Game 11 of 12 – Navy vs Texas State

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. It is time for the 11th most important game on the Navy schedule, the 11th clash of the season against Texas State.

Importance Level

This game has marginally more impact that it would have done in 2011 purely because this is the first year that Texas State will be a fully fledged FBS program. This transition from the Southland to the WAC means that the game will count fully towards Navy's 2012 bowl bid. Navy plays a bunch of schools that look like being bottom feeders in the FBS this season, and in many ways Texas State is something of an unknown. The fact the game is right at the end of the schedule (only the Army-Navy clash is later) means that Navy will most likely be bowl qualified already by kick off.

Navy's Keys to Winning

Run, run, and run some more. Texas State has never played a schedule as daunting as the one they face this year, and by the 11th game of the season the Bobcats will be worn down. The school has only just been able increase the number of scholarshipped players to the FBS standard of 85, and on what will surely be a frigid night Navy needs to let the power O take over. Expect a ton of dives, off tackle runs, blasts, and liberal use of the fullback as Navy overpowers a tiring defense.

The key man to stop for the Academy is TSU safety Xavier Daniels. Daniels plays the rover position in the Bobcats unique 4-2-5 defense and was their leading tackler a year ago. He will likely be assigned a spy type role and Navy will need to prioritize getting blockers to the second level to keep him off of the ball carrier. Navy also needs to use the fact that the triple option is such a unique system and get on top early against an opponent which will not have seen the formation in 2012.

How Navy Could Lose

Texas State is actually the 5th biggest university by population in the most football crazy state in the Union. The school has made a massive commitment to building a program and they see big wins during the first few years of FBS membership as key to successfully recruiting their home state. The Bobcats certainly showed a sign of intent in 2011 by hiring former Alabama and Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione to lead the transition to FBS status. For now though Texas State is still some way off of competing at this level.

A look back at the Bobcats 6-6 record a year ago shows heavy losses to both Wyoming and Texas Tech, FBS schools who had far from remarkable seasons. The Bobcats recently had eight players selected to various All WAC teams and Navy should be particularly wary of junior running back Terrence Franks. Texas State has proven it can score points on anyone, and Franks led the team with nearly 900 yards and 9 TDs in 2011. If he can find running lanes in the Navy defense then the Bobcats will be able to move the ball and try to dictate the tempo of the game.

What Will Happen

Texas State will have chances to record its first ever FBS wins in some games this season, but this should not be one of them. Navy will have the benefit of seeing almost a full seasons worth of the Bobcats on game tape, and so nothing that the new boys throw at them should be a surprise. A win by 25-30 points would not be a surprise as a tight game early blows open in the second half.

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