Over the last two games, Navy’s offense has been the best it has been all year.
Could they ask for anything more heading into America’s Game?
Coming into this weekend, the Midshipmen are ranked 7th in the country in rushing offense with 87.6% of its offensive snaps coming on the ground. Now, that is a step down from recent years, but as mentioned earlier, the offense has looked much better for Navy as of late compared to the opening weeks of the season.
After two weeks of football, Navy AD Chet Gladchuk fired offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper after the Midshipmen put up a combined 10 points in its first two games. Jasper was quickly brought back onto the staff though, just in a reduced role. From there, head coach Ken Niumatalolo has taken over the offensive play calling and the offense has looked better every week.
Against East Carolina on Nov. 20, the Midshipmen put up 35 points, rushing for 345 yards. In its win against Temple on Nov. 27, the Midshipmen rushed for 218 yards while scoring 38 points. Those two point totals were the highest of the season for Navy.
A lot of those yards on the ground came from either Isaac Ruoss or Carlinos Acie. Both are near locks for positive yardage and have taken advantage of every touch this season.
Ruoss leads the team in touches with 157, gaining 610 yards while only losing two yards this season. He is tied with quarterback Tai Lavatai with five rushing touchdowns.
Acie on the other hand is known for the big play. In that ECU game, he had a 90-yard rush. Due to that, it has elevated everything stats-wise as he is averaging 9.6 yards per game.
The man who spearheads it all, Lavatai, has had a solid first season under-center, although he has battled some injuries.
Lavatai has completed 54.5% of his passes this season, scoring five touchdowns both through the air and on the ground. He had only had two games this season with double-digit passing attempts.
But as usual for the Midshipmen, success is typically found via its rushing attack, as many different players will run the ball. Expect an end-around with Jayden Umbarger, a couple rushes with James Harris II, Chance Warren up the middle, and a few short rushes from Kai Puailoa-Rojas.
Now, in the only other game against an option opponent this season, Navy got smacked, losing to Air Force by a score of 23-3. The offense looked like it was in complete disarray, and it led to Gladchuk’s hasty decision to dismiss Jasper. Xavier Arline, who was the starting quarterback in those opening weeks, led the team in rushing, but behind him, only James Harris II had double-digit rushing yards.
Last season against Army, the Midshipmen were shut out 15-0. No one who currently picks up playing time for Navy had positive yardage, so it is expected to be a new opportunity for all who will play on Saturday.
The Midshipmen offense has shown signs of hope after scoring a combined 10 points in the first two weeks. They plan to turn that hope into a victory on Saturday.