Head to head: Navy vs. Rice

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

NAVY
EDGE
AREA
Rice
EDGE
COMMENTS
 
Navy rushing offense
vs.
Rice rushing defense
 
The rushing attack continues to be a disappointment by Midshipmen standards. Navy is averaging 230.2 yards per game on the ground. Air Force held the Mids to 173 yards and 1 touchdown last week. The Owls rank toward the bottom quarter of rushing defenses giving up an average of 164.2 yards per game. Rice allowed UAB to run for 295 yards in week one, but have held their next 4 opponents to an average of 131.5 yards per game.  
 
Navy passing offense
vs.
Rice passing defense
 
The "pick six" thrown by Ricky Dobbs gave Air Force their only touchdown of the game, but even with that the Midshipmen still rank a respectable 40th in Passing Efficiency. Ricky came up with several big third down completions. The Rice pass defense was shredded by Texas Tech for 508 yards in Lubbock. The have allowed at least 221 yards passing in every game this season.  
 
Rice rushing offense
vs.
Navy rushing defense
 
True freshman Charles Ross (6-1, 205, Fr.) leads an anemic Owl's rushing attack with 146 yards on 32 carries and 4 touchdowns. Senior Jeramy Goodson (5-9, 195, Sr.) is second on the team with 120 yards on 32 attempts. The Owls average less then 100 yards per game on the ground. The Midshipmen held the then number 1 rushing team in the country to 136 yards below their season average.  
EVEN  
Rice passing offense
vs.
Navy passing defense
EVEN  
The Owls have used three quarterbacks this season and at least two in every game. Ryan Lewis (6-3, 200, Fr.) started against Tulsa and is currently listed atop the depth chart. John Thomas Shepherd (6-1, 195, Sr.) has the most experience and leads the team with 412 passing yards. Alabama transfer Nick Fanuzzi (6-3, 220, So.) has seen action in 3 games this season, starting against Texas Tech. The three headed monster have Rice 73rd in the country averaging 199.8 yards passing per game. The Midshipmen defense has been up and down this season verses the pass. Navy held Louisiana Tech to 156 yards, but allowed 276 to Western Kentucky.  
Special Teams
 
Navy's Special Teams came up huge in the win over Air Force. Joe Buckley's three field goals, especially the 38 yarder in overtime, were the difference in the game. But statistically the Midshipmen still lag behind their competition across the board. Navy ranks 44th, 84th and 116th in Net Punting, Punt Returns and Kickoff Returns respectively. While Rice ranks 14th, 18th and 46th respectively in the same categories. Free Safety Andrew Sendejo (6-1, 225, Sr.) ranks 6th in the country in punt returns with an 18.2 yard average.  
 
Coaching
 
Coming off a 10 win season and Conference USA Coach of the Year honors, coach David Bailiff's team is 0-5 with 17 points the closest margin of defeat. Bailiff is 13-17 in his three seasons at Rice. Last week Coach Niumatalolo improved his record to 11-8 and extended his winning streak over service academy rivals Air Force.  
 
Intangibles
 
The Midshipmen have to be careful this week. Coming off an emotional victory over a bitter rival, Navy could be set for a let down. It may be easy to overlook a 0-5 team, but the Mids better not. Rice has played a difficult schedule that has included Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt. This game is on the road and Navy has yet to win away from Annapolis.  


PREDICTION: Navy 28, Rice 17

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