Armed Forces Bowl preview: Navy vs. MTSU
Navy (8-4) vs. Middle Tennessee (8-4, 6-2 C-USA)
December 30, 11:45 a.m. ET (ESPN)
Navy Players to Watch:
Keenan Reynolds, QB—Reynolds has accounted for 37 touchdowns this season (29 rush [!!!], eight passing), including a ridiculous eight-score performance in a recent 58-52 win over San Jose State.
Cody Peterson, LB—Peterson is by far Navy’s best player on defense, anchoring the front seven with 124 tackles and a sack this season.
Middle Tennessee Players to Watch:
Logan Kilgore, QB—A three-year starter, Kilgore enters his final game as a Blue Raider with 7,631 yards, 53 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.
Jordan Parker, RB—Parker has had a very quiet, yet productive season. His productivity accompanied by counterpart Reggie Whatley will determine the success of MTSU against Navy.
Navy Key to Victory:
Keep doing what you do. Every team in America knows that Navy is going to run the football 90 percent of the time, and yet the Midshipmen still put up the nation’s 32nd-best points for average (34.3). This is a good matchup against a MTSU front that has had issues stopping the run since Week 1.
Middle Tennessee Key to Victory:
Force turnovers. This is easier said than done, as Navy is the least turnover prone football team in the country (along with the least penalized), coughing it up just eight teams in 12 games. The Blue Raiders come in with a playmaking defensive unit that has forced 31 turnovers, which ranks top-five in the FBS. The winner of this battle will win the game.
Line: Navy (-6.5)
Prediction: Navy is the most disciplined team in the country (go figure), while Middle Tennessee has been susceptive to miscues—and I don’t think it has the athleticism up front to stop the triple-option. Neither bode well for the Raiders.
Navy 42, Middle Tennessee 28
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