Head to head: Navy vs. Western Kentucky

Next up for Navy is Western Kentucky. GoMids.com compares different critical team areas of Navy and Western Kentucky and indicates which team has the edge.

NAVY
EDGE
AREA
Western Kentucky
EDGE
COMMENTS
 
Navy rushing offense
vs.
Western Kentucky rushing defense
 
The Hilltoppers' have struggled this season to stop the run. Opponents are averaging 275.3 yards per game. The Midshipmen are not at their usual prolific level, averaging "only" 201.7 yards per game. But that can probably be attributed to the new focus on the pass as well as the level of the competition faced thus far.  
 
Navy passing offense
vs.
Western Kentucky passing defense
 
Ricky Dobbs had his worst passing game of the season verses Pitt. He finished 6 of 21 for 89 yards. The Hilltoppers' defense is giving up an average of 233 yards per game, but they have 4 interceptions through the first 3 games. The pass rush has been limited, accounting for only one sack thus far.  
 
Western Kentucky rushing offense
vs.
Navy rushing defense
 
The Hilltoppers' are 83rd in the country in rushing, averaging 126.7 yards per game. The Midshipmen are giving up less then 100 yards per game on the ground and held Pittsburgh's star freshman Dion Lewis to 79 yards on 23 carries.  
 
Western Kentucky passing offense
vs.
Navy passing defense
 
Quarterback Brandon Smith (6-0, 200, Sr.) has attempted 61 passes, but completed only 29 for 194 yards. He was hurt late in the Central Arkansas game and was replaced by Kawaun Jakes (6-3, 190, R-Fr.). Jakes came in and promptly went 9 of 14 for 75 yards. Navy struggled against Pitt, but is still ranked a respectable 57th out of 120 FBS teams in pass defense. The Midshipmen sacked Pitt quarterback Ben Stull for the first time this season. The Hilltoppers' offensive line is giving up an average of 4.33 sacks per game.  
Special Teams
 
Special Teams was a disaster at the confluence of the three rivers. Missed field goal, consistently average returns and what ever happened on that punt, the Navy special teams need improvement. Jeremy Moore (6-1, 190, Sr.) is averaging 44.3 yards per punt and the Hilltoppers' are averaging 38.9 yards net punting ranking 14th and 25th in the nation respectively. Wide receiver Jake Gaebler's (5-10, 185, Sr.) loan punt return this season was for 23 yards. His career average is 11 yards per return. Kicker Casey Tinius (6-0, 171, So.) is 2 for 2 on field goals this season.  
EVEN  
Coaching
EVEN  
David Elson enters his seventh season in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He is 39-35 after spending 7 seasons on Jack Harbaugh's staff, the final two as defensive coordinator. Ken Niumatalolo is 9-8 in his second full season at the helm in Annapolis.  
 
Intangibles
 
WKU is looking for its first win as a full member of the FBS. The Hilltoppers' spent the last two seasons in transition from FCS. The Hilltoppers' are an extremely young team. 57 of their 85 scholarship players being either true freshman, redshirt freshman or sophomores. The Midshipmen will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium fifty years to the day of the first game, a 29-2 win over William & Mary.  


PREDICTION: Navy 34 Western Kentucky 17

GoMids.com Top Stories