Expert Cappers Picks
College Football
Houston vs Army
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 22, 2018
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas


1. Army returns to the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl looking to add to its eight-game win streak when it faces Houston on Saturday, Dec. 22, at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. The Black Knights, whose seven bowl games have been all been decided by a touchdown or less, beat San Diego State by a touchdown in this bowl last year. The Cougars, making their program-best sixth straight bowl appearance, lost three of their final four games to miss out on the American Athletic Conference title game.

2. Houston's beat-up defense will have its hands full with Army's triple option attack that is ranked second nationally with 296.3 rushing yards. Houston will be without four defensive line starters - All-American Ed Oliver, who announced he would skip the bowl game to prepare for the NFL Draft, and injured Jerard Carter, Payton Turner and Isaiah Chambers. The Cougars have already faced two of the country's top rushing teams in Navy and Memphis, allowing 344 and 401 rushing yards - respectively - during conference play.

3. Freshman quarterback Clayton Tune will make his second start in place of injured Cougars quarterback D'Eriq King (2,982 passing yards, 675 rushing yards, responsible for 50 touchdowns ). Houston enters bowl season fourth in scoring (46.4) and sixth in total offense (528.6 yards) but Army's tough defense can shut down high-scoring teams. The Black Knights, who use their ground game to control the clock (FBS-best time of possession at 38 minutes, 51 seconds), held opponents to 17.4 points, including FBS scoring-leader Oklahoma to 28 points.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Army -3

ABOUT HOUSTON (8-4, 5-3 American Athletic Conference): Tune is 38-of-85 for 565 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions in four appearances and will lose his redshirt by playing in the bowl. Tune has playmakers in junior running back Patrick Carr (816 yards, five touchdowns) and sophomore receiver Marquez Stevenson (team-best 67 catches for 947 yards, nine touchdowns) and the Cougars had junior running back Mulbah Car (325 yards, two scores) and junior receiver Keith Corbin (669 yards, 10 touchdowns) return from injuries to play Memphis in the finale. Senior linebackers Austin Robinson (team-high 116 tackles, 13 tackles for loss) and Roman Brown (105 tackles, 5.5 for loss) will try to lead a defense that missing plenty of experience up front, including Oliver - who missed most of the final five games because of a bruised knee and finishes with 193 tackles, 54 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in 33 career games.

ABOUT ARMY (10-2): Junior quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. (847 rushing yards) and senior running back Darnell Woolfolk (885 rushing yards) combine for 26 of the Black Knights' 39 rushing touchdowns. Hopkins has completed 48-of-90 passes for 956 yards, six scores and three interceptions while senior Jordan Asberry (nine catches, 197 yards) has caught half of those touchdowns. Senior linebacker James Nachtigal (81 tackles and five sacks) leads an Army defense that has held five opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing and has forced 16 turnovers, including four in the win against rival Navy to give the Black Knights the Commanders-in-Chief's Trophy in back-to-back seasons and back-to-back 10-win seasons - both program firsts.

PREDICTION: Army 27, Houston 23
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Houston 8-4 L1 46.4 34.4 5-1 3-3 1-0 5-1 5-3
Army 10-2 W8 29.7 18.0 7-0 3-2 2-2 0-0 1-0
Last Meeting
Houston Army
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/18/04 ARMY 21 HOU 35 647 369 278 337 234 103
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Houston K. Kolb 60.6 278 1 1
Army R. Nevels 33.3 103 1 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Houston A. Evans 34 282 8.3 2
Army T. Robinson 10 148 14.8 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Houston V. Marshall 9 139 15.4 1
Army A. Alexander II 4 71 17.8 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Houston A. Evans 2
Army C. Jones 2
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Houston D. King 63.5 2982 36 6
Army K. Hopkins Jr. 53.3 956 6 3
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Houston P. Carr 143 816 5.7 5
Army D. Woolfolk 210 885 4.2 14
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Houston M. Stevenson 67 947 14.1 9
Army J. Asberry 9 197 21.9 3
Touchdowns Player TD
Houston D. King 14
Army D. Woolfolk 14
Quickchart Matchup
Houston Houston Off vs  Army Army Def
Houston 528.2 yards
Army 293.5 yards
Houston 5.5 yards/rush
Army 4.1 yards/rush
Houston 8.2 yards/attempt
Army 7.5 yards/attempt
Army Army Off vs  Houston Houston Def
Army 375.9 yards
Houston 488.9 yards
Army 4.6 yards/rush
Houston 4.3 yards/rush
Army 10.2 yards/attempt
Houston 7.5 yards/attempt