It’s not exactly been the season that Ken Niumatalolo and his staff wanted, but the Midshipmen have a great chance to end it strong, and it begins this weekend in Philly.
The Temple Owls have lost five straight, scoring more than 10 points only once in that span, and ranking 123rd nationally in total offense. Their defense hasn’t exactly been there either as they rank 84th in the country in total defense. To add to all of this, the Midshipmen won the last matchup between the two, 31-29.
Navy is coming off a tough result as they gave up 10 unanswered points to ECU, losing on a walk-off 54-yard field goal. The Navy secondary has played well of late, but last weekend was tough as they allowed Holton Ahlers to torch them for 405 yards.
With a win this weekend the Midshipmen could avoid its third three-win campaign in the past four seasons. It could also give them a ton of momentum heading into the Army game on Dec. 11.
Navy Offense vs. Temple Defense
As we all know, Navy is known for its triple-option attack. Temple on the other hand is not all that great with its rushing defense, ranking 124th in that stat. The Owls have given up an average of 220.5 rushing yards per game, and the third most rushing touchdowns in the country at 30.
With fewer passing attempts for Tai Lavatai every game, the Midshipmen’s rushing offense keeps getting better. Last weekend against East Carolina, the Midshipmen ran for 345 yards, averaging 9.3 yards per carry. Carlinos Acie led the way with 6 rushes for 25.8 yards and a 90-yard touchdown. James Harris II followed with 14 rushes for 57 yards.
Heading into this week, the Mids are 10th in the country in rushing offense, only 15 yards behind the highest non-Academy in Kent State.
The Owls' two leading tacklers are in the secondary, showing that opponents have been able to pick up large gains on the ground, as Temple’s passing yards per game allowed is only 187.5, good for 16th in the country.
Navy Defense vs. Temple Offense
Temple’s offense isn’t exactly all that amazing either. The Owls rank 108th in passing offense, 114th in rushing offense, and 123rd in total offense, averaging 297 yards per game.
Behind center, the quarterback center has been a committee of freshmen. D’Wan Mathis has completed 59.5% of his passes this season, but that’s resulted in only six touchdowns, four interceptions, and 1223 yards on 195 attempts.
The other Freshman Justin Lynch has only completed 793 passing yards on 144 attempts for four touchdowns and interceptions.
Now if you take out last week's performance against the ECU passing offense, the Midshipmen have not been all that bad this season. They currently rank 86th in the country in passing defense, but before last week's game, they hadn’t given up 300+ passing yards in seven on its last eight.
Temple’s rushing offense is almost nonexistent, as they only have one player over 300 yards rushing this season. That should be no problem for the 43rd ranked rushing defense in the country.
How To Watch:
- When: Saturday, Nov 27 – NOON P.M. EST
- Where: Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, PA
- Watch: The great Kevin Brown and Hutson Mason will have the call on ESPNU.
- Spread: Most books have Navy as a 12.5 point favorite with the over under set at 42.5