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Northwestern Wildcats vs. Army Black Knights Game Preview Prediction Thread Time!

It's been a good week for welcoming Wildcats here at Northwestern, as well as using sentences with the word "triple option" in them. Those two things are both fun, but more important is football, and that happens tomorrow. Which means it's time for us to yell at each other about the eventual outcome of that game!

Predictions are after the jump, we have a poll and thread for y'all to tell us what you think.


I'm feeling pretty solid about this game, as I think our strengths dovetail pretty well with what appear to be Army's weaknesses. Our running game (new and improved!) should be able to grind out yards even without Smith, and Colter should be able to do his usual razzle and dazzle. On the other side of the ball, NU has done a great job for the most part on defending the run game, which is obviously Army's bread and butter, and with Army's oline dinged up, that plays into our favor even more. Our tendency to give up big plays on pass defense shouldn't be tested too much, and I think our team will be pumped to see all the purple in the Michie Stadium stands (including yours truly).

Lest you think I'm getting too cocky about this game, I still have my doubts about Colter's ability to pass downfield at this point in his career. I don't feel Colter is proficient yet at going through his progressions and waiting for his receivers to get open. Almost all of his passes have had quite a bit of air under them, and I think that'll be a problem once defenses stop giving our wideouts a huge cushion. I don't know if Army will do that, but I fear our offense becoming too one-dimensional without an effective passing game.

There's also the issue of Dan Persa and whether he plays. If Persa is healthy enough to play, Fitz and McCall will have to tread a fine line between letting a (presumably) less mobile Persa get some reps and giving the team some continuity with Colter. Using two quarterbacks in the game can present a challenge to building momentum and developing some rhythm, so that bears watching.

Prediction: NU 31, Army 14


Army has its cool system, but Northwestern has superior athletes by a long shot. This had the potential to put this into the "trap game" category, but I've been pretty impressed all week long by how seriously Northwestern is taking the challenge of getting up to face Army - not that I expected them not to, but they've really stressed it. They'll be prepared and ready to limit Army's run game. I'm a little bit concerned about how Jeravin Matthews and Jordan Mabin handle the run to the outside - neither has proven a particularly effective tackler in their careers, but the triple option will have them out in run support - while making sure not to get beaten deep by one of the five or ten pass plays Army attempts a game. But I figure even if this costs NU a touchdown or two on big plays, NU is still a better team. Not saying NIU isn't a good football team, but they absolutely smoked Army.

Offensively, I still don't think much of Dan Persa will happen - he's listed as questionable - but Kain Colter is a freaky enough mover to scamper around the Army defense and hopefully can continue to pass the ball well. Plus, NU will get a push in the trenches and I expect Mike Trumpy and Trayvon Green to look nice. The game will be modestly competitive but NU won't struggle against the Black Knights.

Prediction: Northwestern, 35, Army, 20