The Navy Midshipmen (3-0) will be rested and refreshed as they are coming off of a bye week less than a month into the season. The Mids opponents this Saturday will be an Air Force team as the Mids travel to Colorado Springs for the first match of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy. These are to two remaining undefeated service academies in the FBS, so something will be changing this weekend.
Season so far
Air Force is 3-0 on the season, but the Falcons have not exactly faced a murder's row to get to that point. Like many schools the team opened up with a game against an FCS opponent as Abilene Christian traveled to Colorado Springs to take an expected beating. In many ways, the game was closer than expected with Air Force running out a 37-21 victory. It did, however, provide a platform for running back/receiver Ronald Cleveland to have a breakout game in the Air Force offense.
The Falcons second game of the year was a ho-hum 48-14 win over a bad Georgia State team before Air Force had their bye. Coming out of that last weekend the Flacons played their first Mountain West game of the year, picking up a fourth quarter touchdown with just over five minutes left in the contest to best Utah State 27-20 on the road in Logan, Utah.
Injuries and Suspensions
The problems for Air Force will all be on the defensive side of the ball against Navy. That is never a good thing when you are looking to face a triple-option attack, and the Falcons could be without four defenders, including three in the defensive backfield.
The one certainty to miss time on Saturday is senior safety Weston Steelhammer. Steelhammer is the leader of this Air Force defensive unit and his loss is a huge storyline heading into the game. Steelhammer is suspended for the first half of the clash against Navy after being disqualified for targeting in the third quarter of the Utah State game. At that point, Steelhammer had already racked up nine tackles and was well on his way to double-digit figures.
The other players vulnerable to missing the game are all injured. Defensive backs Roland Ladipo (knee), and Tyler Weaver (ankle, along with linebacker Ryan Watson (knee) are all expected to be on the sidelines at this point. This means that for the first half, in particular, the Falcons depth is going to be severely tested in their back seven.
This is the first time in history that both schools have entered this matchup undefeated, but it is fair to say that we don't know a whole lot about the talent level of each school given the opponents they have faced. One of the biggest challenges facing the team will be coping with playing another service academy in a true road game. For many of the players on this young team it will be the first time they have visited, let alone played, at Falcon Stadium. With the Army/Navy game being a neutral site contest this will be a new experience as the team has not faced this kind of atmosphere from a visiting perspective. Dealing with the noise and the pregame and settling
With the Army/Navy game being a neutral site contest this will be a new experience as the team has not faced this kind of atmosphere from a visiting perspective. Dealing with the noise and the pregame and settling into a rhythm on offense will be a huge challenge that the Mids have to pass to come out on top.null