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Independence Bowl

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Auburn (7-4) vs. Army (10-1)

Site: Shreveport, La.

Time: 3: 30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Line: Auburn by 9 1/2

Players to watch:

Dameyune Craig, Auburn: Craig threw 16 TD passes and was third in the Southeast Conference in total offense with 2,504 yards.

Ronnie McAda, Army: McAda leads the Cadets' option attack, which ranks first in the nation in rushing (346.5 yards per game).

Best win:

Army 28, Navy 24: Navy failed to score on eight plays within the Army 10-yard line in the closing minutes as the Cadets came from 18 points down to defeat the Midshipmen for the fifth straight time.

Auburn 28, Arkansas 7: The Tigers' win was their sixth in seven games and offset a 41-point loss to top-ranked Florida the week before.

Outlook: No. 24 Army's run defense ranked sixth in the country, allowing just 89 yards per game. But it will be hard-pressed against the offensive speed of Auburn, particularly that of freshmen RBs Rusty Williams and Markeith Cooper, both of whom averaged 5.5 yards per carry. The Tigers' defense is fast and athletic, but inconsistent tackling could be a huge problem against Army's option. Sophomore S Martavius Houston leads a secondary that led the nation with 2.0 interceptions per game.

Pub Date: 12/31/96

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