Head-to-head: Navy vs. Arkansas State

Navy plays its final home game of the season against the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Saturday. Last week Navy suffered a scare as they held on to beat the Central Michigan Chippewas in Annapolis, 38-37. ASU lost to Western Kentucky 36-35 in overtime. The Midshipmen class of 2011, which beat Notre Dame three times and won three Commander-In-Chief's trophies, will be honored before the game.

This is the first meeting between these two programs.

NAVY
EDGE
AREA
Arkansas State
EDGE
COMMENTS
 
Navy rushing offense
vs.
Arkansas State rushing defense
 
Navy rushed for 437yards, scored five touchdowns last week. The Mids averaged 8.4 per carry for the second week in a row. Quarterback Kriss Proctor, filling in for Ricky Dobbs last week, did a terrific job handling his reads and rushed for 201 yards on 20 carries. Ricky Dobbs (652 yds,10 TDs), who sat out last week with a concussion, will start this week. Fullback Alexander Teich scored two touchdowns in his last last game and leads the team in rushing with 692 yards. Slotback Gee Gee Greene carried six times for 37 yards last week and is averaging seven yards a carry this year. Aaron Santiago scored his first rushing touchdown this year when he opened scoring against Central Michigan with a 31-yard touchdown run. Navy's has been using its depth at slotback as Bo Snelson and John Howell have seen more game action and played well. The offensive line has been dominate the past month as the offense is averaging 45 points per game. Navy currently is ranked fifth in the nation averaging over 302 yards a game. Arkansas State's rushing defense is ranked 111th in the nation in run defense allowing over 206 rushing yards a game. Linebacker Javon McKinnon leads the Red Wolves with 77 tackles. Linebacker Elroy Brown had a huge game against Western Kentucky with career highs of eight tackles, three tackles for losses and 2 1/2 sacks. This is a very difficult matchup for the Red Wolves which rank last in the Sun Belt Conference against the run. In six of ten games this year the Red Wolves have allowed 200 or more rushing yards.  
 
Navy passing offense
vs.
Arkansas State passing defense
 
Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs has thrown a touchdown pass in five consecutive starts. On the season Dobbs has passed for 1,030 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Greg Jones has been Dobbs' favorite receiver with 24 receptions for 425 yards and three touchdowns. Aaron Santiago who had the longest pass reception, a 26-yard catch and run, against Central Michigan. He has made big plays in the passing game since his return from his hamstring injury. Santiago has caught 9 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns this seaon. Navy has done a lot better job in pass protection this season. Arkansas State allows over 233 passing yards a game and is ranked 86th in the nation in pass defense. The Red Wolves struggle defending the pass at times but do a good job pressuring the quarterback. Arkansas state is ranked 19th in the nation with 26 sacks this year. They are led by defensive tackle Bryan Hall with 8 1/2 sacks. Hall was selected the preseason Sun Belt conference defensive player of the year and has lived up to the hype. Fellow defensive tackle Brandon Joiner has 4 sacks. Junior strong safety Kelcie McCray has intercepted two passes and posted 65 tackles. Adrian Hills picked off two passes and returned one for a touchdown in a win over Florida Atlantic. Free safety M.D. Jennings is a playmaker with 65 tackles, two interceptions, four passes defended and a sack. Jennings was everywhere against Western Kentucky matching a career high 13 tackles.  
 
Arkansas State rushing offense
vs.
Navy rushing defense
 
Arkansas State runs a four receiver offensive set with a single back. Derek Lawson is a grinder who's leads the team in rushing with 467 yards and four touchdowns. Jermaine Robertson at 230 pounds is a powerful back who plays mostly in short yardage situations. Robertson has rushed for 257 yards and five touchdowns. Ryan Aplin is a very mobile quarterback who has 401 yards and 10 touchdowns running the ball. The Red Wolves average 144 rushing yards a game. Navy ranks 52nd in the nation against the run. Inside linebacker Tyler Simmons has recorded 102 tackles this year. Jabaree Tuani had five tackles, a pass breakup and had 1 1/2 sacks against the Chippewas. Nose tackle Chase Burge has 31 tackles and has played well up front. Navy held the ground game of Central Michigan to 101 yards rushing and allowed only 3.2 yards a carry.  
 
