• Paul Compton

Army vs. Navy -- Familiarity Breeds Defense

When it comes to Army vs Navy, familiarity breeds defense. They both run the triple option and can obviously prepare to defend it better than a team whose offense doesn't normally run it. Army held Air Force (the other triple option academy team) to 0.5 yards less per carry than Army usually allows, which is better differential than any team has done against Air Force all year. On pure yards per carry, though, nobody defended Air Force better than Navy did this year. Navy surrendered just 3.6 ypc to Air Force, 1.8 less ypc than Air Force usually averages. That's bad news for the Army offense that only throws the ball a few times a game. On the other hand, Navy was still able to run for a better than average ypc average than Air Force usually allows. That's also bad news for Army, with a weaker run defense than Air Force has. You have to go back to 2005 to find the last annual game between these two that scored 50+ points (60+ scored in that particular game). Navy may have their best offense ever which is why this game is lined above 20 points. Army will be wrapping up a disappointing 2 win campaign, but there will obviously be no quit for them in this service academy rivalry game. I expect Navy's offense to still do reasonably well, while Army struggles. The 4th quarter should be pretty boring with Navy potentially running a bunch of dive plays to protect QB Reynolds from injury. Even if Navy scores a fair amount in the first half it should tail off in the second half, keeping the final score just under the current total. More than three touchdowns is a lot to cover -- Navy is certainly capable in this match up but my numbers suggest an Army cover, and that's not even taking into account the fact that if anything, Army will do a better job defensively against Navy's run than they do against an opponent who doesn't run a similar offense.