Sept. 13, noon.
Tickets: Prices TBD Aug. 4.
Data: Defensively, Duke is the opposite of Ball State. Its defensive line is huge--the starting tackles are both likely to weigh more than 300 pounds. Again, if whoever is Navy's center has struggled to clear running room in the first two games, it won't happen here. If Lark or Moore has established himself, that gives Navy a chance.
The good news for Navy is that Duke's preseason roster lists only three defensive tackles.
If it runs a 4-3 defense, that means there is only one natural sub. And thus it would seem a noon start in warm weather will be good for Navy. Duke might add depth to the DTs by moving a defensive end inside, but none weighs more than 250 pounds, so that's not a big deal, no pun intended.
Bottom Line: The potential exists for this game to look a lot like last year's Navy-Duke game. Duke's defense got tired; remember, the offense had made several big plays to score points, but it left the D on the field for much of the game.
Trailing in the fourth quarter, Paul Johnson inserted a fresh QB (Jarod Bryant) and fresh slot backs (Shinego and Doyle rotated) and went to a tight formation. That forced Duke to go tight as well, and it opened up the outside big-time. Duke's tired defense had no way to stop Navy's speed to the outside.
Why I'm Worried: There are several "flip" games on Navy's roster this year. By flip I mean the result may get flipped from last year to this--a loss in 07 may be a win this year, and vice versa. I very much think this is a flip game, especially if Navy isn't careful.
A very good Navy team went down to Duke in '97, faced a bunch of true freshmen and got whacked (26-14).
Moreover, I believe Duke will be 2-0 entering the game. So there will be momentum and a much more boisterous crowd than greeted Navy in '06. Then, Duke's season was done and basketball literally was starting that night with an exhibition against NC Central (the game was played in early November for some reason).