The Mountain Hawks of Lehigh had a tough outing last weekend. Not only did they fall to FCS ranked number 10 Villanova at home by a score of 31-9, they also lost their star senior running back Dom Bragalone for at least this week’s matchup against Navy. Lehigh could not get anything going on offense, and were held to just three points until the fourth quarter. The Lehigh defense did not fair much better as they allowed more than 400 yards of total offense and were able to force just one turnover.
Navy, on the other hand, bounced back quite well to defeat AAC West foe Memphis 22-21 in Annapolis. The Mids’ defense, led by a fantastic effort from senior safety Sean Williams, was the story in this one as they were able to hold the Tigers high-powered air attack to just 145 yards passing, while holding Memphis scoreless in the fourth quarter, allowing the Malcolm Perry led triple option to mount a comeback in dramatic fashion.
Just in case you live under a rock and somehow missed it:
Malcolm Perry just WILLED that TD for @NavyFB.— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 8, 2018
He pulled out every trick in the book to get into the end zone. pic.twitter.com/gIVJbJaC3q
Bennett Moehring also set the all time Navy extra point record in the victory.
How To Watch:
Time: 3:30 p.m. (EDT) on Saturday, Sep. 15.
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Location: Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD.
Rankings: Navy enters week three of the S&P+ rankings at 100; Lehigh is not ranked in the FCS poll.
Betting Lines: Navy is favored by 30 points at home on some betting sites, though the FBS vs FCS matchup means there is no official line in this one.
Navy vs FCS Opponents
Navy is 13-2 against FCS opponents since the Paul Johnson Era. Both losses came while PJ was the headman, and both came at the hands of the then FCS powerhouse Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens in 2003 and 2007. The 2007 matchup was a barnburner and the Blue Hens were led by future Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco.
This will be the 22nd match up between the Midshipmen and Mountain Hawks, but just the fifth time they have met in the last 105 years. The last time they met was during the Reagan administration in 1987, and saw Lehigh defeat Navy 24-9. Navy and Lehigh were regularly matched up in the 19th century, when helmets were optional and concussions were something you would walk-off. Navy leads the overall series 14-6-1.
Keys to Success
Saying last week’s victory was huge, with serious conference championship implications, is no exaggeration. The victor of the Navy-Memphis matchup has owned at least a share of the division title since Navy’s arrival to the AAC in 2015. With that said, the Mids cannot rest on their laurels and will have to take the Mountain Hawks seriously. I have no doubt that Coach Niumatalolo and his staff have been working hard to keep the team humble and focused on going 1-0 in week three.
Lehigh is no slouch. A program coming off back-to-back Patriot League championship seasons, the Mountain Hawks are looking to come into Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and steal a win against an FBS opponent. Head Coach Andy Coen no doubt saw the Mids can be exposed through the air in the Hawaii matchup, and with their star running back out of the action this weekend, Lehigh will look to their air attack for success. The Navy defense is going to have to show last week’s performance was for real.
On the other side of the ball, the offense stalled for most of last week’s game, after putting up 41 Points against Hawaii in week 1. The triple option has always been something that improves over the course of the season, so there’s no reason to be freaking out after two weeks. The offensive shift of Zach “Slash” Abey to primary duties at wide receiver, with part time appearances at QB as a short yardage specialist, is no doubt a big adjustment for a team used to running one point man all game. Look for the Mids to finally hit their stride on the ground this week, opening up opportunities to get Perry’s arm going.
The Brotherhood videos are always a crowd pleaser and here’s this week’s look back at the Memphis win!
Go check out this weeks edition of - “Navy Football: The Brotherhood 2018 - Episode 1” ⚓️ https://t.co/5QWz6rjuf7— Navy Football (@NavyFB) September 13, 2018
If that’s not good enough, how about a former member of The Brotherhood suiting up on Sunday?
Offensive Coordinator Ivin Jasper eyes a free safety cheating the run early, and calls a play action pass for new wide receiver Zach Abey’s first reception of the season. Malcolm rushes for another 100 yards, and Abey continues to get enough looks at the goal line to hold onto the FBS lead for rushing touchdowns this season.
The Defense is still pissed about the Hawaii game, and is intent on showing last week’s performance against Memphis had nothing to do with the weather.
The Mountain Hawks will put up a fight early and make the game interesting, but the Mids come out on top in this one and cover the spread en route to a 2-1 start.
Navy 49- Lehigh 17
Here’s my note completely unrelated to football: Contributor Austin Lanteigne had some great things to say about The Iron Rooster last week, which is an awesome spot to be sure.
But as the elder statesmen here at Against All Enemies, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t give a shout out to my favorite spot back in the day: Chick and Ruth’s! They don’t have check-in bacon, but they DO have six-pound milk shakes and have been on Man vs Food. Be sure to check them out if you are in town for the game this weekend!