Head-to-head: Navy vs. Texas State

The Navy Midshipmen return home to face the Texas State Bobcats on Senior Day after their road loss to Troy. Last week Troy jumped out to a 21-0 lead and went on to beat Navy 41-31. The loss ended the Mids five game winning streak. Texas State is 3-6 on the year and coming off a 62-55 loss to No. 20 Louisiana Tech.

The Navy Midshipmen return home to face the Texas State Bobcats on Senior Day after their road loss to Troy. Last week Troy jumped out to a 21-0 lead and went on to beat Navy 41-31. The loss ended the Mids five game winning streak. Texas State is 3-6 on the year and coming off a 62-55 loss to No. 20 Louisiana Tech. The Bobcats had a season high in points and total yardage (577), but it wasn't enough against Louisiana Tech's prolific offense. This is the first meeting between the two schools.

Navy's Rushing Offense
VS.
Texas State's Rushing Defense
Edge: Navy
The Mids are averaging 274 rushing yards per game on the ground and are now ranked No. 6 in the nation in that category. Freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds rushed for 130 yards and scored three touchdowns but lost two fumbles against Troy. Reynolds has rushed for 535 yards and scored nine touchdowns this year. Senior slotback Gee Gee Greene ran for a career high 150 yards and a touchdown last week against the Trojans. Greene's 59-yard touchdown run was the longest of his career. Fullback Noah Copeland (482 yards, 4.3 per carry, 2 TD) matched his season low of just six carries last week. Last season's NAPS MVP Chris Swain made his debut last week. Senior slotback Bo Snelson (238 yards, 6.4 per carry) will be playing his last game at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.

Texas State plays a 4-2-5 defense that is allowing 211 rushing yards a game and 5.5 yards per carry. Last week the Bobcats allowed 283 rushing yards to Louisiana tech. Safety Jason Mclean leads Trojans with 58 tackles and has forced a fumble. Free safety Xavier Daniels has recorded 51 tackles and a forced fumble. Daniels led team with 77 tackles, three interceptions and broke up five passes last year. Senior linebacker Joplo Bartu (6-2, 229) has made 49 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks this year.

Navy's Passing Offense
VS.
Texas State's Passing Defense
Edge: Navy
Navy's freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds threw for a career high 159 passing yards in the loss to Troy. Reynolds has hit 43-of- 72 passes for 597 yards (59.7%) for eight touchdowns against one interception. Shawn Lynch (13 rec., 267 yards, 20.5 avg., 1 TD) had a career long 68-yard reception last week. Senior wide receiver Brandon Turner (18 rec., 251 yards, 13.9 avg. 3 TDs) leads Navy in both receptions and touchdowns. Navy's offensive line has struggled with pass protection and is ranked 62nd in sacks allowed.

The Bobcats are allowing 283 passing yards a game. Last week they were lit up for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Texas State is allowing 35 points per game. Cornerback Darryl Morris (48 tackles, 3 int., 6 pass def.) is a four year starter. Morris and fellow cornerback Craig Mager are tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Last year Morris returned an interception for a touchdown and recorded a safety. Texas State has trouble pressuring the quarterback and has recorded just six sacks this year.

Texas State's Rushing Offense
VS.
Navy's Rushing Defense
Edge: Even
Texas State's spread offense runs a one back set. Former Navy slotback transfer Marcus Curry rushed for a career-high 134 yards and two touchdowns on just 13 carries against Louisiana Tech. Curry led the Navy slotbacks in rushing as a freshman with 585 yards. Marcus is Texas State's leading rusher with 513 yards on 84 carries (6.1 avg.) with nine touchdowns. Quarterback Shaun Rutherford has rushed for 388 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomore Terrance Frank (224 yards, 3 TDs) ran for two touchdowns last week.

