As I type, Navy is a two point road dog traveling to Connecticut this weekend. This is a tough game to get a read on since Navy has yet to put together a complete game. Could this be the week that the offense and defense combine for a dominant performance? Probably not. Connecticut appears to be a good team although it is difficult to determine that with any certainty based on their performance to date. They lost to Wake Forest at home and convincingly defeated 1AA URI at home. They won at a Big Ten opponent on the road, but didn't look particularly impressive in doing it. On top of their past performance, they will be starting a new quarterback this weekend.
Both teams need this win to show them that they are for real. Call it a hunch, but I like UConn in this one. We already know that UConn is competent and capable in the running game. It's their passing game that has been bad and led to the quarterback change. I am guessing that the new quarterback will be energized in his opportunity to recapture the starting job. He doesn't have to be Dan Marino to complete short yardage plays against Navy. Navy will give up the underneath route. But executing those short yardage pass plays will make their running game that much more effective.
The one thing that seems certain is this: UConn's defense will provide a stiff test for the Navy offense. Despite gaudy rushing totals for Navy, faithful observers of the team can't help but notice that this team isn't running its offense at peak efficiency. Navy's complete inability to threaten the opposing DB's with a long strike is allowing the opposition to take away the perimeter threat on the triple option. That forces Navy's quarterback to stay inside or hand off to the fullback. The size disparity between Navy's OL and the opposition DL then comes into play as the game goes on. Tulsa conveniently provided a blueprint of that scheme. Until Navy threatens on some long pass plays, this is what they will face.
UConn 27 – Navy 24
Predictions for Navy's past and future opponents:
East Carolina and UMass have byes this week.
Tulsa hosts Southern Miss in a key Conference USA match up on Tuesday night. Tulsa was impressive in going on the road and winning at Navy. They are solid at the skill positions and have good size. Their loss in Provo suddenly doesn't look as bad now that BYU dominated TCU. I like Tulsa to win it.
Air Force seems to be rolling and they host a New Mexico team that lost to top-ten 1AA Portland St, hung with #25 Missouri and beat a decent UTEP team. With UNM's starting quarterback out, I predict a close win for AF.
Rutgers will be upset by USF. USF is at home and Rutgers is playing its first game as a ranked team in 30 years.
Eastern Michigan loses at Louisianan-Lafayette.