Game 12 of 12 – Navy vs VMI

With the countdown to kickoff getting ever closer it is time to take an early look at each game on the Navy schedule in 2012. Instead of taking the game chronologically (no one has any creativity any more) we are going to look at the games in order of their importance to the season. We are starting with the 12th most important game of the season, the September 22nd clash at home to VMI.

Importance Level

Looking at the Naval Academy schedule for 2012 it is pretty easy to figure out why this game ranks where it does. With Texas State moving out of the Southland Conference and into the WAC on July 1st of this year, the VMI game becomes Navy's only game against a non FBS opponent. As a result, this is the only game of the year which does not count towards Navy's bowl eligibility. Sure, the fact that it is an all military contest is appealing, but when it comes down to it any game against an FCS school is going to be bottom of the list.

Navy's Keys to Winning

It is tough to say that all Navy needs to do to beat VMI is show up, but it would be an upset of monumental proportions if anything else were to happen. Obviously the primary focus of the Navy attack will be via running the ball at, around, and through the VMI defensive unit. Expect speedy slot backs like Gee Gee Green and John Howell to see even more of the ball than normal as Navy exploits VMI's poor tackling and lack of sideline to sideline speed.

Though it is not the Midshipmen's style, Navy should also look to air out the ball a little against the Keydets. The VMI defense was only able to pick off 4 balls in 2011 while giving up 18 TDs through the air. The weakness is there if Navy wants to take advantage of it.

How Navy Could Lose

Barring a major flu outbreak or a suspension of half the team Navy should be able to control everything that happens in this game. VMI graduated many of its most productive players from a year ago and will need a bunch of breakout performers to give Navy too much trouble. The main threat will come from sophomore running back Jabari Turner. Turner had three scores in limited action in 2011 and was one of the most impressive performers in spring ball for the Keydets, picking up yards in big chunks whenever he was given the ball.

What Will Happen

Coming off of the two most difficult games of the season (Notre Dame and Penn State) Navy will be wanting to make a statement at the expense of VMI. This is also the first home game of the season and if a win can be stolen against the opening duo then the Midshipmen will be looking to put on a show. VMI has not posted a winning season since 1981 (they don't exactly play a murderous schedule) and the result should be the biggest blow out win of the season. Expect well over 400 yards rushing, big plays all day long, and a victory by at least 30 points. Top Stories