Navy (7-4) vs. Army (3-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 6th, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lincoln Financial Field (67,594) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: CBS. Home Record: Navy 4-1, Army 2-4. Away Record: Navy 3-2, Army 1-4. Neutral Record: Navy 0-1, Army 0-0. Conference Record: Navy 0-0, Army 0-0. Series Record: Navy leads, 52-49-7.
GAME NOTES: In one of the greatest traditions in all of sports, the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen will collide this Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field for the 109th time. Navy holds a slim 52-49-7 lead in the all-time series, but recently the Midshipmen have dominated Army, collecting six straight wins by an average of 28.2 ppg. The six-game winning streak is the longest in the long standing series. Navy will also be in search of its sixth consecutive Commander-In-Chief's trophy. The trophy is given to the winner between the three major service academies (Navy, Army, and Air Force). During the Midshipmen's recent run, the team has collected 11 straight wins against Army and Air Force. This year the Midshipmen have won seven contests, and come into this game with three wins in the last four games. The last time Navy was on the field the team defeated Northern Illinois, 16-0. As for the Black Knights, they have not enjoyed much success, losing eight of their 11 games. Army heads into this matchup in the midst of a three-game slide, and that includes an embarrassing, 30-3 loss to Rutgers on November 22nd.
There is no secret on Navy's part as to how the team plans on defeating an opponent. The Midshipmen plan to run the ball from start to finish, punishing the opposition's frontline. The Midshipmen are averaging a tremendous 292.0 ypg on the ground and out of the 34 touchdowns scored by this unit, 29 have come via the run. Overall this unit is averaging 355.5 total ypg, and that has led to 27.3 ppg. Shun White has been the main option in the crowded backfield, as the tailback has rushed for 873 yards and seven scores. Eric Kettani is next in line with 807 yards and three touchdowns, while Ricky Dobbs has rumbled for 493 yards and a team-high eight scores. In the team's recent win over Northern Illinois, the Midshipmen pounded the Huskies for 262 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Dobbs led the way with 124 yards and one touchdown, while Kettani totaled 92 yards to go along with one score.
On the other side of the ball, the Midshipmen have been mediocre at best, surrendering 358.9 total ypg, and that has led to 23.4 ppg. The defensive unit has really struggled against the pass, allowing 230.5 ypg through the air, along with 16 passing TDs. Fortunately the team has been able to force 27 turnovers on the year, but pressuring the quarterback has been a problem, as the team has recorded just 15 sacks. Navy put forth a very impressive showing in the team's win over NIU, limiting the Huskies to just 251 total yards, including just 116 yards through the air. The defense forced two turnovers in the win, and was led by Ross Pospisil, who recorded a team-best 12 tackles.
The Black Knights have taken the same approach as the Midshipmen this season, and come into this matchup averaging 254.1 rushing ypg. However, the ground attack has not been as successful as Navy's, as the Black Knights have scored just 17 rushing touchdowns. Overall this unit is averaging just 299.8 total ypg, and that has led to a mere 16.1 ppg. Collin Mooney has been the top option out of the backfield, as the tailback has rushed for 1,285 yards and eight touchdowns. Quarterback Chip Bowden has contributed with 566 yards, but has just one touchdown on 3.1 ypc. In the team's recent matchup with Rutgers, the Black Knights rushed for 217 yards, but still suffered a rough, 30-3 setback. Mooney led the way with 112 yards on 5.6 ypc, while Bowden chipped in 83 yards on 21 attempts.
The poor offensive play has overshadowed the team's consistent performance on the defensive side of the ball, as the Black Knights come into this matchup, holding opponents to just 331.3 total ypg and 22.7 ppg. This unit has done a commendable job against the run, limiting teams to just 124.8 ypg on 3.6 ypc. However, this unit has been unable to force may big plays and comes into this game with just 16 takeaways and 19 sacks. In the loss to Rutgers, the Black Knights had no answer to the Scarlet Knights' passing attack, as the defense was torched for 359 passing yards, and 521 total yards. Army was able to force two turnovers, and limited Rutgers to just 3-of-6 inside the red zone. Frank Scappaticci was the most active player on the field for the defense, as the linebacker finished with a team-high 12 tackles.
The Black Knights have been solid on defense throughout the season, but stopping the ground game of Navy will be a tough task. The Midshipmen should continue their dominance over Army, en route to a seventh straight victory in this great series.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Navy 21, Army 10
12/03 10:39:26 ET