FACTS & STATS: Site: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (30,000) -- Annapolis, Maryland. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: TSU 2-3, Navy 3-1. Away Record: TSU 1-3, Navy 3-2. Neutral Record: TSU 0-0, Navy 0-1. Conference Record: TSU 1-3, Navy 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the Navy Midshipmen and the Texas State Bobcats is set to take place on Saturday afternoon in Annapolis.
Navy, which is set to join the Big East Conference in football beginning in 2015, currently operates as an Independent and saw a five-game win streak come to an end last week when the squad was taken out by Troy on the road, 41-31. Despite the setback, the Midshipmen have already been penciled in to take part in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29 versus an opponent from the Pac-12 Conference.
Meanwhile, the Bobcats are just getting their feet wet in the Western Athletic Conference and have won just one of their four league outings. Last week they took one of the nation's top-scoring programs down to the wire before suffering a 62-55 loss versus Louisiana Tech at home. The defeat was the third in a row and the fifth in six tries for Texas State.
Even though these two teams have never met, Navy does have a 2-2 mark all-time against members of the WAC, beating Louisiana Tech twice and losing two times to San Jose State.
In a wild shootout in San Marcos last weekend, the Bobcats tried desperately to keep up with Louisiana Tech but simply ran out of gas down the stretch in the seven-point decision. Shaun Rutherford threw for 234 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for another 90 yards and a score for the hosts, while Marcus Curry and Terrence Franks both recorded a pair of rushing scores for the hosts as well.
Obviously, the Texas State defense was beaten up quite a bit by the Bulldogs as the visitors gained a staggering 627 yards of total offense as they ran 101 plays which was bound to tire out the Bobcats. The hosts recorded just a single tackle for loss by Tylond Robertson, while Joplo Bartu was responsible for a team-high 16 tackles overall.
Even though he had a huge effort against LaTech, Bartu has just 49 total tackles over the course of nine games, which is still good enough for third in the unit. As was the case last weekend, the Bobcats are not that strong at stopping plays in the backfield as they average less than four TFLs per game and have recorded a mere six sacks.
Rutherford has completed better than 64 percent of his pass attempts for 11 touchdowns and just five interceptions thus far, not to mention placing second on the team with 388 rushing yards and four TDs. Curry, who missed one game earlier in the season, has landed in the end zone nine times on runs and twice more on receptions.
Navy dug itself a deep hole in the first 17 minutes against the Trojans last week, falling behind by three touchdowns, but the Academy made a valiant effort to battle back and just fell short in the 10-point loss. Ranked seventh in the nation in rushing heading into the week, the Midshipmen produced 328 yards and four TDs on the ground, thanks in large part to quarterback Keenan Reynolds who ran for 130 yards and a three TDs. The signal-caller also completed eight passes for 159 yards, but was sacked three times. Gee Gee Greene contributed 150 yards and a score on 16 rushing attempts.
Wave Ryder was credited with an interception in the first half for the Navy defense and Aaron Davis recovered a fumble, but the Mids made few other big plays on that side of the ball. The team failed to post a single sack and had but a handful of TFLs, although that's not entirely unusual given that Navy is averaging just 1.5 sacks per game (88th nationally) and 4.5 TFLs (106th).
As is the case with all three of the service academies, the offense for Navy is predicated on running the ball, which it does to the tune of 274.3 rpg which has the group ranked sixth in the country this week. Greene leads in terms of total rushing yards with 679, but his two TDs pale in comparison to the nine rushing TDs delivered by Reynolds who is second with 535 yards. The QB has also tossed eight TDs and has completed close to 60 percent of his pass attempts which means the Bobcats will have to be on their toes this weekend.
Even though the Bobcats gave Louisiana Tech a run for its money last weekend, the truth is there was very little defense played in that meeting and with Navy grinding out the yards on the ground the opportunity for countless possessions may not be there for Texas State this time around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Navy 34, Texas State 21
11/14 10:41:29 ET
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