Navy is ranked 70th in the country in run defense allowing 165 rushing yards per game. Navy's defense allowed 182 rushing yards, 5.1 yards per carry and three touchdowns as Troy's offense spread them out. Navy will face the same type of zone blocking scheme they struggled with last week and in the recent past. Inside linebacker Matt Warrick (64 tackles, 4 1/2 TFL, 3 INT) has regained his starting spot after losing it against East Carolina. Warrick posted 10 tackles against Troy. Navy had trouble getting off blocks versus Troy with neither nose tackle Barry Dabney or defensive end Evan Palelei recording a tackle.

Texas State's Passing Offense
VS.
Navy's Passing Defense
Edge: Even
Texas State senior quarterback Shaun Rutherford has completed 129 of his 200 passes for 1,454 yards (64.5%) with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Against Louisiana Tech Rutherford helped the Bobcats to keep pace for a while as he threw for 234 yards and two scores. Wide receiver Andy Erickson leads Texas State with 33 receptions for 428 yards (12.9 avg.) and three touchdowns. The Bobcats best offensive player is senior tight end Chase Harper. The Bobcats do not pass often but Harper is usually the go-to guy on third downs. The 6-5, 260-pound senior is a terrific athlete with NFL potential. Harper can block and has caught 20 passes for 249 yards and three scores. Texas State offensive line has allowed 19 sacks.

The Mids rank 90th in the nation in pass defense. Last week they struggled against Troy's explosive passing offense. Robinson was very accurate, completing 25 of 28 passes for 322 yards and a touchdown. The Mids defense was uncharacteristically beat deep for a 62-yard touchdown bomb. Navy struggled against Troy's speed. Senior rover Tra'ves Bush was often the last line of defense leading the Mids with 13 tackles. Bush leads the team with 73 tackles and has knocked down three passes. Linebacker Keegan Wetzel leads the Mids pass rush with six sacks and 11 ½ tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Special Teams
Edge: Texas State
Will Johnson handles both the kicking and punting duties for Texas State. Johnson has a strong leg and has hit 9-of-13 field goal attempts. Johnson has averaged 41.0 yards per punt. Speedy kick returner Jafus Gaines is a kick return threat averaging an impressive 30.9 yards on 23 kick returns. Punt returner Andy Erickson is equally as dangerous averaging 18.7 yards on 15 punt returns. Texas State does a good job covering punts and kickoffs.

After missing two field goals against Florida Atlantic it was good to see Navy freshman kicker Nick Sloan get back on track last week. Sloan is a bit of a perfectionist and last year at NAPS could occasionally be his own worst enemy when he missed a kick. On the season Sloan has hit 9-of-11 on field goals and all 32 extra points. Sophomore punter Pablo Beltran is averaging 45.2 yards per punt on 30 punts. Marcus Thomas has averaged 23.0 yards on kickoff returns. On punt returns Shawn Lynch has averaged 9.6 yards per return. Navy's coverage teams have been steady.

Coaching
Edge: Even
This is controversial head coach Dennis Franchione second time coaching Texas State. He coached here in 1990-1991 when the school was known then as Southwest Texas State. He followed with head coaching stops at New Mexico, TCU and Alabama where he improved each team but at times had controversial exits. After Alabama was placed under NCAA sanctions he left for Texas A&M. His team struggled and he had to resign after a newsletter scandal. Franchione is a good coach who knows how to run the ball. He has a 196-113-2 career record.

Last week aside, this season has probably been head football coach Ken Niumatalolo's best coaching job during his tenure at Navy. This season Navy has played 12 true freshmen which is tied as the ninth most in the country. Navy has had 17 players make their first career starts this fall, which is the fourth most in the country. Despite their youth the Mids reeled off five straight wins with a true plebe at quarterback before losing to Troy last week.

Intangibles
Edge: Navy
This will be Senior Day for a number of talented players like Gee Gee Greene, Josh Cabral , Tra' ves Bush among other will be motivated playing there last game at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. Texas State who recently started playing FCS football will be pumped up playing on a national stage. Marcus Curry will be pumped up playing his former teammates.

PREDICTION: Navy, 38-24. Until last week's offensive explosion, Texas State had struggled scoring points. The Mids should be primed and ready to play the season home finale.

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