Houston Cougars (8-4) vs. Army Black Knights (10-2)
- Start Time: 3:30 PM EST
- Location: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
- TV: ESPN
- Line: Army -5
- O/U: 60
- FPI: Houston 60.6%
- Series: Houston 5-2, Houston three straight
Two teams with offenses that are the complete opposite of each other will face off in front of a sold-out crowd in a battle to become the first ever three-time Armed Forces Bowl Champion.
Houston has previously played in the Armed Forces Bowl four times, losing to Kansas in 2005, beating Air Force in 2008, losing to Air Force in 2009, and beating Pitt in 2014.
It’s no secret that projected top ten pick, Ed Oliver isn’t playing in this game. That is definitely going to hurt the already bad Houston defense.
The Cougars give up 488.9 yards per game and 34.4 points per game. They also gave up 527 yards to a pretty poor Navy team.
Houston’s best defense is their offense, if they are scoring a lot of points then their defense doesn’t have to get a stop every possession.
The Cougars love to push the tempo, they go very fast, they are up there with teams like UCF and Oklahoma.
They score 46.4 points per game. This season they were led by QB D’Eriq King until he tore his ACL in their game against Tulane. Their new QB is freshman Clayton Tune, on the year he has 565 passing yards, seven touchdowns, and two interceptions. He looked ok in his one start against Memphis, going 18/43, 256 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. While Tune isn’t as good as King, he is still more than capable of putting up points for the Houston offense.
Army Black Knights
The Black Knights are looking to set a program record with their 11th win of the year. They are coming off a third straight win over arch-rival Navy and winning their second straight Commander-in-Chief Trophy.
Army has previously played in the Armed Forces Bowl twice, beating SMU in 2010 and beating SDSU last season.
Led by senior linebackers Cole Christiansen and James Nachtigal the Black Knights defense ranks 8th in total defense giving up only 18 points per game and 11th in run defense giving up 108.2 yards per game.
The type of offense that Houston runs is something Army has seen before, they faced Oklahoma in Norman and they stopped them better than anyone else has. Army is the only team to hold the Sooners under 30 points this season. Stopping an offense that operates at warp speed can be done. In this case, Army’s best defense is their offense.
Army stopped Oklahoma by holding on to the ball for 44:41, they played keep-away with eventual Heisman winner, Kyler Murray. If the Black Knights get guys like Darnell Woolfolk going, the Cougars defense is in for a long day. The b-back dive sets up everything else, once that is working, it makes going outside with Kell Walker and Jordan Asberry or the play-action pass with Kelvin Hopkins.
I don’t think Army will have a problem moving the ball against this defense so the key for Army is: hold on to the ball. They cannot turn the ball over against an offense like Houston’s.
This game is going to be a lot of fun, I love the thought of two offenses who are polar opposites playing each other.
I think Kelvin Hopkins is going to have a field day come Saturday.
This warm weather is amazing! I just feel my body in a better place than it’s been the past 6 weeks!!!
— Kelvin Hopkins (@FindingExcuses) December 18, 2018
If it really is the best he’s felt in six weeks, oh boy, this game is going to fun to watch.
Like I said earlier, I don’t think the Black Knights will have any problems moving the ball against the Houston defense, especially with no Ed Oliver.
If Army holds on to the ball, I like Army to win a close game.
Army 35-Houston 21