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Navy (1-1) at Louisiana Tech (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 18th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Joe Aillet Stadium (30,600) -- Ruston, Louisiana. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Navy 1-0, Louisiana Tech 0-0. Away Record: Navy 0-0, Louisiana Tech 0-1. Neutral Record: Navy 0-1, Louisiana Tech 1-0. Conference Record: Navy 0-0, Louisiana Tech 0-0. Series Record: Navy leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: Last year the Midshipmen and Bulldogs collided for the first-time ever on the gridiron and it was Navy that walked away with a 32-14 victory, Louisiana Tech seeks revenge this weekend when the two school battle at Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston.
The Midshipmen did not have an easy time in their recent matchup against Georgia Southern, but still managed to pull out a slim, 13-7 victory. It was a much needed win for coach Ken Niumatalolo's squad, which suffered a 17-14 setback to Maryland in their opener despite holding the ball for close to 19 minutes longer than the Terrapins.
The Sonny Dykes era at Louisiana Tech began with a solid, 20-6 decision over Grambling State. However, coach Dykes' first victory in Ruston was followed by his first loss, as the Bulldogs stumbled against Texas A&M this past weekend, 48-16.
Some of the best defensive teams in the country have struggled against Navy's rushing attack, but surprisingly this past weekend the Midshipmen were controlled by Georgia Southern. Navy finished with just 109 yards on 43 carries, but despite the lack of success on the ground, coach Niumatalolo's team still managed to pull out a win.
Vince Murray led the way for Navy with 50 yards, while quarterback Ricky Dobbs tallied 44 yards and the team's lone touchdown. Dobbs also threw for 84 yards on 5-of-8 passing in the victory. Dobbs is only averaging 2.0 ypc on the season, but has two rushing touchdowns, and as for Murray he is currently leading the team with 162 rushing yards.
Even though the offense for Navy was clearly not at its best, the defense picked up the slack by holding Georgia Southern to a mere 109 total yards.
After allowing over 200 rushing yards in the loss to Maryland, the Midshipmen did a much better job against the run in the victory over GSU, as Navy held the Eagles to a meager 73 yards on an equally poor 1.9 yards per carry.
Coach Niumatalolo's defense only forced one turnover in the victory, but limited Georgia Southern to just 3-of-13 on third down attempts and also finished the game with three sacks.
The Bulldogs looked overmatched against Texas A&M's defense and it showed in the final score, as coach Dykes's squad suffered a 32-point loss.
Louisiana Tech's offense dominated Grambling State on the ground in the opener, but the team was unable to carry that success into its second matchup. Against the Aggies, the Bulldogs were stymied on the ground, finishing the game with just 61 yards on 40 carries.
The passing attack was not much better in the setback, as Colby Cameron struggled under center in his first start. Cameron, who stepped in for Ross Jenkins in the season-opener, completed 15-of-31 passes for just 115 yards. Cameron was also sacked three times and intercepted twice.
However, junior college transfer Tarik Hakmi took over for Cameron and finished the game with both of Louisiana Tech's touchdowns. Hakmi threw for 93 yards and one score in the loss, and also found the end zone on the ground. Other than Hakmi's performance though, the Bulldogs did not have much success with the football.
The loss to Texas A&M should not be pinned solely on the play of the offense, because coach Dykes's defense also performed poorly in the setback.
The Bulldogs only surrendered six points against Grambling State in their opener, but clearly the Aggies are a much better team, and proved it to the tune of 48 points against Louisiana Tech.
This defense which held Grambling State to under 200 passing yards, was torched by Jerrod Johnson and the Aggies, as Texas A&M's quarterback threw for 349 yards and four scores.
Struggling against the pass is the main problem facing this defense, but not to be overlooked is the team's inability to stop the run, as the Aggies also rumbled for 216 yards, leaving the Bulldogs with no answers for Texas A&M's offense.
This weekend the Bulldogs will not have much trouble against the pass, because Navy rarely throws the football. However, with that said, Louisiana Tech will have its hands full trying to stop Navy's ground attack. Considering how much success Texas A&M had on the ground against the Bulldogs, look for the Midshipmen to have a big day running the football.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Navy 27, Louisiana Tech 21
09/15 10:50:28 ET