: Army 48 … Yale 42 
    Line: No Line 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Roosevelts: An Intimate History – 1: Red Band Society … 2 

    Western Kentucky (1-2) at Navy (2-2) Sept. 27, 3:30, CBS Sports Network 

    Here’s The Deal: It’s the quintessential study in contrasts, as Western Kentucky travels to Annapolis for the finale of a four-game home-and-home series that began in 2009. Both teams are attempting to bounce back from painful losses. Last Saturday, Navy’s fourth-quarter rally came up just short, with Rutgers making a defensive stand in the final minute. Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers entered a bye two weeks ago by falling to Middle Tennessee, 50-47, in triple-overtime. 
    Why Western Kentucky Might Win: The Toppers have had two weeks to hone a passing game that’s already produced 12 touchdowns and 1,459 yards off the right arm of Brandon Doughty. Plus, Doughty has no true go-to receiver, spreading the ball around to keep the Mids on their heels. And if Navy dismisses the running game, downhill-running Leon Allen will be the beneficiary. 
    Why Navy Might Win: The Toppers have had two weeks to prepare for the Navy option … it still won’t be enough time. Western Kentucky has allowed 41 points per game, and is still adjusting to new leadership on the defensive side of the ball. The Midshipmen will pick up where it left off in the Rutgers game, wearing down the Toppers with a mix of QB Keenan Reynolds and his eclectic collection of running backs. 
    Who To Watch Out For: Navy CB Quincy Adams and FS Parrish Gaines will be forced to work overtime this weekend. Under coach Jeff Brohm, Western Kentucky makes no apologies about its desire to air it out 50 or so times. Temple threw the ball 50 times on Navy in Week 2, yet only picked up 240 yards. 
    What’s Going To Happen: It’ll be all about tempo this weekend in Annapolis. Advantage to Navy. The Midshipmen will slow the pace, extend drives and grind down the Western Kentucky defense. The Hilltoppers will move the ball through the air, but with fewer touches than usual, they’ll fall short in a high-scoring game. 
    Prediction: Navy 35 … Western Kentucky 31 
    Line: Navy -7 o/u: 68 
    Must Watch Factor: (5: Roosevelts: An Intimate History – 1: Red Band Society) … 1.5 

    Notre Dame (3-0) vs. Syracuse (2-1) Sept. 27, 8:00, ABC 

    Here’s The Deal: Notre Dame’s surprisingly fast start to the season makes a stop this week at MetLife Stadium, just west of New York City. The Irish, besieged by turmoil in August, have won their first three games by an average of 26 points to rise to No. 8 in the polls. However, their worst outing was their most recent one, a sluggish 30-14 defeat of a bad Purdue team in Indianapolis. Syracuse took a considerable step back last Saturday. A week after throttling Central Michigan, the Orange fell to Maryland in the Carrier Dome, despite outgaining the Terps by 220 yards. 
    Why Notre Dame Might Win: Unless the Orange can showcase balance, it’s going to stall against the Irish D. Coordinator Brian VanGorder’s first unit in South Bend has been stout, giving up just 10 points per game. The group has size and speed, led by LB Jaylon Smith and linemen Sheldon Day, Jarron Jones and Romeo Okwara. The Irish are giving up less than three yards a carry, which could force Syracuse QB Terrel Hunt to make more plays over the top. 
    Why Syracuse Might Win: Balance is no doubt important, but the Orange can go a long way with its diverse running game. Syracuse has three viable options, Hunt and complementary backs Prince-Tyson Gulley, the slasher, and Adonis Ameen-Moore, the bruiser. And it’s not as if the ND offense has been multi-faceted of late either. QB Everett Golson has had his hand in 11-of-13 offensive touchdowns, and budding WR Will Fuller has been his only consistent playmaker at the skill positions. 
    Who To Watch Out For: Notre Dame has got to run the ball better than it did against Purdue. Brian Kelly addressed the issue during the off week by shaking up his entire offensive line. What Kelly can’t control is an opposing defense that’s played the run well so far in 2014. Syracuse is only allowing 2.7 yards per carry, and LB Cameron Lynch is playing as if he’s headed to an All-ACC finale. The Irish fate will once again rest on Golson’s shoulders. 
    What’s Going To Happen: Syracuse can compete with Notre Dame as long as it does make the costly errors that resulted in a big deficit versus Maryland last week. Unfortunately for the Orange, the Irish are excelling in takeaways. ND is going to be challenged this week, even longer than Purdue did two weeks ago. A Hunt mistake and a well-orchestrated Golson, though, will help keep the Irish perfect for another week. 
    Prediction: Notre Dame 38 … Syracuse 24 
    Line: Notre Dame -10 o/u: 48 
    Must Watch Factor: (5: Roosevelts: An Intimate History – 1: Red Band Society) … 3 

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