Navy (6-4) at San Jose State (5-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 22, 9:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Spartan Stadium (30,456) -- San Jose, California. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Navy 5-0, SJSU 2-2. Away Record: Navy 1-4, SJSU 3-3. Neutral Record: Navy 0-0, SJSU 0-0. Conference Record: Navy 0-0, SJSU 4-3. Series Record: San Jose State leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Already locked in to the Armed Forces Bowl, which will be played in Fort Worth, Texas on Dec. 30 versus a representative from the Mountain West Conference, the Navy Midshipmen go up against the San Jose State Spartans on Friday night in California.
Navy has won two straight games and three of the last four, thanks to a 42-14 romp over visiting South Alabama last weekend in Annapolis. With that latest victory the Midshipmen made themselves bowl eligible and immediately locked into the Armed Forces Bowl, their 10th postseason appearance in the last 11 years.
As for the Spartans, they need just one more win in order to throw their hats into the ring for a potential postseason invite, but since winning four in a row the team has dropped back-to-back decisions. The most recent of those defeats came at the hands of Nevada on the road in Reno, 38-16, last Saturday.
SJSU owns a 2-0 edge in the all-time series with Navy, thanks to a 12-0 win last year in Annapolis.
Quarterback Keenan Reynolds threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the Midshipmen crushed visiting South Alabama by four touchdowns last Saturday. Reynolds converted 10-of-17 passes for 168 yards and a score to Matt Aiken, adding another 59 yards on the ground on 17 carries for a rushing attack that generated 351 yards and scored four TDs. Darius Staten took top honors this time with seven carries for 127 yards and a TD.
The Navy defense looked a bit shaky in the first half when it surrendered touchdowns on drives that consisted of 14 and 11 plays, respectively, but after that the hosts didn't blink. There was a 20-play drive that dragged out in the second half for close to nine minutes, but in the end South Alabama turned the ball over on downs.
The most active defender for the Midshipmen this season has been Cody Peterson who has come up with 106 stops in 10 games, his 74 solo tackles more than all but one of his teammates has total stops. The team has been solid against the pass with just 209.9 ypg allowed, and it doesn't hurt that Navy ranks first in the nation in fewest penalties per game (3.0) and penalty yards (26.0).
As is usually the case, the Navy offense is again riding high on a rushing attack that is generating 311.0 ypg to rank fifth in the nation. Reynolds has done the majority of the damage with 884 yards and a staggering 19 touchdowns on 214 carries, but there are plenty of running backs who are available to help shoulder the load.
David Fales threw for 326 yards against Nevada last weekend, but still the offense for the Spartans stalled in a big way as they ended up on the wrong side of a 22-point decision at Mackay Stadium. Fales completed 28-of-43 passes, but had just one touchdown and was sacked three times, with those negative 25 rushing yards bringing down the team's overall rushing output to a mere 58 yards on 30 attempts.
Kicker Austin Lopez did his job with three successful field goals, each from 44 yards or longer, but the SJSU defense was simply too lenient as it gave up close to 500 yards to the Wolf Pack.
Lopez, a perfect 28-of-28 on PATs this season, has been called on to salvage many stalled drives in 2013, to the point where he has attempted 23 field goals and knocked through all but four of them.
One of the most accurate passers in all of college football last season, Fales has been having his ups-and-downs thus far, converting 60.4 percent of his chances for 320.2 ypg and 22 TDs, but also 12 interceptions along the way. Chandler Jones has been a one-man wrecking crew further down the field with his 64 receptions for 1,109 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he and Fales cannot do it all for the SJSU offense.
As long as the Midshipmen don't dominate the time of possession and Fales is able to get the SJSU offense into gear, consider the Spartans a formidable foe for Navy this week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Jose State 30, Navy 27
11/20 10:39:07 ET