Arkansas State passing offense
vs.
Navy passing defense
 
Arkansas State's passing offense is an up-tempo version of the spread offense averaging 272 yards a game. Red Wolves are ranked 22nd in nation in passing. Quarterback Ryan Aplin has set the Red Wolves' single-season completions record. Aplin has passed for 2,630 yards this season, completing 61.3 percent of his passes for 18 touchdown passes against 10 interceptions. Aplin has thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game this season. Senior wide receiver Dwayne Frampton has 62 catches for 668 yards and five touchdowns this year. Frampton caught 10 passes last week against the Hilltoppers. Allen Muse has caught 30 passes for 485 yards and has produced three touchdowns. Taylor Stockemer is a big , 6-4, physical receiver has recorded 28 receptions for 483 yards and five touchdowns. The Red Wolves are currently ranked 58th in the nation in sacks allowed. Arkansas State is a mirror image of the type of passing attacks that have given Navy's defense fits over the last month. Navy ranks 87th in the nation in pass defense allowing over 233 yards a game. The Mids have allowed an abysmal 68 percent of opponents passes to be completed this year as their scheme have been picked apart underneath. Navy has yielded 807 passing yards the last two games. The Mids have missed two many tackles in the secondary the last month. Navy received bad news this week that safety Emmett Merchant's playing career has ended due to repeated concussions.  
EVEN
Special Teams
EVEN  
The Arkansas State kicker Brian Davis has hit 3-of-4 field goal attempts this year after replacing Bobby Zalud who struggled. Punter Neely Sullivent averages 40.9 yards a punt and has placed 13 punts inside the twenty yard line. Arkansas State punt returners, Roderick Hall and Dwayne Frampton have averaged only 6.5 yard a return. They struggle at times covering punts as opponents are averaging 8.7 a punt return. Arkansas State's Roderick Hall has averaged 24.9 yards per kickoff return including a 71-yard return. The Red Wolves do a better job covering kickoffs limiting teams to 20.2 yards a return. Navy punter Kyle Delahooke has been inconsistent this year and averages 38.7 yards per punt. He had to punt only once last week and nailed a 49-yard punt. Kicker Joe Buckley returned from an injury and hit a 35 yard field goal last weekend. Buckley has hit 6-of-9 field goal attempts this year. Freshman Marcus Thomas has shown excellent speed on kickoff returns. He had a 31-yard return against Central Michigan. Tra'ves Bush has been excellent on coverage teams. Punt returner Gary Myers hasn't offered much in the return game averaging only 5.6 yards on twelve punt returns this year.  
 
Coaching
 
Steve Roberts has posted a 45-61 record since taking the reins at Arkansas State in 2002. Roberts already holds the fifth most wins among ASU's all-time head coaches. Roberts was named 2005 Sun Belt Conference coach of the year. Ken Niumatalolo has continued the Navy football success as Navy is bowl eligible for eighth straight year. Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper has the offense firing on all cylinders. On the other hand, Buddy Green's defense has gone in the opposite direction struggling with coverage mistakes and missed tackles against good passing offenses over the past month.  
 
Intangibles
 
This is the final home game of a special senior class, led by captains Ricky Dobbs and Wyatt Middleton, that provided some amazing memories and great moments for Navy football. Arkansas State enters the game coming off a bitter loss to Western Kentucky. ASU felt the loss as a result of an official's error.  

PREDICTION: Navy, 45-28. Arkansas State will move the ball against the Mids but they will have no answers for Navy's rushing attack. Navy should roll.

See what Navy fans are saying about this upcoming game in the GoMids.com GoMidshipmen FORUM.

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