Navy schedule gets grueling

Matt Harmon's extra point is up and it's..................blocked by Nick Graham. Tulsa defeats Navy 24-23 in overtime. Ouch! Navy fans are still reeling from last Saturday's loss to Tulsa in Annapolis. But get your heads together Midshipmen fans. It's time to concentrate on the most grueling part of the schedule. Navy (3-1) faces four consecutive difficult opponents in . . .

. . . Connecticut, Air Force, Rutgers and Notre Dame, before the schedule softens with Duke, Eastern Michigan and Temple.

Here is a closer look at the games and analysis on each:
 
Opponent: at Connecticut
Date: Sept. 30
UConn record: 2-1
The skinny: This UConn team is not as strong as previous teams, but it's still good. Running back Terry Caulley leads the way. He rushed for 152 yards on 31 carries in a 14-7 win over Indiana last week. The 152 rushing yards is the best for Caulley since he ran for 234 at Buffalo on Sept. 20, 2003, the final game before suffering a severe knee injury seven days later at Virginia Tech. That injury forced him to miss 23 months. He and UConn linebacker Danny Lansanah were named Big East players of the week this week.
Speaking of defense, this game will cone down to the Huskies' ability to slow down Navy's option. UConn will do a good job, however, not good enough.
The score: Navy 28, UConn 23
 
Opponent: at Air Force
Date: 10-7
Air Force record: 1-1
The skinny: Air Force opened the season by nearly beating No. 15 Tennessee, falling 31-30. Air Force quarterback Shaun Carney led the Falcons to a 31-24 win at Wyoming. Carney seems to have found himself and the offense has looked good. Navy beat Air Force 24-21 in Colorado Springs two years ago on a 30-yard field goal by Geoff Blumenfeld in the closing seconds.
Not this time.
The score: Air Force 23, Navy 21
 
Opponent: Rutgers
Date: 10-14
Rutgers record: 4-0
The skinny: Let's get one thing straight: Navy should have beaten Rutgers last season. Now that we have that out of the way, let's give Rutgers its props. The Scarlet Knights are ranked 23rd in the nation. It marks the first time Rutgers has cracked the top 25 since 1976. The Scarlet Knights could enter Annapolis 5-0. They leave 5-1. Expect Navy to execute better than it did against Rutgers last season.
The score: Navy 27, Rutgers 19
 
Opponent: Notre Dame (in Baltimore)
Date: 10-28
Notre Dame record: 3-1
The skinny: Well, actually, Notre Dame should be 2-2. The Fighting Irish pulled one out of their backside, coming back to win at Michigan State 40-37 last week. Don't expect Notre Dame to falter again. That was quarterback Brady Quinn and the rest of the teams' wake-up call. Notre Dame runs the table until it loses at No. 3 USC on November 25.  The Fighting Irish have won an NCAA-record 42 straight against Navy.
The score: Notre Dame 35, Navy 23
 
The analysis: Don't get us wrong 2-2 during this stretch could turn into 3-1, with a that win coming at Air Force. Either way, it's not a bad proposition. Expect Navy to smoke Duke, Eastern Michigan and Temple.
Then comes Army. More on that later in the season.
Go Midshipmen!

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