Navy - Air Force Preview

The 1-3 Mids travel to Colorado Springs Saturday to face undefeated Air Force (4-0) in the first game of the 2002 Commander-in-Chief Trophy round-robin. The last time Navy beat Air Force was in 1996, at Colorado Springs, with current Navy head coach Paul Johnson serving as Navy's offensive coordinator. Can lightning strike twice?



Air Force

Go Navy Offense: Although Navy is #3 in the country in rushing, they really struggled against Duke.  Air Force, on the other hand, is #2 in the nation in rushing, averaging 305 yards per game (almost 20 yards per game more than the Mids). And, according to the Sagarin Ratings, they've done it against tougher competition.  Advantage, Falcons. Air Force Falcons
Go Navy Defense: Navy's defense is giving up over 460 yards per game and is an equal-opportunity "offender" - they rank #108 in rushing defense and #113 in pass efficiency defense.  Air Force, on the other hand, ranks #27 in the nation in total defense. 'Nuff said - edge, Falcons Air Force Falcons
Go Navy Special Teams: Air Force's special teams are a strength year in and year out.  I'll go out on a limb and predict that Air Force will block at least one kick on Saturday. Air Force is the easy pick. Air Force Falcons
Go Navy Coaching: While Paul Johnson is an excellent coach for Navy and will undoubtedly turn the program around, Air Force's Fisher DeBerry is arguably doing his best coaching job ever this season.  The Falcons were picked near the bottom of most Mountain West Conference pre-season polls, but "General DeBerry" has ESPN talking up the Falcons as this year's BCS-breaker.  As much as it pains me to pick against PJ, I gotta go with Air Force. Air Force Falcons
Go Navy Intangibles: The Falcons feel like the CIC Trophy is official Air Force property.  Weird things always seem to happen to the Mids when they travel out to the Springs.  Air Force. Air Force Falcons
Go Navy Prediction: Even though this is a service academy rivalry game, Navy simply isn't "there" yet.  It seems like the players don't quite believe they can win yet, despite the best efforts and hard work of the coaching staff.  Although the Falcons are coming off of an pair of emotional road games - a win at then-#25 Cal and a dramatic, last-minute comeback win at Utah, DeBerry will remind them all week about that trophy that has seemingly taken up permanent residence in Colorado.  I'll call it 45-21, Air Force. Air Force Falcons Top Stories