Navy kissed its College Football Playoff hopes goodbye after absorbing a stinging 21-point loss to Houston last Saturday. The Midshipmen will look to end their regular season on a high, though, when they face arch-rivals Army in a blockbuster matchup at Lincoln Financial Field.
Who will emerge victorious in the 116th edition of this interservice rivalry? Read on below for a preview of this much-anticipated college football showdown and while you’re at it, you can check out our preview of the NBA clash between Golden State and Brooklyn.[sc:NCAAFArticles ]
Army Black Knights vs. Navy Midshipmen Preview
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia
When: Saturday, December 12, 3:00 PM ET
Line: Army Black Knights at Navy Midshipmen – view all NCAA Football lines
Betting on the Army Black Knights (2-9)
Army’s losing woes show no sign of abating as the Black Knights crashed to their fourth consecutive defeat with a gut-wrenching 31-21 loss to Rutgers last Saturday. The Black Knights had difficulty stopping Rutgers running back Paul James who rushed for 116 yards and three touchdowns. Army has now lost its last nine games against Rutgers.
[sc:NCAA240banner ]Things are bound to get tougher for the reeling Black Knights as they will next face arch-rivals Navy in their annual interservice game. The Midshipmen have dominated this rivalry of late, winning their last 13 meetings with the Black Knights. That’s the longest win streak in this series’ history. Army will take comfort in the fact, however, that it has given Navy a fright in their recent matchups. In fact, three of the last four Army-Navy games have been decided by just seven points or less.
For Army to pull off a major upset, it needs to improve on its rushing defense. They conceded 254 rushing yards in their last loss to Rutgers. That kind of defense simply won’t do against a Navy ground attack that is second in the FBS in rushing offense, averaging a whopping 330.1 yards per game this season.
Army’s defense will need to buckle down and limit quarterback Keenan Reynolds. He has thrown for 964 yards and six touchdowns this year in addition to his 1,093 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. Reynolds ran 26 times for 100 yards and completed six of eight passes for 77 yards and a touchdown in Navy’s 17-10 win over Army last season.
Apart from their defense, the Black Knights also need to get solid production from quarterback Chris Carter. He was superb in his first career start last Saturday, posting a total of 251 yards. The California native gained 111 yards rushing on 20 carries and scored once against Rutgers. Carter also completed 4-of-6 passes for 140 yards — the most by an Army quarterback in five years — and a touchdown in that game.
Army is 0-5 ATS in its last five games.
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Betting on the Navy Midshipmen (9-2, 7-1 AAC)
The Navy Midshipmen had their five-game winning streak snapped last Saturday with a crushing 52-31 loss to the Houston Cougars. The Midshipmen had no answer for Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr. who threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns. It was a disappointing result for Navy who lost its grasp on the CFP Group of 5 race.
The Midshipmen will look to atone for that sorry loss when they take on the Black Knights this coming Saturday. For Navy to defeat its bitter rival, it will need to improve on its play on the defensive end. Navy had a hard time getting Houston off the field, with the Cougars converting 16 of their 19 third-down opportunities. That will be trouble against an Army side that converted nine of their 13 third-down chances in the game against Rutgers.
It didn’t help one bit that Navy also had difficulty running the football in the loss to Houston. The Midshipmen had rushed for 400 yards in back-to-back outings, but their triple-option offense was held to just 147 yards by Houston’s defense. The onus then is on Heisman Trophy candidate Keenan Reynolds to breathe some life into the Navy offense. He scored his 83rd career touchdown in the loss to Houston to match the FBS record set by Wisconsin’s Montee Ball. He will be licking his chops at the prospect of facing an Army defensive line that’s allowing 162.1 yards per game on the ground this season, 58th in the entire FBS.
Navy is 4-1 ATS in its last five games.
Navy eases past Army, 41-10.[sc:NCAA490banner ]
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